Just what is L-Carnitine and how can it help your Fat Loss?

In the 1990’s L-Carnitine was purported to be the wonder supplement for fat loss. You would find ads in fitness and mainly triathlon magazines sold on its ability to optimally burn body fat and improve fat metabolism.  

So just what is L-Carnitine and can it help you?


The triathlon magazines were correct L-Carnitine is a coenzyme that is responsible for long-chain fat metabolism (beta oxidation).

Uniquely L-Carnitine transports free fatty acids into the muscle cell’s Mitochondria, better known as the cells power supply.

However this is where the magazine reviews tended to break down or overlook some key facts on the mechanisms of fat burning.

Studies show that L-Carnitine works only when the correct prescribed amount is administered and at the right times. Our body will struggle to absorb too low and often too acute amounts e.g. too much taken too soon.

Carnitine also decreases as we age and can lead to deficiencies if we:

Eat a poor diet and don’t regularly exercise.

So L-Carnitine has anti-ageing properties too.

L-Carnitine provides a primary source of energy for the muscles that will allow you to workout harder, recover faster, stimulate you metabolism and help burn much more body fat.

If you purchase L-Carnitine, not only will you find it expensive but also the recommended dosages also tend to be too low to offer any significant fat burning or utilisation benefits.  I too have fallen into this trap (as have many triathletes searching for the optimum fat burning supplement!) we’ve parted with a lot of cash for minimum benefits.

So what do we need to do in order to maximise the benefits of L-Carnitine?

And YES it does have benefits when taken correctly!

Now we already know that the dosages are usually too small (or way too large).

Well many forms come in a pill or powder that is readily broken down in the stomach. But secondly, and this is where triathletes/athletes will find the main problem L-Carnitine is very ineffective when taken as part of a high starchy carbohydrate diet.

So how do we improve the body’s absorption rate and what dosage should be recommended?

In order to improve absorption try liquid L-Carnitine which starts to react as soon as it reaches the enzymes in your mouth.

Secondly L-Carnitine effectiveness is reduced (similar to L-Glutamine) when exposed to higher GI foods that stimulate the secretion of insulin. You have to be super-careful with the carbohydrates you consume as even the most moderate forms can impede its optimum function.

I would recommend following a nutrition plan like John Benson’s Every Other Day Diet which offers a mix of ‘lower’ simple and starchy carbohydrate (but still includes high carbohydrates in fibrous forms such as fresh vegetables) days cycled with periods when you can eat whatever you like and still burn more body fat.

So be aware that a mix of a low carbohydrate diet, the correct dosage of L-Carnitine and optimum High Intensity Interval Training can create fantastic results in a short space of time.

The key is to build you dosage as you begin to feel and look better, perhaps start with 1gram building eventually to 4 or 5 grams per dose.

If you want to include a supplement in your fat loss diet, then think about L-Carnitine as an option. Remember you now know all the secrets to being successful with it. So when taken correctly it is one of the most effective fat burners on the market today.