L-Carnitine - Superhero Supplement?
L-Carnitine - Superhero Supplement?

With a name sounding like a Spanish superhero, L-Carnitine could proudly wear the cape. This naturally occurring compound has powers ranging from providing more energy by enabling fat burn to reducing lactic acid build-up and decreasing muscle soreness. Surely too good to be true? 

 

What is L-Carnitine?

Carnitine is an amino acid-like compound that is made in the human brain, liver and kidneys, and occurs in nearly all cells of the body. You can also get it from your diet, the natural sources being beef, pork, fish, chicken and milk. 


Carnitine exists in a few different forms, with L-Carnitine L-Tartrate being commonly used by athletes due to its rapid absorption rate and researched benefits in minimising muscle soreness and aiding recovery via reduction in lactic acid buildup in muscles. 

 

What does L-Carnitine do?

L-Carnitine has two main functions:


Energy Production

Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production; it transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria so they can be burned for energy. In simple terms, with higher levels of L-Carnitine, your body becomes more efficient at burning fat. It can then access more energy during an intense workout by tapping into this effectively inexhaustible store.


Removing waste products

Another function of Carnitine is the transport of waste and toxic products out of the mitochondria, preventing unwanted substances from building up. These include lactic acid, which is responsible for that burning pain in your legs during a hard run.


Putting these benefits together, the effects you will feel include:


  • increased energy during workout from fat burn
  • reduced lactic acid build up
  • increased blood flow
  • reduced markers of metabolic stress
  • reduction of tissue damage from exercise
  • decreased muscle soreness 
  • improved recovery time

If Carnitine occurs naturally in my body then why do I need to supplement?

Research suggests that training in endurance athletes and, to a lesser extent, in sprinters is associated with a decrease in carnitine levels in the body, meaning supplementation is beneficial. Additionally, vegetarians are likely to require supplementation of L-Carnitine since they will not be able to obtain it from food sources. 

 

Is L-Carnitine considered a banned substance?

L-Carnitine is not a banned substance according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited list. However, you might be aware of Mo Farah having been questioned over his L-Carnitine supplementation before the 2014 London Marathon. He had been given L-Carnitine intravenously, which is banned when exceeding 50ml in a six hour window. The dose in RunStrong is safe for competing athletes. However we would always recommend checking with the relevant authorities if you are competing.

 

I am a vegan, how can I supplement with L-Carnitine?

We use Carnipure®, a patented, optimised L-Carnitine L-Tartrate ingredient. It is the highest quality, most research-backed for of L-Carnitine avialable. Carnipure® L-Carnitine is obtained by chemical synthesis; it is not extracted from meat and is therefore eminently suitable for vegetarians.

 

Is L-Carnitine supplementation safe?

L-Carnitine is a safe substance and can be taken on a long-term basis without side effects.The European Food Safety Authority has made a safety evaluation on Carnipure® L-Carnitine and came to the conclusion that up to 2g of supplementary L-Carnitine per day is safe for daily human consumption. RunStrong contains 1g (1000mg) in the daily dose of 3 capsules.

 

It’s worth noting that research suggests the body is able to absorb Carnitine better when it’s taken with a source of carbohydrate.

 

 

References

Performance and energy metabolism

 

Koozehchian, M. S., Daneshfar, A., Fallah, E., Agha-Alinejad, H., Samadi, M., Kaviani, M., Kaveh B, M., Jung, Y. P., Sablouei, M. H., Moradi, N., Earnest, C. P., Chandler, T. J., & Kreider, R. B. (2018). Effects of nine weeks L-Carnitine supplementation on exercise performance, anaerobic power, and exercise-induced oxidative stress in resistance-trained males. Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry22(4), 7–19. https://doi.org/10.20463/jenb.2018.0026

 

Karlic, H., & Lohninger, A. (2004). Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense?. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.)20(7-8), 709–715. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.003

 

Sahin, K., Orhan, C., Kucuk, O., Sahin, N., Tuzcu, M., Er, B., Durkee, S., & Bellamine, A. (2020). A Dose-Dependent Effect of Carnipure® Tartrate Supplementation on Endurance Capacity, Recovery, and Body Composition in an Exercise Rat Model. Nutrients, 12(5), 1519. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051519

 

Orer, G. E., & Guzel, N. A. (2014). The effects of acute L-carnitine supplementation on endurance performance of athletes. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 28(2), 514–519. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182a76790

 

Wall, B. T., Stephens, F. B., Constantin-Teodosiu, D., Marimuthu, K., Macdonald, I. A., & Greenhaff, P. L. (2011). Chronic oral ingestion of L-carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humans. The Journal of physiology, 589(Pt 4), 963–973. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2010.201343

 

Spiering, B. A., Kraemer, W. J., Hatfield, D. L., Vingren, J. L., Fragala, M. S., Ho, J. Y., Thomas, G. A., Häkkinen, K., & Volek, J. S. (2008). Effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on muscle oxygenation responses to resistance exercise. Journal of strength and conditioning research22(4), 1130–1135. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31817d48d9

 

Stephens, F. B., Constantin-Teodosiu, D., & Greenhaff, P. L. (2007). New insights concerning the role of carnitine in the regulation of fuel metabolism in skeletal muscle. The Journal of physiology581(Pt 2), 431–444. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2006.125799

 

Recovery


Fielding, R., Riede, L., Lugo, J. P., & Bellamine, A. (2018). l-Carnitine Supplementation in Recovery after Exercise. Nutrients, 10(3), 349. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030349


Volek, J. S., Kraemer, W. J., Rubin, M. R., Gómez, 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. Endocrinology and metabolism282(2), E474–E482. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00277.2001


Spiering, B. A., Kraemer, W. J., Vingren, J. L., Hatfield, D. L., Fragala, M. S., Ho, J. Y., Maresh, C. M., Anderson, J. M., & Volek, J. S. (2007). Responses of criterion variables to different supplemental doses of L-carnitine L-tartrate. Journal of strength and conditioning research21(1), 259–264. https://doi.org/10.1519/00124278-200702000-00046


Kraemer, W. J., Volek, J. S., French, D. N., Rubin, M. R., Sharman, M. J., Gómez, A. L., Ratamess, N. A., Newton, R. U., Jemiolo, B., Craig, B. W., & Häkkinen, K. (2003). The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery. Journal of strength and conditioning research17(3), 455–462. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12930169


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 medicine17(5), 320–324. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2007-972854

 

Weight loss


Talenezhad, N., Mohammadi, M., Ramezani-Jolfaie, N., Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., & Salehi-Abargouei, A. (2020). Effects of l-carnitine supplementation on weight loss and body composition: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 randomized controlled clinical trials with dose-response analysis. Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 37, 9–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.03.008

 

Decrease in Carnitine in endurance athletes

 

Arenas, J., Ricoy, J. R., Encinas, A. R., Pola, P., D'Iddio, S., Zeviani, M., Didonato, S., & Corsi, M. (1991). Carnitine in muscle, serum, and urine of nonprofessional athletes: effects of physical exercise, training, and L-carnitine administration. Muscle & nerve14(7), 598–604. https://doi.org/10.1002/mus.880140703

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