What is L-Carnitine? Does it burn fat? Is It Safe To Use As A Dietary Supplement For Athletes?


It is a substance that is synthesized in the body from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine in the liver and kidneys and has the task of transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria for oxidation. While L-Carnitine is found in meat and dairy products, it is found in the body; 95% of the amount of L-carnitine is in muscle cells.

It has been reported that L-carnitine increases fat oxidation and energy production and plays an important role in energy metabolism in muscles.

  • Carnitine is always available in sufficient quantities in the muscle cells, so there is no carnitine deficiency.

Much of the carnitine excreted in the urine is reabsorbed through food. Carnitine deficiency is not observed in healthy human bodies, including professional athletes.

  • Oral ingestion of carnitine only increases the carnitine rate in the blood, does not get into the muscles and is excreted from the body in the urine. The question of the effects on the organs is still controversial and can lead to risky results.

Training and L-Carnitine:

The target group are athletes who do endurance training. Carnitine is known to increase aerobic capacity and burn fat. Although it is said to be used to speed up fat metabolism when the amount of glycogen decreases and for long-term exercise, there is no scientific evidence to support it.

It is also reported that the absorption of carnitine in the body reduces the production of lactic acid.

  • In a study carried out; L-carnitine has been found to increase oxygen consumption at a certain level, and it has been suggested that this increase can only be a clue with important comparisons.
  • In a study looking at the effects of total serum carnitine and muscle pain; Participants were given squat exercises by giving 2 g of L-carnitine daily for 3 weeks. As a result, it was found that carnitine has an impact on muscle pain and recovery.
  • In another study; It has been observed that the carnitine intake in athletes increases the maximum oxygen consumption during fast exercises and that the carnitine level stimulates the fat metabolism in the respiratory region.
  • In a study with hemodialysis patients; Although L-carnitine supplementation has been shown to reduce dialysis-induced muscle spasms in patients and to have a positive effect on serum lipid profiles, there are also sources to show that it has no positive effect. Further studies on this subject are needed.
  • In a study by Vecchiet et al .; stated that a supplement of 2 g of L-carnitine one hour before training increased the athletes’ oxygen consumption and led to a significant increase in performance, which had a positive effect on athletic performance.
  • There are publications that state that L-carnitine increases oxygen uptake or fat oxidation and endurance. However, there are also studies that show that this situation does not have a positive effect on endurance performance.
  • Food supplements are not required in a balanced diet. In the use case, the reliability should be thoroughly examined, examined from all sides and cooperated with a health advisor.

Good, Y. (2017). FITNESS and ERGOGENE HELP “FOOD SUPPLEMENTS”. Faculty of Sports Science at Hacettepe University, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism in Exercise, 1-75.

Karakus, M. (2014). Ergogenic support for athletes. Journal of Sports Medicine, 155-167.

Katalinic, LK-J. (2018). The unexpected effects of L-carnitine supplementation on lipid metabolism in hemodialysis patients. Renal Blood Pressure Research, 1113-1120.

Watanabe, Kentucky (2018). Two siblings with long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogen (VLCAD deficiency) very poor in rhabdomyolysis after L-carnitine supplementation. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports, 121-123.

Yilmaz, GI (2006). Effects of L-Carnitine on Athletic Performance. Sports and Medicine, 1-3.

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