While some people are stress eating during the lockdown and quarantine, others are shedding major pounds. Adele, Rebel Wilson, and Rob Kardashian made headlines for their epic body transformations. Every time these celebrities post a new Instagram photo, we immediately get tempted to grab an over-the-counter weight loss miracle pill. Unfortunately, the benefits of such a pill could outweigh the risks.
There is one supplement, however, that helps burn fat known as L-Carnitine.
What is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a non-essential amino acid that helps boost our body’s metabolism. People with good health, liver, and kidneys naturally produce L-Carnitine in their bodies. But, some people are just L-Carnitine deficient. This happens when their diet fails to produce amino acid-derivative in large amounts. To make up for the deficiency, these people resort to supplemental L-Carnitine.
Two main types of L-Carnitine are supplemented in the diet: L-Carnitine tartrate and Acetyl L-Carnitine.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) can be found in brain nutrition supplements. It is created in the body from the amino acids methionine and lysine. The acetyl group in ALCAR allows it to transport across the blood-brain barrier and acts as a potent anti-oxidant. Most often, ALCAR is associated with cognitive functioning and anti-aging.
L-Carnitine Tatrate can be found in sports nutrition supplements. It’s created in the body from the amino acids methionine and lysine. The L-Carnitine tartrate is synthesized in the liver and kidneys and then transported into other tissues of the body. Tissues that use fatty acids as the primary fuel source have highest levels of L-Carnitine tartrate.
Supplemental L-Carnitine for Fat Loss
To understand the role of L-Carnitine, we need to look at how our body burns fat. The powerhouse of our cells, mitochondria, burns fat and converts it into the energy currency of our body called ATP. L-carnitine then helps shuttle in that fat into the mitochondria so they can be burned. Therefore, the more L-carnitine we have in our body, the more fat burning.
Recommended L-Carnitine Dosage
Note: If you are currently taking any medication, do not use an L-Carnitine supplement without consulting your doctor. The supplement may interfere with your medication, resulting in complications.
The recommended dosage is 2-3 g per day, divided into three evenly split dosages. L-Carnitine supplements are available in a gelcap, liquid, tablet, and powdered formulations. If you want your body to absorb L-Carnitine quickly, consume it in liquid form and make sure to use a medication-measuring device. You can also opt to mix the liquid form with another liquid. If you follow a workout plan, for instance, pair the L-Carnitine liquid with coffee or green tea. Just mix properly to prevent an upset stomach.
Many people have observed the best results when they take L-Carnitine with 40 g of carbohydrates. Accordingly, the combination of L-Carnitine and carbohydrates offers insulin-related benefits. Insulin is a hormone that is released during carbohydrate consumption. For the L-Carnitine to effectively transport into the skeletal muscle, insulin levels need to be elevated. Taking L-Carnitine with insulin-spiking carbohydrates also helps transport more glucose to the muscle cells.
Benefits of Taking L-Carnitine
As mentioned above, ACAR is mostly used for brain functioning and anti-aging. Some studies assert that ACAR supplements reduce stress, improve memory, and fight off neuron degeneration in the brain and nervous system. Besides, ACAR’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier helps keep excessive cell death, thereby slowing down the aging process.
The L-Carnitine tartrate helps the body to oxidize fat cells that help produce energy and burn fat. If there isn’t enough L-Carnitine tartrate in the system, the body cannot effectively shuttle in fat cells into the mitochondria, resulting in fat accumulation.
L-Carnitine doesn’t only benefit weight-loss strategies. Its additional benefits include:
Improves Athletic Performance
The reason why L-Carnitine is very popular among athletes is its impact on energy production. When this supplement is taken before training, they feel energized and ready to move around. More energy equates to better performance, and athletes expressed that they do not feel exhaustion at the end of a long day.
Enhances Insulin Effectivity
According to Research, there is a correlation between amino acid and insulin. Insulin transports and controls blood sugar levels. In the case of excess glucose, insulin tells your body to stop burning fat and start storing it. The result is increased fat percentage. Luckily, L-Carnitine can interfere and help control weight gain.
Helps Treat Certain Conditions
Heart Conditions. Research suggests that L-Carnitine (when used along with conventional medicines) may help after a heart attack. Preliminary studies also indicate that L-Carnitine can help reduce symptoms of heart failure and improve the ability of people with heart failure to exercise without chest pain.
Erectile Dysfunction. Several clinical trials show that L-carnitine helps with erectile dysfunction. One study found that L-Carnitine improved the effects of viagra in diabetic men who had not responded to viagra in the past. In another study, L-Carnitine improved the effectiveness of viagra in men who had undergone prostate surgery and suffered erectile dysfunction.
Furthermore, the L-Carnitine content in seminal fluid might be of value in the treatment of male infertility. Small studies suggest that L-Carnitine supplementation may improve the quality of sperm. A clinical trial also indicates that L-Carnitine increased the concentration as well as the total and forward sperm motility of infertile men.
Cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can cause fatigue in cancer patients. One study asserts that El-Carnitine supplement reduced fatigue and restored normal blood levels of carnitine in the patients. In another study, terminal cancer patients who are supplemented with L-Carnitine experienced less fatigue and a better mood.
Type 2 Diabetes. Clinical trials suggest that supplementation with L-Carnitine help improve insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.
Peripheral Vascular Disease. PVD is a blood circulation disorder that results from the build-up of fatty material inside the blood vessels. Research has it that L-Carnitine can help reduce the symptoms of PVD.
Hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include nervousness, heart palpitations, tremors, and insomnia. Some studies indicate that L-carnitine may help prevent these symptoms.
Diabetic Neuropathy. This occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the nerves in your arms, leg, and feet, resulting in numbness or pain. While more research is still needed, preliminary studies indicate that L-Carnitine helps induce feeling or reduce pain in the affected nerves.
End-Stage Renal Disease and Hemodialysis. The L-Carnitine balance within the body of people with renal diseases can be affected by various factors. This includes reduced synthesis, reduced food-intake due to poor appetite, and increased elimination of the compound by the kidneys. Patients with end-stage renal disease and at the same time, undergoing hemodialysis become L-Carnitine insufficient. This low carnitine blood vessels and muscle stores may contribute to fatigue, heart disorders, anemia, muscle weakness, and altered blood fat levels. Several studies suggest that high doses of supplemental L-Carnitine can alleviate the said symptoms in patients who are on maintenance hemodialysis.
While there are some positive effects with L-Carnitine supplementation, it also has some negative effects when not taken in moderate amounts::
- abdominal cramps
- sleeping difficulties
- body odor
Are Weight Loss Supplements Safe?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews prescription medicines like antibiotics to ensure maximum safety. The same is true for painkillers and cold medicines. With weight loss supplements, however, FDA doesn’t have the same authority. The government doesn’t regularly test weight loss supplements nor require the companies to share information on the safety of their supplement with the FDA before marketing it. While the companies are mainly responsible for ensuring that weight loss supplements are safe, the FDA doesn’t assess the safety of these products. Bearing this in mind, a weight loss supplement on a store shelf doesn’t necessarily equate to a safe supplement. Just because something is labelled as natural doesn’t mean it is safe. To be on the safe side, buy wisely and choose the brands that your doctor recommends.
You should know by now that losing weight goes hand in hand with burning fat. While L-Carnitine helps burn fat effectively, we recommend you combine it with exercise. Do not worry about muscle fatigue since L-Carnitine improves exercise capacity in people.
If you’re serious about losing weight, you should have a comprehensive training program that maximizes fat loss. Even if L-Carnitine is a proven and tested fat burner, you won’t be able to melt vast amounts of fat off unless you pair it with exercise. Also, after successful weight loss, the best way to maintain the weight is through exercise.