L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, or LCLT, the form used mostly in performance and fitness research thanks to its more rapid absorption rate. Carnitine in general is a binding agent of long-chain fatty acids, transporting them into the mitochondria to metabolize for fuel.
Although our body can produce its own carnitine, dietary carnitine consumption has shown to increase carnitine concentration in the body. You would think that it will be smart to supplement carnitine to maximize concentration, thus maximize its benefits.
But what does the actual research show?
Research on power output shows very little improvement with carnitine supplementation. One research group noted some acute improvements in peak and mean power output. However, the same research group conducted a longer 28-day study and actually found power output decreased.
Therefore it, in general, is proven to improve recovery.
Carnitine’s effect on nitric oxide can improve biomarkers that reduces tissue damage. Supplementation does seem to enhance these responses. The one factor which you assume would certainly improve based on carnitine’s role in mitochondrial fatty acid transport is fat loss.
But ultimately, supplementation yielded no benefit. It seems that whatever amount of carnitine your body can produce already is sufficient in maximizing its benefits.
Providing the body with MORE doesn’t bring about MORE benefits.
Carnitine supplements can still be beneficial, but only in populations that might suffer from carnitine deficiencies, particularly those on a vegan or vegetarian diet, those on an extreme calorie deficit, or the elderly.
For everyone else though, granted you eat enough protein, carnitine supplementation gets a certified “SKIP” in our book.