Carnitine

(Known as L-Carnitine, L-Carnitine-Tartrate, Carnitine)

tickAids definition & fat loss
tickBoosts energy
tickPart of the Amino Acid group
How does it work?
A naturally active nutrient found in small quantities in milk, L-Carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids, lysine and methionine. It is mainly stored in skeletal muscle and the heart and can be synthesised naturally in the body. However, during times of high energy needs, such as periods of intense exercise, the need for L-Carnitine can exceed production by the body. Because of this, some experts think that L-Carnitine should be classed as a “conditionally essential” nutrient.
Who is it used for?
To make L-Carnitine, your body needs two essential amino acids (lysine and methionine) together with vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, and niacin. As such, anyone following a low-calorie diet, especially one that's low in red meat, dairy produce, poultry or seafood, will benefit from L-Carnitine supplementation. Endurance athletes, such as runners, rugby players and footballers, will find that L-Carnitine aids in muscle repair and recovery.
How does it work?
L-Carnitine's main function inside the body is to transport long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria (furnace of the cell), where fats can be broken down and converted to energy. As a result, L-Carnitine is necessary for the production of energy from fat. Past studies have revealed the effectiveness of L-Carnitine in relevance to exercise performance, cardiovascular health, and weight management.

Carefully controlled studies show that L-Carnitine increases the use of fat for energy. It appears to work in part by protecting against a carnitine deficiency in the cells that make up the inside of your blood vessels. Supplementation with L-Carnitine appears to protect against carnitine depletion and improve the delivery of oxygen to the working muscle during and after exercise [7].

Carnitine may also prevent the drop in testosterone caused by physical and mental stress (such as exercise and a low-calorie diet) [1], and some animal studies show that Carnitine promotes the growth and activity of cells in the brain responsible for producing hormones that activate testosterone production [2].

L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate (LCLT), a new Carnitine compound, has demonstrated some fascinating recuperation properties. More specifically, research on LCLT at a dose of 2 grams a day was shown to reduce the amount of muscle disruption after weight training [6]. Circulating markers of muscle damage after exercise were reduced, energy substrate breakdown during and after exercise lowered, and muscle soreness after exercise was reduced in subjects who supplemented with LCLT.

Since exercise depletes Carnitine concentrations in the blood cells, the result is less than optimal blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles. The positive results from LCLT administration are believed to be a result of enhanced oxygen supply to the muscle by means of increased blood flow. In addition to that, it appears that LCLT may support protein synthesis and anabolic response to exercise by protecting anabolic receptors from excessive damage resulting from resistance exercise. In simple terms, the use of LCLT may not only enhance performance and prevent fatigue, but could also promote recovery.
How do I use it?
Unlike vitamins and minerals, there is no recognised Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for L-Carnitine. Most of the benefits are seen with a daily intake of 500-2,500 milligrams.
What results can I expect?
Most people using L-Carnitine experience an increase in energy levels after 7-10 days of use. The muscle soreness caused by intense resistance exercise is generally reduced after a few days of continuous use.
What can it be combined with?
L-Carnitine works well on its own, in doses of 500-2500 milligrams daily. Several top middle-distance runners are also reported to use higher doses of L-Carnitine with Phosphates in the week before a competition, or during periods of heavy training.

1. Bidzinska, B., Petraglia, F., Angioni, S., Genazzani, A.D., Criscuolo, M., Ficarra, G., Gallinelli, A., Trentini, G.P., & Genazzani, A.R. (1993). Effect of different chronic intermittent stressors and acetyl-l-carnitine on hypothalamic beta-endorphin and GnRH and on plasma testosterone levels in male rats. Neuroendocrinology, 57, 985-990
2. Krsmanovic, L.Z., Virmani, M.A., Stojilkovic, S.S., & Catt, K.J. Stimulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion by acetyl-L-carnitine in hypothalamic neurons and GT1 neuronal cells. (1994). Neuroscience Letters, 165, 33-36
3. Maggini, S., Banziger, K.R., & Walter, P. (2000). L-carnitine supplementation results in improved recovery after strenuous exercise. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 44, 75-96
4. Pettegrew, J.W., Levine, J., & McClure, R.J. (2000). Acetyl-L-carnitine physical-chemical, metabolic, and therapeutic properties: relevance for its mode of action in Alzheimer's disease and geriatric depression. Molecular Psychiatry, 5, 616-632
5. Giamberardino, M.A., Dragani, L., Valente, R., Di Lisa, F., Saggini, R., & Vecchiet, L. (1996). Effects of prolonged L-carnitine administration on delayed muscle pain and CK release after eccentric effort. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 17, 320-324
6. Volek, J.S., Kraemer, W.J., Rubin, M.R., Gomez, A.L., Ratamess, N.A., & Gaynor, P. (2002). L-Carnitine L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress. American Journal of Physiology, 282, E474-E482
7. Kraemer, W.J. & Volek, J.S. (2000). L-Carnitine supplementation for athlete. A new perspective. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 44, 88-89

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