Is L-carnitine effective in weight loss?

Is L-carnitine effective in weight loss?

Is L-carnitine effective in weight loss?
Is L-carnitine effective in weight loss?

Is L-carnitine the best way to burn fat?

fat burner

Carnitine is a compound synthesized from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine and is involved in the processes of fat and energy metabolism in the body. Naturally, carnitine is found in fairly large amounts in milk, dairy products and most meats. The name "carnitine" comes from the Latin word for "meat"  carne  .

L-carnitine is considered one of the most popular sports supplements in the fat burning category. Typical claims that can be found in advertisements and reviews of its intake are to reduce body weight and get rid of excess subcutaneous fat by improving metabolism and optimizing various fat burning processes.

The sad truth, however, is that while L-carnitine is widely advertised as a fat-burning agent, many scientific studies tend to classify it as a brain-boosting supplement for the elderly rather than an effective weight-loss exercise supplement. In general, carnitine will not help you lose weight.

What is L-carnitine?

L-carnitine (levocarnitine)  is a natural substance associated with B vitamins. The main source of L-carnitine in the daily diet of the common person is mainly meat and milk. It is important to note that a healthy body is fully capable of synthesizing on its own the amount of levocarnitine needed for metabolism.

The total reserves of L-carnitine in the human body are about 20-25 g, most of which are in skeletal muscle. The main function of levocarnitine is to participate in energy metabolism in cells and the transfer of fatty acids to the mitochondria, where ATP energy is formed from fat. In other words, L-carnitine actually helps the body burn fat.

The benefits of L-carnitine - why it is needed:

  • It can improve endurance during training
  • Improves sperm quality in men
  • It can speed up the speed of muscle recovery
  • May affect blood sugar levels
  • May normalize insulin production

Как действа L-карнитинът?

Всъщност L-карнитинът е лек стимулант на функциите на централната нервна система и метаболитните механизми. На теория приемането му под формата на спортна добавка може да повиши общото ниво на активност на човек, косвено да повлияе на загубата на тегло и гладкото отслабване на тялото. Само на теория - в практическите научни изследвания това твърдение не е доказано.

За съжаление ефективността на стимулиращия ефект на карнитина върху тялото е дори по-слабо изразена от ефекта на конвенционалния кофеин. Наред с други неща, нито едно от многобройните проучвания не е успяло да докаже, че приемането на L-карнитин в таблетки или в течна форма всъщност влияе върху изгарянето на мазнините или загубата на тегло - дори при изключително високи дози.

Липса на L-карнитин в организма

Въпреки факта, че науката знае, че липсата на L-карнитин в организма може да бъде причина за напълняване и развитие на затлъстяване, такъв дефицит е изключително и изключително рядък - медицинската статистика говори само за един случай на такъв недостиг при 40-100 хиляди души. Шансовете да имате липса на левокарнитин са стотни от процента.

По-голямата част от хората получават достатъчно L-карнитин за нормален метаболизъм заедно с редовната храна - а приемът му под формата на хранителни добавки всъщност няма да даде допълнителен ефект за отслабване. Само вегетарианци и вегани могат да попаднат в рисковата група , тъй като растителните храни не съдържат L-карнитин - обаче няма пълна статистика по тази тема.

How do I take L-carnitine?

How to take L-carnitine

As there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of L-carnitine as a fat burning agent and weight loss aid, there is no optimal dose or dosage regimen for weight loss. However, the manufacturers of this supplement usually recommend that you take 200 to 3000 mg of carnitine 30 to 40 minutes before your workout.

In some materials, on the contrary, we talk about taking L-carnitine with ordinary food to increase the rate of its absorption. From a biological point of view, this recommendation for carnitine intake is more logical, as the substance does not act immediately at all, but rather accumulates in body tissues and participates in the processes of fat metabolism only if necessary.

Harms and side effects of L-carnitine

According to the information available at the time of publication, the intake of L-carnitine in the form of capsules, tablets or in liquid form is considered safe - carnitine cannot have a negative effect on human health. There are no specific contraindications to carnitine, but the drug is not recommended for women during pregnancy, just in case.

In extremely rare cases, mild allergic reactions, abdominal and pelvic pain, indigestion and normal stomach function and muscle weakness may occur when taking L-carnitine. Among other things, isolated cases of convulsions and seizures have been described in the scientific literature when it is taken regularly in large doses.

Should I drink L-carnitine during a workout?

Although, in theory, L-carnitine should help increase the athlete's performance during strength and cardio training (and thus increase the effectiveness of these workouts) by optimizing the mechanisms of energy synthesis from subcutaneous fat and while maintaining  stocks of glycogen  , practical research does not support this.

Simply put, the advertisement exaggerates by selling the substance in question as 'proven weight loss'. Despite the fact that carnitine definitely affects the body's metabolism and to some extent improves metabolism, taking this substance as a fat burner will definitely not bring the desired result in the form of rapid weight loss.


L-carnitine (elcarnitine) is one of the most advertised supplements in the fat burning category, but numerous scientific studies deny its effectiveness as a weight loss aid. Potentially, taking carnitine capsules or liquid may only benefit vegans, vegetarians or the elderly.

Scientific sources:

  1. L-carnitine: Summary of research,  source
  2. L-carnitine treatment reduces the severity of physical and mental fatigue and increases cognitive function in centuries: A randomized and controlled clinical trial,  source
  3. Effects of oral addition of L-carnitine on insulin sensitivity indices in response to glucose feeding in obese and obese men,  source