We all need a bit of extra energy when pumping the weights. Does L-Carnitine provide you with that extra energy boost?
Well, this article will answer this question, with the use of valid research we will discuss the additional benefits of having L-Carnitine in your supplement stash.
What is L-Carnitine?
L-carnitine is manufactured in the liver and kidneys from the amino acids lysine and methionine.
It requires niacin, B6 and iron to complete the synthesis and about 98% of the body’s carnitine is stored in the skeletal muscle and is made up from external food sources.
L-Carnitine is made from food sources such as red meat, dairy products, avocado and tempeh.
Although a healthy balanced diet including these food sources can provide the body with about 80% of the L-carnitine required, the issues arise when the supply out strips the demand.
In terms of strenuous exercise and weight training, L-carnitine supplementation is essential so that the supply meets the demand.
How can L-Carnitine boost energy levels?
L-Carnitine transports the long-chain fatty acids through the mitochondria (the powerhouses and fat burning furnace of cells) to be broken down.
It helps with the release of body fat that is stored and it triggers the use of triglycerides as a main fuel source.
This stimulation of the triglycerides, spars the glycogen stores within the liver which is needed when exercising at higher intensities.
Therefore, when exercising at about 75% of your maximum heart rate L-Carnitine allows less glycogen from carbohydrate to be used, more body fat is burnt off and ultimately energy levels are boosted.
This allows more fat to be burnt for energy within the working muscles, this is the biggest training benefit when supplementing with L-Carnitine.
Current research has indicated that L-Carnitine is an essential amino acid that enhances the fat burning mechanism within the body.
Without L-Carnitine the long chain fatty acids at a cellular level have a hard time breaking through the wall of the mitochondria and their use as fuel in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), when exercising is diminished.
Bear in mind that glycogen and fats stored with in the body are needed to work the skeletal muscle, let’s explain this process a little further.
Carbs are converted into glycogen and are stored in the skeletal muscle and liver. After the glycogen stores have been depleted the body turns to fat for energy.
L-Carnitine is a catalyst that aids fat as a fuel, but during high intensity exercise L-Carnitine levels within the muscle become exhausted.
However, with supplementation the levels of L-Carnitine within the muscle are increased and it is this process that aids fat loss because more body fat is being used as fuel.
This is a positive double whammy in terms of the impact of supplementing with L-Carnitine because more fat is being used as a fuel, and you can exercise for longer at higher intensities because of the additional boost in energy.
Therefore, your body fat will be blasted off by using L-Carnitine and you will become a lot fitter at the same time because you will be able to exercise at higher intensities.
Additional Benefits of L-Carnitine
In addition to its fat transporting role, L-Carnitine improves insulin’s activities on the skeletal muscle and helps to drive glucose into the working muscle.
Another benefit is that L-Carnitine helps to regulate blood sugar levels, even after a meal that is high in carbs and it can also aid in glycogen repletion post exercise.
L-carnitine also boosts blood flow to the working muscles which equates to a better delivery of nutrients and vital hormones when training. Plus it reduces the oxidative damage on the nitric oxide caused by training, by increasing the activity of a key enzyme.
It is this mechanism this enhances nitric oxide in the blood and subsequently energy levels and muscle recovery times are boosted. This is excellent news, especially when you are on a muscle gaining journey!
Research from the University of Connecticut, discovered that L-Carnitine supplementation can augment the number of androgen receptor which plays a vital role in binding the testosterone to the muscle cells.
It is this process that increases muscle growth and overall strength.
An additional benefit is that L-Carnitine is a catalyst for the action of insulin-growth factor-1 which is essential for muscle growth via increasing its protein binding potential.
Dosage & Timings
For maximum benefits the recommended dose is 2-3 grams of L-Carnitine and/or Acetyl L-carnitine, combined with 25-35 grams of carbs and 25-40 grams of proteins.
Acetyl L-carnitine is another popular form of L-Carnitine and it is found throughout the central nervous system. It plays a vital role in energy production and produces a key neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Good practice is to take this supplement post exercise and you can use it in between meals to enhance your body’s fat blasting. Remember to stick to the 2-3 gram rule because if taken in high doses can cause nausea, sickness and diarrhoea.
Which L-Carnitine supplement is recommended?
The L-Carnitine supplement made available by MyProtein is our pick.
It is available for £6.99 for a bottle of 90 capsules, which is incredibly good value for money.