So…the other day I popped into my local supplement shop, to perve on the supplement shop guy … I mean stock up on supplies and when at the check out the guy working said to me “Have you tried L-Carnitine?”.
I’m still learning more about supplements every single day, and educating my self by researching everything I take, but L-Carnitine? What the heck is that? Feeling uneducated I swiftly replied “Uh No, I haven’t….”
And then boom! The dude chucks a bottle filled with 60 tablets in my shopping bag for free like it’s my pay day. $$
Every body loves a freebie of course, but when you are taking supplements with your health care regime you really should ALWAYS research what you’re taking, the dosage and make sure that none of your other products are overloading you. (I’ve made this mistake one too many times with caffeine *Shrieks*).
So, back to the L Carnitine, below I’ve taken out the hard work for you and done some research for you to familiarise you with this supplement and help you decide when/why/if you should be taking it.
Let’s start, what the heck is L-Carnitine?
What is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a substance found in almost every cell in the body, it is biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methione. The compound plays a crucial role in energy production and is responsible for transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria.
Making sense? Nope…probably not yet, but read on as I go more in depth…
What are some of the benefits of L Carnitine?
1. Fat loss
• May help to assist metabolising fat into energy (ideal for those doing ketogenics/high fat low carb, or any eating regime).
• Through this it has been shown to reduce fatigue, helping you sustain energy through workouts and all day.
• The reduction in fatigue means working out more and harder which in turn means more fat loss.
• It has been shown to help suppress appetite
• It is a major asset to have in your arsenal when not dieting also as it increases your aerobatic capacity, helping you burn more calories.
2. Muscle gain
• As L-carnitine helps to prevent fatigue, it is considered to help with the gaining of muscle mass as it is speculated to help increase your strength so you can lift heavier weights for ultimately more gains. (If you’re not looking to bulk up, it won’t increase your size if you’re not doing the lifting so there is no need to worry).
3. Bone mass
• It is speculated that by taking l-carnitine, you can slow down the bone loss process and improve bone micro structural properties by decreasing bone turnover.
4. Heart conditions
• Yep clinical trials have shown that L-Carnitine with conventional treatment can reduce the need for medicine and improve chest pain in patients suffering from angina! (Consult your doctor obviously before changing your treatment plan).
5. Kidney Treatment
• L-Carnitine is recommended as a supplement for people with kidney failure/damage as your kidneys can become deficient in this when not working properly.
6. Women & breastfeeding
• Some women who breast feed can become deficient in L-carnitine; this is due to the extra calories being burnt. Women can take this to help with deficiency or help prevent deficiency from happening.
7. Type II diabetes
• People that have Type II diabetes can also benefit from carnitine supplementation. Taking L-carnitine helps diabetics by increasing glucose oxidation, glucose storage, as well as glucose uptake. (Again obviously consult your doctor).
8. Immune System support
• L-carnitine serves as an antioxidant. This means it can help you out when you have a cold or are dealing with various seasonal allergies and training.
9. Brain function support
• L-carnitine helps protect the brain from both age related and stress related damage, which in turn helps it function longer and better. It is currently being trialled in seniors and Alzheimer’s patients.
10. Antidote to valporic acid poisoning
• Valproic acid (VPA) is a chemical compound that has found clinical use as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug, primarily in the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and, less commonly, major depression. It is also used to treat migraine headaches and schizophrenia. Although it may not be a bodybuilding issue, there are thousands of documented cases of valproic acid ingested every year. Despite not being able to serve as a total antidote on its own, taking l-carnitine is considered to help you if for some reason you do suffer from this dangerous poisoning.
Okay so now that we’ve explained its benefits (some of them useful, some of them maybe not so much), let’s get a little more insight into this supplement.
Can you stack it with other supplements?
YEP! If it’s pure L-carnitine (also known as levocarnitine tartrate), with no other chemicals or additives. Many people recommend to stack L-carnitine with your fat burners (especially the ones that are purely energy driven like Beast 2 Shredded) and also with your protein shakes, pre workouts, creatine and etc. Generally people taking this want to be taking it to help transport their fat to energy, so if you’re on a healthy eating plan, particularly Ketogenics it can be useful.
When and how do I take it?
People may have different ways of taking it, so ultimately it’s up to you. My current brand (Balance Lean Carnitine) recommends 3-6 500mg tablets per day at least an hour before exercise and evenly through the day.
It is best when taking supplements to always read the instructions to ensure you are not taking too much or too little.
Are there side effects?
There aren’t too many side effects with L-carnitine, and most of them are rare. I didn’t experience any at all,
But here are a few:
• High Blood pressure
• Fast heartbeat
What does it Taste like?
My L Carnitine was taken as capsules so there was no taste what so ever. See below picture.
Even though I got my L-Carnitine for free, the average prices is around $69.95 for 60 capsules. Most supplements can be any where from $1.00-$2.00 a serve, however Balance Lean Carnitine has 500mg of L-Carnitine Tartrate and required you to take 3-6 tablets per day. Depending on your goals that’s only going to last you 20-40 days. I’d say as a stacker that’s not really worth it when some fat burners can offer the same benefits.
My experience trialling it?
Personally I only had a 60 pack of L-carnitine, meaning it lasted me roughly 20 days when taken by instructions on the packaging. I already take a fat burner every morning (optiburn, amazing! I’ll review that soon) which has slow releasing energy throughout the day as well as creatine powder, protein powder and my amino acids intra workout.
So to sit here and say that L-carnitine gave me more energy that was unexplainable would be a lie because I honestly wouldn’t know.
BUT from what I have read in reviews and as a stacker to your other supplements, by all means I think you should take it. As long as you’re training hard and eating properly supplements are always able to give you that extra 5%.
There are scientific facts to back this up, so it’s not another gimmick.