Increase Energy / Lose Weight / Improve Sports

Carnitine, also referred to as L-Carnitine, is an amino acid that helps break down fats in the body for the generation of energy. While carnitine occurs naturally in the body, being produced by the liver and kidneys and stored in the muscles, heart, brain, and sperm, it can also be found in several foods or taken as a nutritional supplement.

The majority of people get all the carnitine they require naturally and from the foods they eat. These foods include red meats, especially lamb, and dairy products, fish, poultry, asparagus, avocados, and peanut butter.

When people are deficient in carnitine they may take supplements to improve their health in a variety of ways. Carnitine is used to treat several conditions and some studies suggest that it may be helpful in treating even more. Some people also take carnitine supplements to assist with energy production and weight loss.

Not all types of physical activity are suitable for everyone. Users take training advice at their own personal risk.


Carnitine Benefits Canitine has been proven beneficial for the treatment of a wide range of disorders ranging from heart conditions, to Alzheimer’s disease, to male infertility. Some conditions have had more research done than others linking carnitine to an improvement or reduction in symp... more

Carnitine Benefits

Canitine has been proven beneficial for the treatment of a wide range of disorders ranging from heart conditions, to Alzheimer’s disease, to male infertility. Some conditions have had more research done than others linking carnitine to an improvement or reduction in symptoms. For some of these conditions there is also conflicting evidence as to whether or not Carnitine helps at all, yet many people swear by its treatment benefits. Conditions that may benefit from Carnitine supplementation include several heart conditions:

  • Angina – Carnitine has been shown to increase the ability of those suffering from angina to exercise without heart pain.
  • Heart Attack – While most studies show no benefit to taking Carnitine during a heart attack, some studies have shown that those who take a carnitine supplement after a heart attack are less likely to suffer from a second heart attack.
  • Heart Failure – Some studies show that Carnitine supplements can improve the ability of those with heart failure to exercise.

Other conditions benefitting from Carnitine:

  • Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) – PVD causes diminished blood flow to the legs. Carnitine can help reduce the symptoms of this disorder and increase the distance that those with PVD can walk.
  • Diabetic Neuropathy (DN) – DN causes damage to the nerves in the arms, legs, and feet due to high blood sugar levels. Some studies suggest that carnitine may reduce the pain caused by DN and improve feeling in these areas. It is possible that carnitine helps nerves to regenerate.
  • Exercise Performance – Carnitine is often taken by weight lifters and athletes who feel they need to increase their performance when exercising. While there are no studies that link the two, many fitness buffs swear by it.
  • Weight Loss – While studies do not show a direct link between carnitine supplements and weight loss, it has been shown to reduce fat mass, increase muscle mass, and reduce fatigue, all leading to weight loss
  • Alzheimer’s Disease – There is mixed evidence to show a connection between carnitine supplements and delayed onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms, relief of depression that often results from the disease, and improved memory.
  • Kidney Disease – Since natural carnitine is produced in the kidneys, kidney disease can often lead to a deficiency in carnitine. In this case, carnitine supplements may be prescribed to counter this deficiency.
  • Male Infertility – Low sperm counts in men have often been linked to low carnitine levels. Carnitine may help increase sperm counts and sperm mobility.
  • Erectile Dysfunction – Some studies show carnitine to improve male sexual function or improve the effectiveness of drugs such as Viagra.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Some people speculate that CFS is caused by a deficiency in nutrients and amino acids, including carnitine. Therefore, it is thought that by supplementing these you might improve symptoms of CFS.
  • Peyronie’s Disease – This male disorder is characterized by a curvature of the penis leading to pain during erections. Studies have shown that carnitine may work better at treating this disorder than the commonly prescribed medication, Tamoxifen.

Some medications can also cause a deficiency in carnitine levels. These include Isotretinoin, used to treat severe acne, and Valporic Acid, used as an anticonvulsant medication. Both of these have been shown to reduce carnitine in the body so those taking one of these drugs may be advised to also take supplemental carnitine.

Carnitine Dosage

Carnitine comes in several forms. The most common and least expensive is simply called L-carnitine or just carnitine. Another form, Acetyl L-carnitine, is often used to treat people with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. Propionyl L-Carnitine is often used with people who have heart conditions or peripheral vascular disease.

The dosage for a carnitine supplement varies depending on your age and your reason for taking carnitine. In children, carnitine should only be used when there is a significant carnitine deficiency in the body and only under the close supervision of a doctor. In adults, the most common dosage is one to three grams per day. This can vary depending on your medical condition. Some common doses for different conditions are listed below.

  • Angina – 1.5-2 grams per day
  • Heart Disease – 600-1200 milligrams, 3 times per day, or 750 milligrams twice a day
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease – 2-4 grams per day
  • Diabetic Neuropathy – 3 grams per day
  • Male Infertility – 1,000 milligrams 3 times per day
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – 500-1,000 milligrams 3-4 times per day
  • Overactive Thyroid – 2-4 grams per day divided into between 2 and 4 doses

Those taking carnitine to increase the benefits of exercise should take two to four grams one hour before exercising for two weeks.

Carnitine Side Effects

Since the main source of carnitine comes from animal proteins, those who are allergic to any food protein should not take carnitine. This includes allergies to eggs, milk, and wheat. Also women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon should not take carnitine.

Other than these precautions, carnitine side effects are very rare. Those taking more than five grams a day may experience diarrhea. Some other very rare side effects include increased appetite, body odor, or a rash. In a small number of cases more severe effects were seen in muscles. If you experience any muscle weakness while taking carnitine you should discontinue its use and call a doctor right away.

Additionally, there are some medications that can negatively interact with carnitine. The first is AZT, a drug used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. Carnitine may protect muscle tissue against AZT, thereby reducing the drug’s effectiveness. The same is true for the drug, Doxorubicin, a chemotherapy treatment. Carnitine may reduce its effectiveness by protecting the body from its effects.

If you think you may benefit from the nutritional supplement Carnitine you should speak to your physician. Some people may have carnitine deficiencies without having any of the disorders discussed here. These include premature infants, the elderly, vegans, and breast feeding women. Your doctor can help you decide if Carnitine supplementation is right for you and inform you if you have any medical conditions that could be worsened by the supplements effects. Use the supplement finder provided to locate the best additions to your diet today!


  • Side Effects
  • Other Names
  • Uses
Body Odor
Increased Appetite
Muscle Weakness
Protein Allergic Reaction
Contraindicated During Pregnancy
3-carboxy-2-hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethyl-1-propanaminium inner salt, (3-carboxy2-hydroxypropyl) trimethylammonium hydroxide inner salt, 3-hydroxy-4-N-trimethylaminobutyrate, B-hydroxy-N-trimethyl aminobutyric acid, Beta-hydroxy-gamma-trimethylammonium butyrate, B(t) Factor, L-Carnitine, Carnitor, D-Carnitine, DL-Carnitine, L-3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylammonium)-butyrate, Levocarnitine, Levocarnitine Fumurate, L-Carnitina, L-Carnitine Fumarate, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, L-Carnitine Tartrate, (R)-(3-carboxy-2-hydroxypropyl) trimethylammonium hydroxide, (R)-3-hydroxy-4-trimethylammonio-butyrate, Vitacarn, Vitamin B(t)
Diabetic Neuropathy
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Performance
Heart Conditions
Kidney Disease
Male Infertility
Muscle Mass
Overactive Thyroid
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peyronie’s Disease
Weight Loss