Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes include L-carnitine as part of their supplement plan to help them improve performance and promote a healthy physique.L-carnitine is an important type of amino acid that supports energy by bringing fatty acids to the mitochondria — the powerhouse cells of the body — to be used for fuel.L-carnitine is one of two forms that carnitine comes in, the other being D-carnitine. L-carnitine is the active form of carnitine that is involved in the production and metabolism of energy. Though it's naturally-occurring in the body, it can also be found in certain foods or taken as a supplement.

The Traditional Benefits of L-Carnitine

Many people use L-carnitine to supplement their health and fitness routine as a means to maintain or lose weight, boost muscle building and even improve brain function.

What is L-Carnitine Used For?

L-Carnitine may have numerous benefits to the mind and body, including the following: Boosts Endurance, Helps Promote Weight Loss, Helps With Muscle Recovery, Improves Brain Function, And Regulates Blood Sugar.

Benefits of L-Carnitine

There are a number of a health and wellness benefits of taking L-carnitine, which is why many physically active individuals include it part of their regimen: Boosts Endurance Since L-carnitine is instrumental in the production of energy, many active individuals take it to increase endurance.One particular study(1) found that professional soccer players who took L-carnitine before training were able to exercise for longer time frames before reaching exhaustion. Another study(2) showed that rats who were fed L-carnitine showed improvement in exercise endurance. Helps With Weight Loss L-carnitine may have a role in the weight loss industry because of its possible ability to help shed excess body fat. In fact, one study(3) discovered that participants who took L-carnitine experienced a much greater amount of weight loss compared to a control group. Helps With Muscle Recovery Athletes may be able to recover from training faster by supplementing with L-carnitine. One study(4) found that athletes who took L-carnitine before undergoing an athletic test had lower levels of certain markers of muscle damage compared to the group who took a placebo. Improves Brain Function Many people take L-carnitine for its effect on the brain in addition to its impact on the body. More specifically, L-carnitine may be effective in boosting cognitive and brain function. Studies have found that L-carnitine(5) supplementation may improve cognitive function and memory in the elderly and even reverse cognitive decline. Normalizes Blood Sugar LevelsIt has been suggested that L-carnitine may be effective at regulating blood sugar levels and protecting against insulin resistance. Studies(6) have shown that diabetic patients who took L-carnitine showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity and regulation of blood sugar levels.

How to Use L-Carnitine

L-carnitine usually comes in capsule format, making it rather easy to take. Each capsule is dosed precisely, so the exact brand you take may come with different doses per capsule. The recommended daily dosage of L-carnitine is 500mg to 2,000mg. That said, the exact dosage will depend on the type of L-carnitine supplement being taken. For instance, doses as high as 2,500mg of acetyl-L-carnitine may be taken every day, while L-carnitine can be taken on doses as high as 4,000mg. As with any supplement, it's advised to start with the lower end of the recommended daily dosage and gradually work your way up to minimize side effects.

Foods that Contain L-Carnitine

As already mentioned, L-carnitine can be produced in the body, but it should also be obtained from outside sources to avoid deficiency and the side effects that come with inadequate levels in the body.When it comes to L-carnitine food sources, animal products tend to be the best(7). The following are food sources that have the highest level of L-carnitine: Beef, Chicken breast, Codfish, Whole milk, Cheddar cheese, Avocado, And Fish.

Is L-Carnitine Healthy?

L-carnitine is an important amino acid that's produced in the body but can also be obtained from foods and supplements in order to avoid deficiency. Many people take L-carnitine to boost their physical activity efforts, lose weight, and boost brain function.Like other supplements, L-carnitine works best when in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine, and should only be taken upon the advice and guidance of a physician.

Citations and Sources

1. Orer G, Guzel N. The effects of acute L-carnitine supplementation on endurance performance of athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(2):514-519. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24263659. 2. Panjwani U, Thakur L, Anand J, et al. Effect of L-carnitine supplementation on endurance exercise in normobaric/normoxic and hypobaric/hypoxic conditions. Wilderness Environ Med. 2007;18(3):169-176. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17914899. 3. Pooyandjoo M, Nouhi M, Shab-Bidar S, Djafarian K, Olyaeemanesh A. The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2016;17(10):970-976. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27335245. 4. Parandak K, Arazi H, Khoshkhahesh F, Nakhostin-Roohi B. The effect of two-week L-carnitine supplementation on exercise -induced oxidative stress and muscle damage. Asian J Sports Med. 2014;5(2):123-128. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25834706. 5. Malaguarnera M, Cammalleri L, Gargante M, Vacante M, Colonna V, Motta M. L-Carnitine treatment reduces severity of physical and mental fatigue and increases cognitive functions in centenarians: a randomized and controlled clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(6):1738-1744. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18065594. 6. Mingrone G, Greco A, Capristo E, et al. L-carnitine improves glucose disposal in type 2 diabetic patients. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999;18(1):77-82. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10067662. 7. Office of Dietary Supplements - Carnitine. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/#h3. Accessed May 2, 2019.

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