(Click On Links in Blue For More Info)

What is L-Carnitine?

L-Carnitine,  or Levocarnitine, is a naturally occurring substance found within the body. It plays an essential role in energy production by transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria where they are broken down to produce energy in the form of ATP. All tissues except the brain use fatty acids to produce energy.  Approximately 95% of the body’s stores of L-carnitine are found in the skeletal muscle and heart, with lower amounts found in the liver, the kidney, and the plasma.

The body can only produce 25% of our daily requirement for L-carnitine, which it synthesises from the amino acids lysine and methionine in the liver, kidneys and brain. Therefore, 75% of the L-carnitine we need has to come from our diet, with the primary source being red meat, or supplements. It can also be found in some plant-based foods, but in very low quantities. Consequently, vegetarians typically obtain very little from their diet (1). Age can also influence our l-carnitine levels, as they tend to decline as we get older.

L-carnitine has been shown to be an effective ergogenic aid, with early research highlighting its beneficial effects on physical performance, such as increased maximal oxygen consumption and power output. While later studies have highlighted the positive effects of L-carnitine supplementation on post-exercise recovery, including the alleviation of muscle damage, free radical formation and a reduction in muscle soreness (1).

Although there are various forms of L-carnitine, it is L-carnitine L-tartrate that tends to be used to enhance physical performance and fat loss. This is because it has been shown to provide a number of benefits for exercise, including increasing fatty acid oxidation and reducing purine catabolism and free radical formation, which may prevent exercise fatigue and muscle weakness. It has also been shown to enhance the body’s hormonal response to exercise (2).

L-carnitine L-tartrate contains a combination of carnitine and tartrate, a salt of tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is a substance that occurs naturally in various plants and fruits. L- Tartrate is used as an additive to enhance the absorption of other substances and is a potent antioxidant. Therefore, combining L-carnitine with L-tartrate enables the body to absorb carnitine more effectively to maximise its benefits.

What are the benefits of L-carnitine supplementation?

Supplementation with L-carnitine has been shown scientifically to provide numerous potential benefits for health and performance. These include, but are not limited to: