L-carnitine supplements are one of the supplements gaining popularity in recent years as the fitness and sport industries conquer the new territory of more and more ‘civilians’. Since it’s become popular for everyone from physical workers to office rats to be fit and spend most of their time in the gym or fitness studio, supplements such as l-carnitine have been in their prime. But what is it, what are the uses and side effects and is it worth the money?
The science behind it
L-carnitine is an amino acid –like and vitamin-like substance related to the B vitamin group. It used to be referred to as vitamin BT. It is a compound which helps transport fatty acids from the blood into the mitochondria so that they can be used as energy. L- carnitine is important for energy and metabolism of fats. If you want to utilize fat effectively or take even more advantage of your fat ‘melting away’ during exercise – l-carnitine is your guy. It has also been found to reduce fatigue which will help you stay active and make your workouts more intense.
- Fat burning – of course the primary function is fat metabolism and turning fat cells into energy by oxidizing them. Supplementation with l-carnitine is very helpful during weight loss.
- Muscle Mass Increase- Since it increases endurance and strength- it promotes lean muscle mass growth
- Bone Mass Retention- Studies show that L-Carnitine decreases bone loss associated with old age.
- Heart Condition Prevention – is often used alongside heart medicine for heart conditions and in people who have suffer heart attacks.
- Kidney Treatment – your kidneys produce carnitine, so in kidney diseases it is also often used as treatment
- Infertility – according to research, l-carnitine can help improve both sperm count and quality of sperm
- Type II Diabetes Prevention – regulates metabolism increasing glucose oxidation, glucose storage, as well as glucose uptake
- Support of the Immune System – l- carnitine is an antioxidant, it protects us from free radicals doing damage to our cells. Will support your immune system and protect you from health issues starting with the common cold all the way to life-threatening diseases
- Improved Brain Function – as we age, cognitive function decreases. L-carnitine supports healthy brain function especially in seniors
Does it all sound too good to be true? L-carnitine supplements have been shown to cause a few side effects, a high dose can cause nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
A positive ‘side effect’ is an unexpected one and not related to fitness so much. One study from Italy has shown that l-carnitine was more effective than testosterone therapy for treating male erectile dysfunction and infertility. There are two reasons for this – firstly, it increases blood circulation and vascularity and secondly it improves the quality of the sperm.
Our Judgment: It’s worth a try
To conclude, l-carnitine has been tested enough to prove it does work and it’s safe. Therefore, it’s worth a try, especially if you are serious about your gym progress. Before you consume any supplement, research the proper dosage and possible interactions (with medicine you take and/or other supplements).
*It is recommended to take l-carnitine with carbs which spike insulin and enhance muscular uptake.