If you’re no stranger to the weight room and your goal is to have your abdominal muscles pop out, then you know that sometimes you need a bit more than your typical diet and training program. That incredibly shredded six pack takes extreme dedication and hard work. When you’ve been pulling out all the stops though, it may also require the use of a fat burning supplement.
L-Carnitine is one of the most widely used fat burning ingredients. Everyone from professional bodybuilders to those who just want to burn off that last 10 pounds has reported it to be one of the most effective means of burning excess fat. Let’s review the research to see if L-Carnitine is all that it’s cracked up to be.
What is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body. This amino acid promotes the burning of fat as a fuel source. When you put your body through intense exercise sessions, your body burns through its natural supply of L-Carnitine. This is a normal process but many experts have speculated that when you supplement with L-Carnitine, you may be able to enhance your body’s fat burning ability.
Benefits of L-Carnitine
With all of its fanfare, it’s not surprising that science is on the side of L-Carnitine as a potential way to boost your fat burning ability. Here are the primary benefits you’ll get with L-Carnitine:
Boosts Fat Burning
- When it comes to fat burning, L-Carnitine has been shown to mobilize fat and direct it into the mitochondria to be used as an energy source. At the same time, it spares muscle glycogen. This has terrific implications, as you can see in this study published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, for those looking to shed body fat as the boost from L-Carnitine may allow you to reach that goal faster.
Promotes Performance and Endurance
- As mentioned above, L-Carnitine focuses on fat as an energy source while sparing muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen is immensely important for outright power and performance during as weight lifting session. When you use it all up, you’ll hit the wall and experience fatigue. Since L-Carnitine is focusing on fat, your body has more muscle glycogen to use. As demonstrated in one study published in the Journal of Physiology, the use of L-Carnitine resulted in a performance boost of 11%.
Supports Overall Weight Loss
- With more fat being mobilized to be used and more muscle glycogen being spared to support better performance, L-Carnitine is an ideal thermogenic ingredient. It supports a healthy overall weight loss, making this ideal for general fitness and specific goals such as getting those abs to show.
How Should I Take L-Carnitine?
The most agreed upon dosage in the fitness community seems to be 2 to 3 grams of L-Carnitine. Many experts such as Jim Stoppani, PhD also suggest taking L-Carnitine with a meal that contains 30 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates. That means one of the best times to take the supplement is with a pre-workout or a post-workout meal.
As an effective fat burner, L-Carnitine may be an ideal supplement to include in your diet and training program. Even if your goal is not to have your abs pop out, L-Carnitine may be able to increase your athletic performance.
- Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.
- Malek Mahdavi A, Mahdavi R, Kolahi S. Effects of l-Carnitine Supplementation on Serum Inflammatory Factors and Matrix Metalloproteinase Enzymes in Females with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Sep-Oct;35(7):597-603. Epub 2016 Mar 2.
- Smeland OB, Meisingset TW, Borges K, Sonnewald U. Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice. Neurochem Int. 2012 Jul;61(1):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 Apr 23.
- Kent Sahlin. Boosting fat burning with carnitine: an old friend comes out from the shadow. J Physiol. 2011 Apr 1; 589(Pt 7): 1509–1510.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.