omega-3 fish oil is one of the simplest things you can do to lose weight
and raise your energy levels. The cool thing about carnitine is that by
elevating the amount of carnitine stored in your muscles, you will see
improvements in your quality of life. Fat loss and more energy are two
of these benefits, but taking carnitine is known to improve all of the
• High-intensity work capacity
• Increase athletic performance
• Speed your recovery from intense exercise
• Make your brain work better
• Prevent oxidative stress that leads to longer term health problems
such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic inflammation
groundbreaking evidence that carnitine supplementation can improve
athletic performance, something that researchers have had trouble
proving for years. Emerging research on the benefits of carnitine for
health in conjunction with evidence that clarifies the best ways to take
carnitine (insulin must be present in the body for carnitine to be
delivered into the muscle), make it time to revisit this amino acid.
Let’s look at the top ten health benefits of elevating your carnitine
levels with a focus on achieving optimal body composition.
methionine. There are a couple of different forms of carnitine, such as
acetyl-L-carnitine and L-carnitine tartrate, and we’ll look at which
forms you should be taking and when. In this article, unless otherwise
stated, “carnitine” will be used to refer to L-carnitine tartrate.Carnitine is a potent fat burner because it is responsible for the
transport of fats into the cells to be used for energy in the body. By
raising the level of muscle carnitine, you support the fat burning
process, and because your body becomes more efficient at processing
fuel, it will increase your energy levels. Elevating carnitine will also
improve physical performance by burning more fat, sparing glycogen,
clearing muscle lactate, and increasing anabolic hormone response.
levels of omega-3 fish oils in the body. In order for your body to
actually “load” carnitine that you take in supplement form into the
muscles where you want it, it has to be accompanied by insulin.
improve the health of every cell in your body if you get enough of them.
The cells are made up of two layers of lipids or fats, which will be
composed of good fats or bad fats depending on the type you eat. If the
cell lipid layers are made up of omega-3s, the cell will be generally
healthier, and it will also make them more sensitive to insulin. Having
your cells be more sensitive to insulin allows your body to get the most
energy production out of supplemental carnitine.
you won’t optimally benefit from taking carnitine unless you have
already attended to your omega-3s. In working with obese clients, I’ve
found that using high doses of fish oil with carnitine tartrate will
allow the fat to start to come off. ??Omega-3s increase metabolic rate
by increasing cell activity and fat burning. Carnitine is the delivery
system for long chain fatty acids such that the less carnitine you have
in the body, the fewer fatty acids that get into the cell, meaning you
don’t burn them for energy. Instead, the fatty acids go into a
depository and are stored as fat. By elevating carnitine, fat burning
increases and you give the cell the right genetic machinery to raise
metabolism. You’ll have more energy, feel more motivated, and any excess
fat begins to come off.
below starting with #5, showed that taking carnitine with carbs is
effective for elevating muscle carnitine levels and improving athletic
performance. But carbs aren’t necessary as long as you get adequate
omega-3s. A study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism showed that
combining carnitine, omega-3s, and polyphenols resulted in lower blood
lipid levels and better cellular energy production, which has the
implication of fat loss if the study had been of longer duration—it was
only 12 weeks.
free fatty acids decreased by 29 percent compared to a placebo group
that had no changes. These changes indicate healthier markers of
cholesterol, better energy use, and fat burning that will lead to fat
loss. Additionally, genes that increase fat burning in the body were
“activated” indicating a better metabolic profile. Take note that the
polyphenols were included to raise antioxidant levels and fight
oxidative stress that leads to chronic inflammation and poor
cardiovascular health, among other things. They are not necessary for
the carnitine to work its magic.
got it, and it causes numerous health problems. Once you begin to gain
visceral fat around the belly, it will lead to fat gain within the
organs such as the liver, the heart, or even in muscle. Fat gain in the
liver leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, while epicardial fat
is a type of visceral fat that is deposited around the heart and is
considered a metabolically active organ, altering heart
function.??Raising your carnitine levels will fight this visceral fat
gain because it increases fat burning, which has the effect of taking
triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins out of the system so that
they don’t build up causing high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. A new
research study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology illustrates
this. Researchers gave a carnitine supplement to mice who were fed a
high-fat diet in order to make them gain weight. In comparison to a
group of mice fed a placebo, the carnitine group gained substantially
less visceral and subcutaneous fat (fat that is right below the surface
of the skin that you can pinch with your fingers). The placebo group
exhibited the beginning stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and
atherosclerosis, neither of which were evident in the carnitine group.
muscle carnitine content can be increased in humans through diet . Once
carnitine is elevated, metabolism in the body is dependent on the
intensity of exercise, allowing for better energy use and performance.
and carbs (2 g carnitine with 80 g of carbs twice a day) to experienced
athletes who were training for a triathlon three to five times a week.
At various points throughout the study subjects performed the following
exercise tests: two thirty-minute repeated bouts of exercise (the first
at 50 percent of maximal oxygen uptake and the second at 80 percent),
followed by an all-out 30-minute performance trial.
performance from baseline by 11 percent in the exercise trials compared
to no improvement in the placebo group. Participants who took carnitine
also rated the trial and the exercise bout they performed at 80 percent
of max to be easier than at baseline, while the placebo had no
difference in rating of perceived exertion (RPE).
supplementation effective at elevating performance. First, it takes a
long supplementation period to raise muscle carnitine levels and reap
the benefits of improved energy production. In this study after three
months there were no changes in performance or RPE from baseline, but
after 6 months those improvements were pronounced and statistically
significant. Somewhere between 3 and 6 months is the magic number,
meaning taking carnitine is a lifestyle supplement just like omega-3s
accompanied by high insulin concentrations. This explains why many
previous studies have NOT shown increases in muscle carnitine after
taking it in multi-gram doses. In this study the carnitine was taken
with carbs because the carbs triggered insulin release, which allowed
the carnitine to load into the muscle. Take note that there is a big
focus in the health world on minimizing insulin secretion from carbs for
optimal body composition. This is critical, but be aware that insulin
is actually a potent anabolic hormone if the cells are sensitive to it
and if appropriate levels are present.
carnitine can also be paired with omega-3s, which may be more
appropriate for individuals whose primary goal is to lose fat. In my
experience, best fat loss results come from a 5 to 1 ratio of omega-3s
to carnitine. If you’re taking 20 grams of omega-3s, you’d pair it with 4
grams of carnitine. But, if you’re more conservative with your omega-3
supplementation (remember, I like a high dose and typically recommend 1
to 1.5 grams of omega-3s per percent of body fat) you can start with 1
to 2 grams of carnitine and work up to 4 grams, which was the dose used
in this study.
greater work capacity, but it will not feel as physically difficult.
You’ll be able to lift more weight, complete more reps, or run faster
and longer, but with more ease. This is because higher muscle carnitine
levels help decreases pain, muscle damage, and markers of metabolic
stress from high-intensity exercise by decreasing lactic acid
also has the effect of accelerating muscle buffering by maintaining the
pH of the muscle and minimizing the accumulation of hydrogen ions.
Basically, carnitine helps eliminate the byproducts of intense exercise
that cause pain and muscle damage (the burning you may feel when
training hard), allowing you to work harder.
higher muscle carnitine levels increase work capacity by reducing
lactate accumulation in the muscles. Following the exercise bout at 80
percent of maximal, muscle lactate buildup was 44 percent lower in
participants that supplemented with carnitine compared to the control
group. Following the exercise bout at 50 percent of maximal, the
carnitine group used 55 percent less muscle glycogen than the control
group indicating that they burned more fat for fuel and had improved
energy production. ??
the two exercise bouts allowed the carnitine group to increase work
output by 35 percent, while having a lower RPE. In simple terms, taking
carnitine is a no-brainer if you want to improve body composition by
burning more fat and be able to train at a higher level!
intense training and you’ll have less pain, soreness, and feel more
energized. Muscle lactate buildup is a limiting factor that inhibits
performance and causes muscle pain, meaning that if you produce less of
it and are able to clear it faster, you will have a faster recovery.
by up-regulating the androgen receptors, which will “help to mediate
quicker recovery,” according to one research group. Two studies led by
William J. Kraemer tested the hormonal response to taking carnitine
tartrate. In one of these studies, supplementing with carnitine for 21
days produced an increase in the resting content of the androgen
receptors that bind with testosterone, indicating a better anabolic
environment. Following resistance exercise, participants also had
increased androgen receptor content that indicated greater cellular
uptake of testosterone and increased protein synthesis. Enhanced protein
synthesis allows tissue that was damaged during training to regenerate
faster and speed recovery.
for 21 days and found that after intense resistance training, the
carnitine group had reduced muscle tissue damage (assessed by MRI) and
increased IGFBP-3 levels (a binding protein that promotes tissue
synthesis). Researchers suggest carnitine supplementation helps promote
recovery by producing “more undamaged tissue, (and a) greater number of
intact receptors that would be available for hormonal interactions.”
superior brain function and increase motivation, meaning it’s a great
supplement for people who want to lose weight but feel unmotivated to
exercise. Acetyl-l-carnitine helps DHA omega-3 fish oils work their
magic on the brain—just like carnitine tartrate, this form needs to be
taken with omega-3s in order to facilitate fat burning for energy in the
of heavy metals. I suggest pairing it with Alpha Lipoic Acid along with
DHA because all together they support dopamine levels, while increasing
attention span and motivation. For depressed people or those who need to
lose weight, it works wonders on motivation and self-initiative, both
with training and work-related tasks. And by taking acetyl-l-carnitine,
you’ll still benefit from improved energy, physical performance, work
capacity, and a speedy recovery, all benefits to help you achieve a lean
for a better brain. For example, a new study in the Scandinavian Journal
of Gastroenterology found that giving patients with liver dysfunction
acetyl-l-carnitine significantly improved their physical function,
general health, overall mood, and well-being. They also reported less
depression and anxiety.
because of how it improves fat metabolism. It can counter the diseases
of metabolic syndrome by preventing atherosclerosis, and supporting
cardiovascular health, while inducing fat loss.
because it has antioxidant properties, meaning it abolishes free
radicals and reduces oxidative stress. The key to improving your
insulin health and losing fat with carnitine is to understand that the
following interrelated factors must be present for this method to be
A) Take carnitine with omega-3 fish oils. Remember, a 1 to 5 ratio is suggested.
B) Adopt this supplementation protocol as a lifestyle habit,
not a one time thing. Research shows androgen receptors are
up-regulated after three weeks, triglycerides are improved after three
months, but muscle carnitine level isn’t elevated for close to six
C) A high-protein diet and exercise will make it much more effective
that is associated with diseases including cancer, AIDS, heart disease,
and lung disease. Although this is not a common problem among the
Poliquin readership, it should be mentioned here because carnitine
supplementation is able to restore metabolic parameters in individuals
with cachexia and thereby help fight the progression of life-threatening
cognitive decline, poor insulin health, inflammation, and poor organ
function, among other things. Emerging evidence shows that in patients
with cancer cachexia, carnitine is depleted and metabolism is impaired. A
new study in Nutrition Journal found that giving carnitine to men with
pancreatic cancer who were suffering from cachexia improved their lean
mass, increased energy metabolism, and improved their quality of life.
Using carnitine produced a trend to increased survival over the course
of the study and towards reduced hospital stays.11) Take Carnitine to Improve Male Fertility
Having adequate carnitine levels has been shown to be necessary for male
fertility. One study found that fertile males had higher levels of
carnitine and this was associated with healthier sperm. The men who were
classified as infertile had lower carnitine and compromised sperm
health. This study suggests that ensuring you have get adequate
carnitine in conjunction with healthy lifestyle practices can support
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12) Use Carnitine for Better Skin
A topical carnitine cream can improve the health of your skin by
decreasing the amount of oil released by the pores. A new study in the
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that a carnitine cream increased
the amount of fat that entered the cell, which decreased the oil
secreted by the skin. This led to less oily skin and a smoother overall
appearance. It also indicates the value of using carnitine to improve
the transport of carnitine across the cellular wall to be burned for fat
because Beta fat oxidation, or burning, was enhanced.
What Brand of L-Carnitine Do You Use?
I currently take Fatrol. Since compared to other brands which only has 100mg of L-Carnitine, theirs have 500mg
When do you take it?
I take it every morning
Though people say we should take it daily, I just take it before I go to the gym for maximum efficiency because it will make me burn 2x the calories.
Does it work?
Yes. Yes. Yes. I think it doesnt matter what brand you buy, but with the amount of L-Carnitine mg you get. I havent tried combining it with Fish oil so I can’t give feedback on that part yet.