Top 5 Benefits Of L-Carnitine
By Jayton Miller
Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes include L-carnitine as part of their supplement plan to help them improve performance and promote a healthy physique. But is l-carnitine always a good idea to supplement with? We will look at the benefits l-carnitine has to offer, some reasons why you may not want to supplement with it, and how to supplement with it properly if you decide to use it. Let’s dive in...
What Is L-Carnitine?:
L-carnitine is one of two forms that carnitine comes in, the other being D-carnitine. Sometimes you will also see it as acetyl-l-carnitine, this simply means that there is an acetyl group attached to the l-carnitine molecule. Acetyl-l-carnitine has been shown in some cases to have better absorption that regular l-carnitine and to be a better option for supplementation.
L-carnitine is the active form of carnitine that is involved in the production and metabolism of energy. Though it's naturally-occurring in the body, it can also be found in certain foods or taken as a supplement.
Many people use L-carnitine to supplement their health and fitness routine as a means to maintain or lose weight, boost muscle building and even improve brain function.
Benefits Of L-Carnitine:
There are a number of a health and wellness benefits of taking L-carnitine, which is why many physically active individuals include it part of their regimen:
Since L-carnitine is instrumental in the production of energy, many active individuals take it to increase endurance.
One particular study found that professional soccer players who took L-carnitine before training were able to exercise for longer time frames before reaching exhaustion. Another study showed that rats who were fed L-carnitine showed improvement in exercise endurance.
May Help Support Weight Loss
L-carnitine may have a role in the weight loss industry because of its possible ability to help shed excess body fat. In fact, one study discovered that participants who took L-carnitine experienced a much greater amount of weight loss compared to a control group.
May Help With Muscle Recovery
Athletes may be able to recover from training faster by supplementing with L-carnitine. One study found that athletes who took L-carnitine before undergoing an athletic test had lower levels of certain markers of muscle damage compared to the group who took a placebo.
May Help Improve Brain Function
Many people take L-carnitine for its effect on the brain in addition to its impact on the body. More specifically, L-carnitine may be effective in boosting cognitive and brain function.
Studies have found that L-carnitine supplementation may improve cognitive function and memory in the elderly and even reverse cognitive decline.
Could Help Normalizes Blood Sugar Levels
It has been suggested that L-carnitine may be effective at regulating blood sugar levels and protecting against insulin resistance. Studies have shown that diabetic patients who took L-carnitine showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity and regulation of blood sugar levels.
Read More: When & Why To Take Pre-Workout
How To Use L-Carnitine:
L-carnitine usually comes in capsule format, making it rather easy to take. Each capsule is dosed precisely, so the exact brand you take may come with different doses per capsule.
The recommended daily dosage of L-carnitine is 500mg to 2,000mg. That said, the exact dosage will depend on the type of L-carnitine supplement being taken.
For instance, doses as high as 2,500mg of acetyl-L-carnitine may be taken every day, while L-carnitine can be taken on doses as high as 4,000mg.
As with any supplement, it's advised to start with the lower end of the recommended daily dosage and gradually work your way up to minimize side effects.
Read More: What Is Muscle And How To Build It
Why You Should Not Supplement With L-Carnitine:
After seeing all of these benefits that have been associated with l-carnitine supplementation you might be ready to load up on some carnitine supplements, but you need to take into consideration the dark side of l-carnitine before moving forward.
L-carnitine inhibits the entrance of both T4 and T3 (thyroid hormones) from getting into the nuclei of the cell. This in turn mitigates the action for the thyroid hormone, and l-carnitine has been shown to help reverse hyperthyroid symptoms. So if you are not hyperthyroid it might be in your best interest to skip out on the l-carnitine supplementation and just get it through your food.
Foods That Contain L-Carnitine:
As already mentioned, L-carnitine can be produced in the body, but it should also be obtained from outside sources to avoid deficiency and the side effects that come with inadequate levels in the body.
When it comes to L-carnitine food sources, animal products tend to be the best7. The following are food sources that have the highest level of L-carnitine:
- Chicken breast
- Whole milk
- Cheddar cheese
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L-carnitine is a nonessential amino acid that has been associated with many benefits for the human body. The research on l-carnitine specifically related to endurance, brain function, blood sugar levels and weight loss are promising but inconclusive; however, there is more evidence supporting its use as an aid in muscle recovery (although, if it lowers your thyroid hormone then it might interfere with this over time). Getting l-carnitine through food rather than supplementation is your best bet to ensure you do not have a deficiency, but also not to get too much to interfere with thyroid hormone.