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latest research for carnitine

Posted in: Ask the Experts | May 10, 2009

I have heard some exciting new developments about carnitine, can you tell us what the latest research shows for this supplement?

carnitine The textbook function of carnitine is to help transport fat into the furnace of the cell for burning. Therefore the primary reason to supplement with carnitine has been as a fat burner, and some but not all studies support this function of supplemental carnitine. Several lines of evidence however point to additional beneficial effects that help speed recovery from exercise. For example carnitine injected into the bloodstream reduced the amount of oxidative stress and increased blood flow. Carnitine was shown in one animal study to increase blood flow and force production. Studies have shown that carnitine has antioxidant effects that decrease production of bad superoxide anions and increase generation of potent substances that increase dilation of blood vessels such as nitric oxide and prostacyclin. In healthy men, we reported that carnitine supplementation (2 g/day for 3 wks) resulted in significantly less accumulation of stress markers in response to resistance exercise including free radical formation, tissue damage, and muscle soreness. We recently performed a study to validate our prior work and determine if ingesting a smaller dose of carnitine could also provide a beneficial effect. Healthy men performed a resistance exercise challenge that included 5 sets of squat exercise on 3 separate occasions. For 3 weeks prior to each test, subjects ingested either 1 g of carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT) per day, 2 g LCLT/day, or a placebo. Similar to our previous work, in this new study we showed that carnitine supplementation was effective at reducing the acute response of several markers of biochemical stress after resistance exercise including hypoxanthine, xanthine oxidase, and myglobin. In addition, perception of muscle soreness was lower after exercise with carnitine supplementation. A novel finding was that 1 g/day of carnitine was as effective as 2 g/day. The findings indicate that in additional to the traditional role of carnitine as a fat burner, this dietary supplement also helps during recovery from intense exercise. Collectively, these studies point to new roles of carnitine in mitigating the biochemical stress response to exercise and at a lower dose than previously thought.

-- answer by: Jeff Volek.


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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