Issue #163


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model Meghan Cassidy

Video Interview with Amateur Figure Meghan Cassidy

Meghan Cassidy, Jessica Vetter, Krystia Petrossie, Michelle Miller & Olga Karavaeva

Can L-Carnitine Help You Lose Weight and Maintain Your Lean Mass?
by Tina Jo Orban

Video Interview with Amateur Figure Marisol Salgado


Can L-Carnitine Help You Lose Weight and Maintain Your Lean Mass?
By Toni Orban ACE and ISSA CFT, CMT.

I get asked a lot of dietary questions: However, I am not a dietician. That said, I’m sure when people see my muscular development and my less than 10% bodyfat year-round they often wonder; what is your secret. I attribute most of my success to consistency in resistance weight training. I have been ‘lifting’ over thirty years. I do have a very healthful and ‘clean diet’.  Additionally, I eat small frequent meals and meet my protein requirements. I drink plenty of water. Of course, genetics has a lot to do with being lean and muscular. Some individual responsiveness to resistance weight training is fantastic, while others are slow gainers.  Are there supplements that aid in weight loss and muscle gain? A billion-dollar supplement industry would suggest so! I would like to put one particular “supplement” in the spot light here, as I am asked about it frequently. People ask “Do you take any supplements? Recently, I was asked about L-carnitine (again). And I had to think back to the claims of what this supplement is purported to do. The CLAIMS:  L-Carnitine helps with WEIGHT LOSS. How? The role L-Carnitine has is that it helps move fatty acids into your cells your mitochondria to be burned for energy. Indeed, many amino acids serve as catalysts or enzymes in our bodies. In fact, that is what L-Carnitine does.
I will keep this article sweet and short and to the point. L-carnitine, what is it? It is an amino acid. You can create L-carnitine out of lysine and methionine. That is our bodies can manufacture some amino acids. So yes, a vegetarian diet can support production of L-carnitine. However, L-carnitine is best derived from your diet and from animal products like: MEAT! There is also research that supports in order for your body to produce sufficient amounts of L-carnitine you need to have vitamin C in your diet. There are also several variations of carnitine: There is G carnitine, aceto-L-carnitine (also called ALCAR) there’s Propionyl-L-carnitine and there is L-carnitine L-tartrate.

I’m not going to get into each of those you can look them up. I will say however that out of all the forms of carnitine research suggest that only the aceto-L-carnitine “ALCAR” [1] proves beneficial and not in the weight loss arena! ALCAR has been demonstrated to help with cognitive functions and diminishing cognitive degeneration. It is used to combat neurodegenerative disease. (See footnote 1).
I am asked does L-carnitine help with weight loss. Well unfortunately the studies are mixed. There has been only one study that had supportive results. And this is most likely why the claims exist. Most of the studies suggest that L-carnitine is not very effective for weight-loss.[2] The idea is L-carnitine helps move fatty acids into your cells’ your mitochondria (as aforementioned) to be burned for energy: That’s what it does, however; metabolism is more complex than just that one effect of metabolism. In multiple studies to test the hypothesis for L-carnitines enhancing weight research participants failed to show results to support the claims of weight loss.
Takeaway, overall it looks as if L-carnitine is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Yet it is needed in metabolic process. It appears to aid in cognitive functions. The best bet for weight loss is increasing your lean mass. By increasing your overall lean-mass you improve your metabolism. That as you increase your metabolism you become a fat burning machine, naturally. Of course, there is the old energy equation too. More calories in then out equals weight gain. And less calories in than burned equals weight loss.  Lean mass is the key. You don’t want to just lose weight. You want to lose fat. It comes back to regular exercise and a healthy diet. Weight training particularly is best to build and maintain lean muscle. Lean mass is critical as we age. Not only for staving off body fat, but for strong bones.  So, we come full circle, resistance weight training, bodybuilding is one of the best ways to maintain low body fat levels without dieting and shelling out your hard-earned money for supplements.  To be sure, there are supplements that work for different things. L-carnitine however appears to fall short of its claims.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11592123 “Enhancement of learning capacity and cholinergic synaptic function by carnitine in aging rats” Pubmed.gov. 2001.


[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10861338  “L-Carnitine supplementation combined with aerobic training does not promote weight loss in moderately obese women.” Gannon & Villani Pubmed.gov. 2000.


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