What is L-Carnitine / Acetyl-L-Carnitine?
Carnitine, contrary to popular belief is not an amino acid but is normally included amongst amino’s due to its similar structure! However, it is synthesized in the body by the amino acids lysine and methionine.
Carnitine is available in many forms including L-carnitine and ALCAR (acetyl-L-Carnitine). L-Carnitine is the most popular form but Acetyl-L-Carnitine is gaining ground as the extra benefits are being discovered!
Carnitine can be bought in supplement form or can be found naturally in small quantities in most meats.
How Does L-Carnitine / Acetyl-L-Carnitine Work?
Where do we start!? L-carnitine primarily transfers long-chain fatty acids to the mitochondria of cells where they are oxidized to produce energy!
In simple terms, L-Carnitine helps to melt fat by using it as an energy source! This makes L-Carnitine a very popular supplement for fat-burning, increasing energy, and also improving muscular endurance!
L-carnitine has also been found to help with muscle building. Trainees on a strict diet will also feel the benefit as it can help to reduce feelings of hunger and weakness.
As another side benefit, studies have shown that your body’s cardiovascular system can greatly benefit from the intake of L-Carnitine. Many studies suggest that L-carnitine is useful in increasing the heart’s output and improving it’s function.
Support for increased cardiac performance has also been shown which probably explains it’s value in helping with cardio and muscular endurance.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, as well as having all of the benefits mentioned above, has also been shown to have a positive influence on brain function, namely its memory enhancing abilities!
Pretty good going considering Carnitine is so cheap too!
Who Would Benefit Most? Can You Have an L-Carnitine Deficiency?
Judging by all of the benefits above, anybody would benefit from L-Carnitine supplementation but most people are not deficient so it is of course optional.
However, if you are in hard training for muscle gain or especially for fat loss, this is where L-Carnitine can really show its positive effects. Accelerated fat loss and endurance are some of the benefit’s that will obviously help you to reach your goal.
Vegans, vegetarians and possibly children could be deficient in L-Carnitine.
L-carnitine deficiencies are normally related to a genetic defect though – This defect prevents Carnitine from being transported and could result in possible obesity, muscle weakness, chest pains and/or confusion. Even premature ageing!
What Are The Recommended Dosages?
Dosage can vary but for the benefits mentioned above, at least 2 grams per day is recommended. More can be taken depending on weight and muscle mass if results are not seen with 2 grams.
Some recommend limiting Carnitine intake to an hour before a workout and some sources recommend spreading your intake throughout the day. I’m not aware of any difference it would make so experiment to find the optimal result for your body.
Taking the L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine versions are very safe and non-toxic. Ingesting over the recommended dose may rarely cause diarhoea