Good day, regular blog readers and passers-by! Many overweight people at least once in their lives have thought about losing weight and how to do it with minimal effort using fat burning agents.
Get instructions for use of L-carnitine (L-carnitine), whether it is a fat burner, how to take for weight loss, which is better to choose: liquid, in capsules or powder.
If you have questions, you can always ask them in the comments to the article, which are at the end of the article.
You will also learn about contraindications and side effects, use in pregnant women and nursing, as well as read my review and it.
And at the end of the article you will find information about the most recent studies of this substance, which, to put it mildly, I was not very pleased.
What is and what is L-carnitine
Carnitine or L-Carnitine, or L Carnitine, or Levocarnitine is widely used as a sports nutrition for the purpose of burning fat. But this is not the only indication for carnitine. It is also called vitamin B11 (Bt), but it is not a vitamin.
In the article Effective diet pills effective? I talked about various pills that allegedly act without dieting and physical activity. Carnitine does not apply to them and I will tell you further why.
I will tell briefly about this substance. Carnitine is a vitamin-like substance belonging to group B vitamins, which, unlike vitamins, is synthesized in the human body. There are 2 forms of this substance: L-carnitine and D-carnitine. In order to lose weight using L-carnitine, D-carnitine is dangerous and harmful to the body, because it is the complete opposite. Therefore, it will be about left-carnitine.
L-carnitine is synthesized in the liver and kidneys from two essential amino acids (methionine and lysine), and then spreads to other organs. In the human body is constantly present in the muscles and liver. The mechanism of action of this substance is based on the utilization of fatty acids, that is, transfers fats into the cell, where they are burned in the mitochondria (“blast furnaces” of the cell), with the release of energy.
But mostly carnitine enters the body with food, mainly with meat and dairy products, in plants it contains a small amount. When there is a deficiency in the intake of this substance, a compensatory mechanism of synthesis in the liver and kidneys is activated. But this process depends on many other substances, such as:
- Vitamins: C, B3, B6, B9
- Minerals: iron
- Amino Acids: Lysine and Methionine
I think that is why some vegetarians can gain weight, they simply lack carnitine and fatty acids are not oxidized in the cells, but deposited in fat depots. In this case, they need to introduce separate preparations based on L-carnitine, it may be sports nutrition, and various dietary supplements (about them later).
The benefits and harm of el-carnitine
In addition to the effect on lipid metabolism, el-carnitine has other properties and effects. Now I will list the main ones, and then I will tell about each in more detail:
- participates in the process of burning fat in the muscle cell
- affects mental alertness
- light anabolic effect
- promotes detoxification
- effects on the cardiovascular system
L-carnitine is a fat burner
The main function of left carnitine is fat burning. Please note that I wrote in quotes. This means that I want to show that l-carnitine is not exactly a fat burner, that is, it only helps in the mechanism of fat burning.
But not only carnitine participates in the process of fatty acid utilization in mitochondria. It only contributes to the passage of fatty acids into the muscle cell, but fat must reach the mitochondria and pass through its double membrane. This is where a second substance is needed that works with L-carnitine in tandem – coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinol. Sometimes lipoic acid is also added to the scheme.
To fat burning did not stop, but continued to need an adequate concentration of this substance, the concentration of which decreases with age. Therefore, I recommend taking them together or simultaneously.
But I must warn you that in a relatively calm state, this carnitine has almost no effect. The best effect is obtained when its reception coincides with physical loads. I told you that you need to somehow expel fatty acids from the fat cell, and this can be done only with the help of physical exertion.
The result is such a picture. Fatty acids are brought to the muscle cell on the trolley, and carnitine, as a driver, actively throws them into the firebox (muscle cell or cell of any other organ) of an armored train. Acids burn, and the result is the energy that goes to the buildup of the train (muscle, heart, brain).
Effect on mental activity
Increasing mental and physical energy is also a pleasant effect of left carnitine. Scientists in the study of this substance observed that when using 2 g of carnitine per day for 6 months, improve mental and physical activity. Increased endurance to any physical and mental stress.
By consuming carnitine before physical exertion, you can achieve increased stamina, which will enable you to work more intensively, and this in turn will effectively burn even more fatty acids.
It has a neurotrophic effect and restores the structure of the nervous tissue.
The anabolic effect of this substance is also a big plus in sports and fitness. It is noticed that L-carnitine is able to increase muscle mass, of course, not as powerful as testosterone, growth hormone, insulin and other similar drugs do. But in the process of the so-called drying in athletes, it will not allow the muscle mass to melt, and only the fat reserve will leave, that is, the subcutaneous fat goes away, and the muscles remain in the same volume.
The detoxification effect is that L-carnitine supports the work of the liver and contributes to the neutralization of organic acids and xenobiotics in it, and also helps the work of various enzymes. In addition, levocarnitine is an antidote for valproic acid poisoning.
Effect on the cardiovascular system
Impact on the cardiovascular system also does not go unnoticed. This effect is due to the reduction of cholesterol, which prevents the progression of atherosclerosis and the development of terrible diseases such as myocardial infarction and brain stroke.
But now this effect is disputed, read on and you will understand why. In addition, carnitine improves the metabolism of the heart muscle, which is known to feed on 70% fatty acids. Therefore, in developed countries, carnitine is widely used in schemes and courses of treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to all these effects, levocarnitine has an antioxidant, neuroprotective effect, improves immunity and resistance to stress, prevents the development of osteoporosis.
In some guidelines, L-carnitine is recommended as an additional treatment for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, thyrotoxicosis, anorexia, this substance is also prescribed for children from infancy, especially premature and weakened, with impaired cardiac conduction, with poor growth gain and mass.
What foods contain L-carnitine
So, you have already learned about the benefits and the possible dangers of this substance. Perhaps you have already made a decision to start actively consuming it, so it remains to choose in what form you wish to do. Where does this “miracle substance” contain?
L-carnitine in large quantities is found in red meat: beef, lamb, pork, deer, salmon, wild boar, etc. Besides, it is also found in other foods. For your convenience, I post the comparison table, where the number of carnitine per 100 g of products is indicated. But it is necessary to take into account the fact that part of carnitine is lost during heat treatment.
Getting carnitine with food is good, but how much meat do you need to eat in order to get an adequate dose for sports? By the way, I forgot to say that in everyday life the daily need for this substance is about 300 mg, and during sports, the dose increases many times and reaches 2000 mg per day or more. Therefore, it is recommended to use L-carnitine in addition in the form of sports nutrition or dietary supplements.
Which L-carnitine is more effective in losing weight?
El-carnitine is available in several types of chemical compounds. What are the bottom properties and what is the difference between them? Let’s try to figure it out. I will be very grateful if, if you find an inaccuracy in the text, you will direct me along the right path and correct it.
Thus, the biological substance is represented on the market by the following compounds:
- L-carnitine tartrate
- L-carnitine fumarate
- Acetyl L-carnitine
- Propionyl L-carnitine
- Pure L-Carnitine (Base or Free Form Base)
Today it is the most biologically active form and with high bioavailability, despite the fact that later acetylcarnitine appeared and tried to force it out.
Getting into the digestive tract, it is easily split into pure carnitine and tartaric acid. They are digested individually. That it is most often recommended to help with weight loss.
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This compound is far behind bioavailability. It is obtained by combining fumaric acid and pure left carnitine. This salt has a lower lipotropic effect, but the advantage of the substance is the influence on the work of the heart and blood vessels.
Acetylcarnitine is invented relatively recently. An acetyl group is attached to the usual carnitine. Thus, manufacturers thought to improve bioavailability and digestibility. But unfortunately this did not happen – this is a minus. But this compound has an excellent ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier to the brain – this is a plus.
As a result, acetyl L-carnitine has a pronounced effect of stimulating the metabolic processes of the brain, improving memory, thinking and preventing mental age-related disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The best representatives of this carnitine group are:
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This carnitine ester, which is most often produced in connection with the amino acid glycine. It turns out a complex – Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine (GPLK). The main function, in addition to participation in lipid metabolism, is to enhance the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO). This is a very important substance that is produced in the cells of blood vessels and has a vasodilating effect.
It is very important for people with cardiovascular pathology, suffering from coronary heart disease, heart failure, intermittent claudication, erectile dysfunction, etc. Also, this substance has shown its antioxidant properties, enhances testosterone synthesis and affects sperm quality, reduces the level of lactic acid after exercise and also increases stamina.
Together with acetyl L-carnitine, doctors use it in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.
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100% pure L-carnitine
Athletes call this carnitine base or classic carnitine. Bioavailability is not inferior to carnitine tartrate. You can see this in the picture below.
Despite this, pure carnitine is slightly cheaper. You can compare prices and choose which one you like best.
I offer you these options:
Instructions for carnitine chloride
What is this connection? Long ago, about 50 years ago, for the first time a new substance was obtained – carnitine and the very first form was chloride. To date, it has lost its former popularity. The composition of this compound is not only the L-isomer of carnitine, but also its D-form.
Thus, this DL-carnitine chloride has been used successfully in the treatment of neurological diseases. However, in the sport did not find its use, but all because of its D-isomer in the composition.
This substance is still produced exclusively for therapeutic purposes in neurology. Form release – 10% solutions for intravenous and intramuscular injection of 5 ml.
Instructions for L-carnitine: how to take slimming
I recommend buying sports food in specialized stores or from serious companies producing dietary supplements. Doses of 500 to 3000 mg of carnitine per day are considered optimal, the dose is usually divided into 2-3 doses. Increasing the dose of more than 3000 mg does not make sense because it does not increase its effectiveness. As a rule, they recommend taking the drug 30 minutes before the workout and immediately after.
There is no specific course of administration, such a regimen implies a long reception, until you achieve the desired result and lose weight.
Can I drink el-carnitine without workouts?
The main condition for supplementing is physical activity and sport. You will send your money straight to the toilet if you start drinking it without training. Remember its main action, if you need to go back and re-read again.
After taking levarnitina some feel a surge of strength, conduct training with even greater performance. The negative point is the increase in appetite, which is difficult to curb. But not all this is observed.
Dietary Supplement Forms
Today there are the following forms of carnitine release:
- tablets and capsules
- drinking ampoules
- liquid dilution powder
- liquid concentrate
- ready drinks with carnitine
If we compare the effectiveness of a substance, then there is no difference in what form to buy, if the manufacturer is widely known and has long been on the market of sports nutrition. It all comes down to the convenience of use, as you like.
Usually, liquid forms contain not only the main carnitine, but also all sorts of vitamins, minerals or other beneficial substances. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what is best for you, but until you try it you will not know. Many people prefer 100% pure carnitine with no additives or impurities.
L-carnitine which company is better
Today, all carnitine is synthesized. Large factories produce this substance, and then sell it to various firms producing jars with dietary supplements. There are many such factories in the world, among which are China, India, etc. To choose the best dietary supplement, you need not by name or end-company, but by the original company that supplies raw materials.
Worldwide, the best suppliers of L-carnitine are:
- Italian company Sigma-Tau (name of raw material – Biosint)
- Swiss firm Lonza (the name of the raw material is Carnipure)
All the supplements that I recommended above contain high-quality carnitine and you can safely order them. A quality product will never be cheap. Cheaper analogues will never work the way pure L-carnitine does. Look on the packaging for brand names to indicate the source of raw materials. Below in the picture you see my carnitine from Now Foods and the brand name Carnipure
Side effects and contraindications of L-carnitine
Since the discovery of left carnitine, many studies have been carried out, and in some the dose was deliberately overestimated hundreds of times, but the harm from the application was not identified. Carnitine does not accumulate in the body, the excess is actively excreted from the body with urine and feces. His safety is confirmed by the fact that it is used in pediatrics for the treatment of premature babies, as I mentioned above.
As for the side effects, they are so unlikely and insignificant that the benefits of carnitine far outweigh its disadvantages. So, since a lot of energy is released during the reception of L-carnitine, it is possible that a problem with falling asleep may develop. To avoid this, it is recommended to take in the morning, especially since at this time its action is most effective.
Very rarely, individual intolerance is observed in the form of nausea, headache, or impaired stool. In this case, the abolition of the drug is required and the state of health improves again.
This substance does not interact with drugs and other fat burners or sports nutrition, so it can be used in any combination. Additional additives may cause allergies.
As you can see, L-carnitine is a very harmless drug, with a minimum of side effects, and therefore it can theoretically be used in any person.
Latest data from left carnitine research
How do you like carnitine? All that was written above, you can read on other sites of sports subjects. And now I will tell you something contrary to the general opinion. It seems that this is an ideal preparation, but let me bring a small spoon of tar into this beautiful, odorous barrel of honey. When I was preparing to write this article, I came across an article about the latest study, which dates from April 2013.
The study was conducted in the United States, at the Cleveland Hospital. The study leader is Dr. Stephen Sintra. The fact is that scientists have found that carnitine is not as harmless as it is represented. The aim of the study was to establish safety in terms of effects on the cardiovascular system, and more specifically on atherogenesis or the development of atherosclerosis. The study involved experimental mice, not real people.
So, they found that carnitine, no matter how caught in the body: with food or in the form of additives, contributes to the development and progression of atherosclerosis, but …. But not the substance itself causes changes in the cells of the coronary and cerebral vessels. In fact, the culprits are some species of bacteria that live peacefully in the human intestine.
They digest L-carnitine to form the active metabolite, Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO is a potent toxin that destroys the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, as occurs when the vascular endothelium dysfunctions. It was further proposed a solution, which is so similar to Americans, to prescribe antibiotics that would solve the problem with bacteria, but for now this issue is being discussed and requires new research.
The study also involved vegetarians who do not eat meat, but they were given carnitine as an additive to food. It turned out that the concentration of TMAO in them is much lower, probably due to the fact that, due to the peculiarities of their diet, they do not have the same bacteria as in omnivorous people.
Thus, it turns out that the negative effect of carnitine is related to the number of certain types of bacteria. If this is so bad, then any negative properties can be found in many foods: gluten causes celiac disease, fiber – bloating, the development of inflammatory bowel disease and cancer, milk – allergies and diabetes in children. So then what to do, what to eat?
When Dr. Stephen Sintra was asked about his diet, he replied: “I will also continue taking L-thyroxine 400 mg per day and acetyl-L-carnitine 1000 mg per day. Also, 2-3 times a week, I will enjoy a portion of delicious beef or lamb steak. ”
The whole study was aimed at finding out the effect of chronic carnitine use, when a person has eaten a lot of red meat for years or drinks supplements containing L-carnitine. In my article I touched upon the topic of not general healing or treatment of any diseases, but the use of carnitine for weight loss and sports, that is, when the drug is taken briefly.
Believe atherosclerotic plaques are not formed in one day, or even in a year, so there should not be any worsening when taking short courses. Moreover, TMAO is formed only when carnitine is present in the body, during its absence, the vessels have nothing to fear, at least carnitine :).
In the article I told and showed all the pros and cons of the use of left carnitine, and the decision to start using it lies entirely with you. I will only express my opinion if you do not mind. I am using two hands for using short courses in a joint exercise.
Review losing doctor about carnitine
Now I want to share my own experience. A couple of weeks ago I bought liquid L-carnitine in separate bottles, you can see it in the photo. In one bottle 2700 mg of carnitine. The instructions say that take 1/3 every day in the morning, but I accept differently. And take 1/2 bottle 30-60 minutes before a workout.
I practically don’t feel sensations, unless the endurance has increased and the sleepiness that tormented me after dinner has disappeared. I also noticed such a pleasant effect – the muscles practically do not hurt after training the next day, although earlier with an increase in weights, everything was very sore. It seems that the body is very quickly recovering and gaining new energy. I was looking for a description of this effect and found that carnitine really reduces pain by improving blood circulation and better removal of toxins from tired muscles. I really like this effect.
Pleasant to taste, with orange flavor, gives vitamin C (there is in the composition). For the rest, I can not say. Made measurements: weight 57 kg, waist volume 74 cm, hips volume 94 cm, leg volume in the thigh 54 cm. I am engaged in 3 power and 2 aerobic exercises a week. The goal is to remove fat from the abdomen and thighs, weigh about 54-55 kg, and decrease in volumes by at least 4 cm. I will make the following measurements after 1 month of consumption.
The result in 4 weeks. Lost a bit of weight. Has become 55.8 kg. The waist girth was 71 cm, the hips girth 93 cm, the volume of the leg in the hip remained the same – 54 cm. In the photos above you can see it. Let me remind you that at the same time I kept to a diet without bread (replaced with natural breads) and pasta, and also I had regular trainings (3 strength exercises per week, 1-2 aerobic exercises per week). I think that this month is a good result, at least it is some kind of.
Now I want to continue taking carnitine before workouts, as well as review the presence or absence of important vitamins and minerals in my diet, add protein and olive oil.
And on this I have everything. Remember one important thing about carnitine, if you drink for weight loss, without proper nutrition (without overeating, fasting or low-carb diets) and adequate physical activity, it almost does not reduce weight, otherwise you will get the effect. You also need to remember that the reception should be together with coenzyme Q10. Tell us about your experience with carnitine, we will all be very interesting and informative.
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With warmth and care, endocrinologist Dilyara Lebedeva