L-Carnitine came onto the supplement scene in the 1980’s as a very popular fat-burner, when stimulant-based fat-burners became more popular it soon fizzled out however.
It is now back on the scene and very popular again, further research has been conducted on this supplement since the 80’s and it has now been found to not only be a great fat-burner but can also enhance exercise performance and recovery times, you’ve probably heard of all the scare stories in the tabloids regarding L-Carnitine and whether it is safe or not, it is even put in some energy drinks too, let’s cut out all the nonsense and look at some of the science behind the product.
This is often bookshelved as an amino acid, technically it isn’t, it is considered an amino acid and vitamin like compound related to Vitamin-B.
When it first began to be studied in the 1950’s it was categorized as vitamin BT, it is formed naturally in the liver and kidneys by the chemicals lysine and methionine, it is also stored in the body elsewhere too. Mainly in muscle including your heart, brain and even sperm.
In a diet it can come from meat and other animal products, products such as avocado and soy bean also contain the supplement although it is better to get it from red meat, the redder the better.
The acetyl group attached to the carnitine molecule enhances it’s ability to enter the brain passing through the blood-brain barrier, it can then act as a powerful anti-oxidant. Some research suggests that Acetyl L-Carnitine can provide protective actions against the aging process and neurodegradation.
The biggest part L-Carnitine plays in the body is the transport of fat, particularly long chain fatty acids into cells. Once there they can be oxidized and used as fuel, this is done during rest and exercise, it has also been shown to work especially well during periods of intense workouts.
It has also been shown to help enhance insulin’s action on muscle cells, this means it can keep blood glucose levels low and aid in glycogen repletion.
During bulking periods it can minimize fat gained for a cleaner bulk and when cutting it transports the fat into cellular furnaces to be burned as energy.
L-Carnitine’s benefits don’t just stop at fat-burning and decreased glycogen use, but also enhances blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow means more nutrients and hormones go where they are needed during exercise.
L-Carnitine also increases the number of testosterone receptors known as androgen receptors inside muscle cells, the more receptors you have in your cells the more testosterone cells can bind to them helping muscle and strength gains.
On normal doses there are few negative side effects, it can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea when taking in excessive doses.
A possible positive side-effect of the supplement is that is can be more effective than testosterone therapy for male erectile dysfunction, because it boosts NO levels, getting more blood flow down there, it also enhances male fertility because it increases sperm mobility.
As little as 1g can be effective, a better bet is to take 2-3g per dose for max benefit along with 20-40g of protein and 30-40g of carbs preferably with a meal.
Acetyl L-Carnitine is more easily absorbed by the intestines and the brain during a lack of food, therefore it makes sense to stack this with other fat-burning products like caffeine and green tea and taken between meals.
There is no need to cycle L-Carnitine as it stays in the system and works long-term if taken regularly.
The best time to take it is post-workout, but it can be taken with any high-carb, high-protein meal during the day.
A good strategy that seems to work well is to take 2-3 doses of acetyl L-Carnitine with other fat-burning ingredients without food in-between meals and 1 dose of L-Carnitine in your post-workout meal.
When taken correctly, L-Carnitine can boost your training and physique, despite what you may have read it is also very safe, a great tool to have in your arsenel, please feel free to comment below.
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