Poliquin Live

Tip 115: Take L-Carnitine to Lose Weight and Increase Muscle

Friday, June 24, 2011 9:39 AM
Take L-carnitine to burn fat and build muscle. A groundbreaking study has shown that supplementing with L-carnitine taken with a carbohydrate solution has a profound effect on muscle fuel utilization. For thirty years scientists have known that carnitine plays a major role in lipid oxidation, or fat burning, but until this research from the University of Nottingham, studies have been unable to show conclusive results that taking carnitine raises muscular levels.

The study used experienced recreational athletes who were training three to five times a week for a triathlon. Subjects performed two thirty-minute repeated bouts of exercise, the first at 50 percent of maximal oxygen uptake and the second at 80 percent.  After 24 weeks of supplementation with L-carnitine (2 g twice a day with 80 g of carbs) was linked to a 55 percent reduction in muscle glycogen use when exercising at 50 percent of maximal intensity. Equally good news was that participants who exercised at 80 percent of maximum oxygen uptake had less muscle lactate accumulation after exercise.

Muscle lactate buildup is a limiting factor that inhibits performance, meaning that by supplementing with L-carnitine individuals can recover quicker and perform at higher levels for a longer time.  Plus, the increase in muscle carnitine content resulted in a 35 percent increase in work output over a control group, while at the same time having positive effects on perception of effort and work output (subjects did not feel that they were working as hard).

In simple terms, taking L-carnitine is a no-brainer if you want to improve body composition by burning more fat and being able to train at a higher level. You’ll recover faster and be able to work harder!


Wall, B., Stephens, F., Constantin-Teodosiu, D., Marmuthu, K., Macdonald, I., Greenhaff, P. 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. 2011. 589, 963-973.

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