If you’re looking to up your fat loss results, there’s one supplement you’ll definitely want on your radar and that is L-Carnitine. Walk into any supplement store or take a quick look online and you will come across hundreds of different products, all promising to get you lean in a hurry.
Which is ideal for you? Which will go that extra mile? Everyone does respond differently to various supplements so there’s no real ‘best’ or one-size fits all product. You can break them down into individual ingredients and learn how they will enhance your results.
L-Carnitine is a supplement that can be taken all on its own or it can be taken in conjunction with other ingredients in a ‘stacked’ product. Either way, you’re going to reap some pretty great benefits from getting this in.
L-Carnitine is backed by science, so it’s an ingredient you can trust will go that extra mile. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of L-Carnitine that you can expect to see and how to integrate it into your supplement plan.
What Is Acetyl-L-Carnitine
Before we get going into the benefits of what this ingredient has to offer, let’s first talk about what it is. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a product that is naturally derived in the body to some degree and is also taken in whenever you consume red meats. This said most people are not going to consume sufficient amounts or manufacture it on their own in levels that are of greatest benefit when it comes to supporting your body composition goals. This is why supplementation becomes key.
Often called ALCAR for short (which stands for Acetyl-L-Carnitine), it is a special form of an amino acid that has special properties that act upon the body.
Let’s now get into the benefits. While most of the benefits of this ingredient are going to be directed towards fat loss, there are other benefits that may appeal to those who are working towards different goals as well.
Improved Fatty Acid Release From The Fat Cell
Let’s face the facts: fat loss is hard. If it wasn’t, the diet industry wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry like it is today. People struggle with fat loss and it’s not just because we all don’t have the will power to say no to that slice of pizza.
In order to burn fat efficiently, there needs to be a breakdown of the fat molecules into fatty acids in the fat cell. These fatty acids then need to be directed to the mitochondria of the cell (the powerhouse), which will then convert them into ATP, which provides energy to the body.
So basically, there needs to be three things all taking place here.
- Fat molecules need to begin being broken down into fatty acids.
- The fatty acids need to be mobilized, that is transported to the place where they can be burned off as energy.
- Energy needs to be in high demand so these fatty acids are now used for fuel, rather than just being re-absorbed and converted back into fat molecules (which can be a likely fate in some cases).
Fortunately, you can control two of these elements quite well yourself. For the first, if you follow a lower carb, lower calorie diet and keep insulin levels down, this will promote the need to start breaking the fat molecules down. The body will sense that it’s in an energy shortage and because insulin is low (meaning there are no available fuels in your system), fat is the next place the body will turn to.
This is one reason why a lower carb diet can be so powerful. When insulin levels are high, it shuts down the need to break down fat into fatty acids making it nearly impossible to burn body fat.
The third step you can also control through your activity levels. You want to increase your total daily expenditure so that you are burning off those fatty acids now released as fuel for energy. This is done through either increasing your resting energy expenditure (by doing resistance training or sprint training that improves your metabolic output), or through doing exercise itself. Any exercise training is going to increase energy demands and therefore, fat burning in the body.
So, this leaves step two as the one that you don’t have much power over unfortunately. The good news is that you can get power over that step by using carnitine1.
The role of carnitine is to provide a shuttle of sorts that transports fatty acids from the fat cell to the mitochondria to get them ready for energy burning. So, by taking L-Carnitine, you help to enhance the whole process, allowing it to run quicker and more seamlessly. Those who use it on a regular basis tend to experience faster overall rates of fat loss progress2.
Improved Energy Levels
In addition to the fat burning benefits you’ll reap from using L-Carnitine, you’ll also notice improved energy levels as well. This is thanks to the fact that you’ll now have a higher stream of fatty acids available for use as fuel, thus you won’t be as likely to experience an energy lag in the face of few carbohydrates.
This isn’t just physical energy we’re referring to here either. Most people will state that they notice greater mental energy as well and can maintain focus and concentration longer when utilizing L-Carnitine.
Improved Exercise Performance
Many people who are taking L-Carnitine will also report other benefits as far as their workouts are concerned. They may notice less overall muscle soreness after using L-Carnitine and see better overall recovery rates3. This allows them to get back into the gym again, training hard and seeing greater results.
An increase in overall stamina and endurance may also be seen, especially at low to moderate intensity levels where fat can provide a great fuel substrate.
Boosted Brain Health
Improved focus isn’t the only cognitive benefit that L-Carnitine will provide. Research has also illustrated that it may play a key role in helping to improve the quality of life of those who are suffering from dementia and in some people, help their cognition return back to normal4.
While not everyone will make a complete recovery from dementia after taking L-Carnitine, it’s definitely a supplement worthwhile of considering if you are suffering from this condition.
Inflammation is at the heart of so many disease states today such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes so it’s only wise to do all you can to avoid it. L-Carnitine can help. L-Carnitine is a powerful antioxidant that works to help combat inflammation in its tracks so can lower your risk factor for all of these unwanted conditions.
So hopefully this gives you a better idea of some of the key benefits that L-Carnitine can offer you. One thing you will want to note is that some people will find that it does provide some mental stimulation for them, therefore they may experience difficulty sleeping if they take it too close to bedtime.
For best results, take it four hours prior to when you plan on sleeping, if not six. Likewise, for health and fat loss purposes, it’s also best to get into a regular routine of taking this every day so keep that in mind as well.
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- Harmeyer, J. “The physiological role of L-carnitine.” Lohman Information 27 (2002): 15-21.
- Karlic, Heidrun, and Alfred Lohninger. “Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense?” Nutrition 20.7-8 (2004): 709-715.
- Kraemer, William J., et al. “The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 17.3 (2003): 455-462.
- Lizard, Gerard, et al. “Potential roles of peroxisomes in Alzheimer’s disease and in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.” Journal of Alzheimer’s disease 29.2 (2012): 241-254.