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When to Take L-Carnitine

Article Preface

  • 500-2000g L-Carnitine per day is an ideal dose
  • For the best absorption, and enhancing effects, pair L-carnitine with at least 60g of carbs
  • Take it before a workout to aid energy levels and promote fat loss
  • Take L-Carnite in the morning, in a fasted state & prior to working out to super-charge fat loss goals
  • L-carnitine may be taken post-workout to support recovery
  • Taking L-carnitine before sleep may support fat-burning, rest and recovery
  • Take L-carnitine for at least six months for the best results

Benefits of L-Carnitine

Carnitine is an all-natural amino acid that is involved in energy production, and it is one of the best-known and most widely used supplements. Our bodies are able to produce their own supply of L-carnitine, and it is also found in meat and poultry. L-Carnitine has been the subject of much scientific research which has confirmed the benefits of supplementation. L-Carnitine is a supplement with a number of different uses, and while you'll find it in a wide variety of supplements, it is probably best known for its properties as a fat burner.

Carnitine plays a vital role in transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cell where they are burnt for energy, and research has shown that more carnitine in the muscle results in body fat being used as an energy source during exercise.

Using a greater proportion of fat for energy during exercise means the body is using less glycogen, meaning in turn that muscles can work for longer without becoming exhausted. L-carnitine also improves endurance by acting as a cellular buffer, neutralising the metabolic by-products of exercise which contribute to muscle fatigue like lactic acid.

Carnitine has also been praised for its ability to enhance recovery, in part, due to its ability to stimulate the body's response to insulin which replenishes cellular glycogen. It has also been shown to enhance muscle repair and the cellular remodelling that accompanies new muscle tissue. Research has also indicated that L-carnitine plays a role in boosting the number of testosterone receptors, enhancing nitric oxide production, and may facilitate the action of the anabolic hormone IGF-1.

How to take L-Carnitine

A usual carnitine dose is between 500mg and 2g per day, and this is sufficient to aid fat burning, promote endurance, enhance recovery and benefit from the ergogenic effects of this amino acid. It may be taken in it form of powder or capsule and drunk with water.

L-Carnitine & Carbohydrates

Uptake is a very important consideration with carnitine, and a lot of research has shown that it is best absorbed when it is taken together with a large dose of carbs, 60-80g. Carbohydrates in general stimulate the release of insulin, which can help to increase the uptake of amino acids, including L-carnitine, into the muscle cells. This in turn may enhance Lcarnitines benefits.

How Long to Take L-Carnitine

Oral carnitine has been shown to increase the levels of muscle carnitine, but some studies have shown that meaningful increases can take up to six months to occur.

People commencing L-carnitine supplementation should commit to at least six months of use and evaluate effectiveness after this time.

Should I Cycle L-Carnitine

It is not necessary to cycle carnitine. There is no scientific evidence that suggests cycling L-carnitine is necessary. However, some people do choose to cycle L-carnitine as a way to maximize what they believe is its effectiveness, there is however little science to support this theory. Carnitine comes as a powder that mixes easily into most beverages, or as an easily swallowed capsule.

Best time to take L-Carnitine

The best time to take L-carnitine can depend on the individual and their specific goals. Here are a few general guidelines for when to take L-carnitine:

  • Before exercise: Taking L-carnitine before exercise can help to increase energy levels, endurance, and fat burning during a workout.
  • After Exercise: Some users take L-Carnitine afterwards to enhance their recovery.
  • A good compromise is to split the desired dose into two and take half before and a half after training, making sure to pair it with a source of carbohydrates. Because L-carnitine accumulates in muscle, it is fine to take at any time of day, and because of the carbohydrate requirement for absorption, it is best taken with a main meal.
  • In the morning fasted: Some people like to take L-carnitine in the morning, in a fasted state, then combine this with exercise. Users who do this believe the combination of L-carnitine supplementation, being fasted and working out accelerates fat loss goals.
  • With meals: L-carnitine can be taken with a meal to aid in its absorption. In particular, taking L-Carnitine with carbohydrates as noted earlier in this article may be the most beneficial.
  • Before bedtime: Taking L-carnitine before bedtime can help to support fat burning and muscle recovery during sleep. Many users we have seen over the years use this strategy.

In Conclusion

L-Carnitine is a versatile supplement with numerous benefits for energy production, fat burning, endurance, recovery, & muscle growth. To maximize its effectiveness, it is recommended to take L-Carnitine in a dose of 500mg to 2g per day, preferably in the form of powder or capsules mixed with water. Pairing L-Carnitine with a carbohydrate-rich meal or consuming it before a workout can enhance its absorption & promote energy levels & fat loss.

Long-term supplementation for at least six months is advised to experience the full benefits of L-Carnitine. While there is no scientific evidence supporting the need for cycling L-Carnitine, some individuals choose to do so. The best time to take L-Carnitine varies based on personal goals, but options include before exercise, after exercise, in the morning while fasting, with meals, or before bedtime.

Ultimately, understanding individual preferences and experimenting with different timings may help optimize the use of L-Carnitine for specific fitness goals.

References
  • Villani RG, Gannon J, Self M, Rich PA. L-Carnitine supplementation combined with aerobic training does not promote weight loss in moderately obese women. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Sep;10(3):199-207. PMID: 10997957.
  • Spiering BA, Kraemer WJ, Vingren JL, Hatfield DL, Fragala MS, Ho JY, Maresh CM, Anderson JM, Volek JS. Responses of criterion variables to different supplemental doses of L-carnitine L-tartrate. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Feb;21(1):259-64. PMID: 17313287.
  • Pooyandjoo M, Nouhi M, Shab-Bidar S, Djafarian K, Olyaeemanesh A. The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2016 Oct;17(10):970-976. PMID: 27456757.
  • Fielding R, Riede L, Lugo JP, Bellamine A. l-Carnitine Supplementation in Recovery after Exercise. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 13;10(3):349. PMID: 29534031; PMCID: PMC5872767.
  • Malaguarnera M. Carnitine derivatives: clinical usefulness. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2012 Mar;28(2):166-76. PMID: 22157080.
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