Supplement to burn fat, build muscle and grow hair
Carnitine is a food supplement that entered the fitness world as a “fat-burner.” However, not many could get great results from it as researches on how to use it for best results were in nascent stage. Now, several studies have confirmed how to take carnitine and several forms of it to help the body burn fat, increase lean muscle, boost brain functioning, immune system and grow hair on the head!!!
What is it?
Carnitine, though considered by many as an amino acid, is actually an amino acid-like/vitamin-like supplement.
Carnitine can be produced by the liver from amino acids lysine and methionine, with vitamin C and B vitamins playing a vital role in the process.
What it does?
1. Carnitine helps to transport fat into the mitochondria of the cells, where fat is burned for energy. This happens only if a person cuts back his calories and trains hard.
If the body does not have adequate amount of carnitine, fat burning process may not be efficient.
2. Carnitine helps the muscle to store glycogen. This helps a person to train hard and keep his muscles full.
3. Carnitine helps to reduce lactic acid levels in the muscles that increase following intense workouts. This quickens recovery and keeps a person fresh.
4. Carnitine can enhance blood flow, which brings more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the muscle fibres. This is because of its capacity to enhance activity of a key enzyme involved in nitric oxide (NO) production. This facilitates a good pump, recovery and better growth.
5. Research from University of Connecticut (Storrs) has found carnitine’s capacity to enhance testosterone receptors inside muscle cells. This helps more testosterone to bind to the receptors, which means better growth. Studies also show carnitine’s ability to increase Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) levels, which enhances growth.
6. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), is a form of carnitine found throughout the central nervous system. It helps to produce energy and neurotransmitter acetyl-l-choline. ALC helps to fight ageing besides improving memory and boosting brain function.
7. Studies from University of Hamburg (Germany) have proved that topical carnitine may help to grow hair. Oral supplementation may also help, they add.
Good and bad types
There are two types of carnitine, L-carnitine and D-carnitine. The latter has negative effects on the body and has been banned.
There are forms of carnitine such as L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, L-carnitine-L-tartarate, and propionyl-L-carnitine.
L-carnitine is the basic form and used in several studies, which offers almost all the above-mentioned benefits. ALC is absorbed faster by the blood and seems to have an upper hand in improving brain functioning and immune system.
L-carnitine-L-tartarate is carnitine and tartaric acid. This has antioxidative properties and increases blood flow to the muscles. Propionyl-L-carnitine enhances NO levels.
Joe Weider’s FLEX magazine says a person can experiment with all forms and see which works best for him. However, carnitine should not be taken on an empty stomach. Like creatine, it has to be taken with some for of carbohydrates to improve its effectiveness.
When and how to take?
Carnitine can be taken with breakfast, pre-workout and post-workout shake and at bed time. Each serving can be 1 to 3 gm.
At bed time, do not take more carbs as it will make you fat. Instead, take ALC or propionyl-L-carnitine. FLEX magazine says that if you take L-carnitine or L-carninite-L-tartarate, combine it with an insulin mimicker such as 100 to 250 mg of Cinnulin-PF, 330 to 500 mg of alpha lipoic acid or 250 to 500 mg of Gymnema syllvestre.
I am not sure if these supplements are available in India as yet. Until they arrive, you can benefit by taking L-carnitine during the other parts of the day.
_ C. Lakshmi Kumar