Do L-Carnitine Supplements Really Help Burn Fat?


Television ads, billboard ads, and especially the supermarket are filled with these supplements with L-carnitine, claiming to help the consumer burn fat faster than ever. These brands even use really fit-looking models to promote their product, making the consumers believe the product’s promises. However, the big question still remains: do these L-carnitine supplements really work?

What is L-Carnitine?

Before the big question can be answered, it is important to understand what L-carnitine is. First and foremost, L-carnitine is an amino-acid synthesized in the liver and kidneys and plays a role in the metabolism of fat. When the body needs energy, it uses fat and carbohydrates as energy sources. What L-carnitine does is it aids in the release of fat in the bloodstream to be used for energy in order for the energy coming from carbohydrates be spared for heavier exertion (Spruytenburg). In the simplest terms, L-carnitine boosts stamina and endurance because it allows more fat to be burned for energy, which is the reason why it is packaged as a fat burner supplement.

L-Carnitine Supplements for Weight Loss?

Now that the basic information of L-carnitine is laid out, what does research say about it being used as a supplement? Quite frankly, there has been no scientific evidence that L-Carnitine supplementation improves exercise performance and weight loss (“Carnitine [L-carnitine]”). The only use of carnitine supplements is to treat carnitine deficiency. As Krabbe stated, L-carnitine is important in treating carnitine deficiency but unnecessary once it is already corrected.

In fact, healthy individuals exceed the daily recommended amount of L-carnitine because it can be easily obtained from eating meat and dairy products. Furthermore, a study done by M.H. Williams stated that L-carnitine is not effective in aiding endurance athletes. Also, in a study done by Vukovich, Costill & Fink, it stated that administration of L-carnitine was not absorbed by the body during submaximal exercise. This affirms what Krabbe said: once the deficiency is corrected, any more administration of L-carnitine will be excreted. Therefore, if a person does not have a condition that results in a deficiency in carnitine, any form of carnitine supplement is useless.

L-Carnitine Supplements are Unnecessary

There is no scientific evidence that proves that L-carnitine helps in improving exercise performance and weight loss that is promised by these products. In a well-balanced diet, an individual even exceeds the daily recommended amount of L-carnitine. Add to a balanced diet proper training and that already suffice in burning fat.

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