We’ve all have heard of the fat burners and stimulants that potentially assist with thermogenics – time and time again but we’ve also heard of the adverse health effects (with minimal results) associated with these gimmicks.
Allow me to introduce to you a very safe, natural alternative, weight loss solution; L-Carnitine. L-carnitine or simply carnitine (the D-Carnitine form isn’t biologically active so it isn’t sold as a supplement) is a conditional amino acid (the body produces it but not enough) however it is synthesized in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. It’s mostly stored in the brain, muscles, heart, and sperm. No matter what your bodybuilding and fitness plans are, losing fat or gaining muscle, your chances of achieving this will increase greatly if you have carnitine as one of your supplement sources. Studies focusing on the effectiveness of carnitine have been researched for the last 80 years. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that carnitine can have on your overall health and fitness goals.
If you are looking to lose fat and improve your overall body composition, then this is the supplement to consider. Carnitine mobilizes long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into the mitochondria, where they may be oxidized to produce energy; also known as fuel. In addition, carnitine has also been shown to reduce fatigue (due to it’s restriction of lactic acid build up) and serve as an appetite suppressant as well. It not only helps keep your body from storing fat, but it will increase your aerobic abilities and muscle strength which will result in the burning of more calories.
On the medicinal side, carnitine has been proven safe and effective for people that are suffering from osteoporosis; general loss of bone density. Research has theorized that by taking carnitine, one can slow down their bone loss process and improve bone micro structural properties by decreasing bone degeneration.
In addition, if you have ongoing heart problems, carnitine has been primarily utilized to help prevent occurrences or recurrences of cardiovascular disease. Several clinical trials show that carnitine can be used along with conventional treatment for angina to decrease the use of medicine and may improve the ability of those with angina to exercise without chest pain or discomfort. Some studies have reported that taking carnitine after a heart attack decreases their chances of suffering another one later; however one should consult with their Doctor first before consuming, (Men’s Journal, 2011).
Carnitine has also been recommended for those with urinary or kidney problems and for those men that have been trying to have children but can’t due to low sperm counts. Carnitine has been shown to help improve both the sperm count, quality of sperm, and erectile dysfunction (ED) due to it’s nitric oxide properties. Furthermore, carnitine increases testosterone receptors (androgen receptors) thus increasing the absorption rate of testosterone throughout the body to assist with the building of lean muscle mass.
If you are diabetic, it’s recommended that taking carnitine helps by enhancing glucose oxidation, glucose storage, as well as glucose uptake into the muscles. Carnitine is effective for cognition or mental function – that deteriorates in the elderly or in the people that have certain medical conditions.
If you want the top shelf version of carnitine, try the Acetyl-L Carnitine or ALCAR – this is the more popular bodybuilding supplement. In addition to the aforementioned, it improves mental energy, increases mental focus, faster response time, and it’s a powerful antioxidant. It can be found throughout the central nervous system, where it plays a role in producing energy, as well as producing the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It’s recommended that one takes between 2-4 grams daily for general health. It’s available in most meats and dairy products, soybeans, & avocados however one would have to consume thousands of additional food calories to achieve the benefits that a 500 mg capsule of carnitine could provide. Consider taking this supplement with a meal that contains at least 30-40 grams of carbs and 20-40 grams of protein as carnitine works best when carbs are present.
If you want to try the super fat loss amino combo, consider taking carnitine with taurine. I’ve spoken about taurine previously and mentioned that the Japanese consider it to be their eternal fountain of youth remedy but it also helps to mobilize fat and facilitate it’s use throughout the body as energy. This process is expedited with the use of carnitine. I personally take 2 taurine and 2 carnitine capsules in the morning and evening, just before I eat. Please take a look at Fitness Rx for Men’s list of supplements that contain carnitine (and taurine) and give them a try.
Stephens, FB Carbohydrate Ingestion Augments L-Carnitine retention in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). March – 2007 102(3):1065-70.