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Some athletes say that L-carnitine improves athletic performance.
This is a good supplement to take if you exercise, particularly if you participate in endurance activities, such as running. It helps with transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria, so L-carnitine may make exercise more productive, particularly among obese people.
L-carnitine, which is normally manufactured by the human body, has been popular as a potential ergogenic aid (i.e., having the ability to increase work capacity), because of its role in the conversion of fat to energy.1 However, while some studies have found that L-carnitine improves certain measures of muscle physiology, research on the effects of 2 to 4 grams of carnitine per day on performance have produced inconsistent results.2 L-carnitine may be effective in certain intense exercise activities leading to exhaustion,3 but recent studies have reported that L-carnitine supplementation does not benefit non-exhaustive or even marathon-level endurance exercise,4, 5 anaerobic performance,6 or lean body mass in weight lifters.7
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.