Carnitine Is An Efficient Fat Burner?
Carnitine is a substance that the body produces from two amino acids: methionine and lysine.The body also requires vitamin B6 and B3, vitamin C, iron as well as certain enzymes to carry out the manufacturing process.
Carnitine acts mainly on the transport of fat molecules to the mitochondria which are the muscle cells that will allow the production of ATP, the energy used by the muscles. Carnitine therefore has a major role in muscle function.
The body produces carnitine in the liver and kidneys. Carnitine as a supplement is manufactured in the laboratory and commercially available as L-carnitine, water-soluble or acetyl-L-carnitine which is liposoluble.
It is easy to understand the interest of sportsmen for this type of product since it could improve the use of lipid reserves, thus causing the melting of the superfluous fat and limiting the use of glycogen, thereby improving performance. Carnitine is also given vasodilatory properties promoting the transport of oxygen, as well as a possible impact on muscle growth and recovery.
Where to find carnitine?
Some of the carnitine in the body is synthesized from the amino acids and vitamins brought by the diet. But, another part is directly contained in the food itself as red meat or dairy. It can also be found in avocado and tempeh (fermented soybeans). This is how about 20 to 200mg of carnitine are supplied to the body through the modern diet.
Carnitine can also be provided by supplementation. As such, carnitine studies use doses several grams higher than those transmitted through diet. The doses contained in the supplements are therefore from 500mg to 2g. But, it should be noted that the absorption of these supplements is much less than the carnitine contained in the food. The latter is absorbed at about 75% whereas the supplements are assimilated only from 5 to 18%.
The interest of carnitine for athletes
When we know the function of carnitine in the body, we can easily speculate on its effectiveness in eliminating fat and improving performance. And it is for this purpose that many sportsmen consume.
Some studies have actually pointed to beneficial effects of this kind, but subsequent studies have not fixed these results, others have even shown different effects such as the increased use of carbohydrates versus fats. Some studies also show more disturbing effects but they are limited to an experiment on animals not comparable to that on humans.
The interest of carnitine in sport is therefore still controversial. In addition, the difficulty of actually increasing carnitine levels by supplementation, which is rather low in absorption, must be highlighted. It can also be noted that the effects diverge according to the users, who are more or less sensitive. Nevertheless, carnitine could show greater effects in overweight and beginner athletes. Finally, it is clear that people with carnitine deficiency, which may be the case of vegetarians and vegans, may benefit from this substance. In this case, carnitine supplementation may be considered.
Other effects may be interesting as carnitine may improve the muscle’s sensitivity to testosterone. Producing the same shots a similar impact to a higher concentration of testosterone in the blood.
In addition, it is also possible that carnitine reduces muscle aches and reduces muscle catabolism. Positive properties that could improve performance.
Carnitine’s interest in health
In people with conditions such as heart or respiratory failure as well as those with cardiac disorders, carnitine seems to alleviate the symptoms and gives the patients the opportunity to produce more efforts or even reduce their medication a little . This use of carnitine remains experimental but apparently has positive results.
Carnitine is also used in the treatment of certain pathologies produced by type 2 diabetes, such as peripheral neuropathies. It is also used to treat HIV in combination with antiviral therapy. Finally, another more controversial use concerns Alzheimer’s disease.
The dosage of carnitine
The dosages used by most studies are of the order of 2 grams per day, which it is advisable to distribute in several doses.
Since data are still controversial on the efficacy of carnitine, it is not possible to recommend other dosages than those of studies.
Side Effects of Carnitine
At the doses used by the studies, there do not seem to be any particular problems with healthy people. However, there are no data on supplementation for pregnant or nursing women and children. We must therefore remain vigilant in these contexts.
The tolerance of the digestive system to carnitine is quite good in most people. For some others, carnitine may cause mild intestinal problems.
It should be noted that taking carnitine, above about 3g, can cause a body odor resembling that of fish.
In patients with epilepsy, the use of carnitine may have an adverse effect on the frequency of seizures. Similarly, patients with Alzheimer’s disease may experience increased agitation when taking carnitine. Cases have, in any case, been reported.
The interest of carnitine therefore appears to be rather limited, whether we aim at fat loss or athletic performance. It is often presented as a powerful fat burner, ideal for losing fat during a diet or a dry. But, the effect of this supplement is modest, and the feedback from users goes in this direction. Even if you use a supplement to lose fat and improve your performance, choose caffeine instead.
As you know, diet remains the most important factor during a diet. So, bet first on the latter.