Carnitine (or L-Carnitine) is not technically an amino acid. This chemical compound is considered a dipeptide as it is derived from the amino acids Lysine and Methionine, making it conditionally essential for the body. While it is found in common foods such as meat and fish, the popularity for this supplement is increasing, especially amongst those aiming to loose fat and preserve lean muscle. So what exactly makes it so great?
In every cell of our bodies there are little powerhouses named Mitochondria. Mitochondria are extremely important in energy management and basically act as a ‘factory’ to enable energy production, to help us not only perform strenuous exercise, but also go about our day to day activities.
Carnitine works by transporting long chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides, into the mitochondria of our cells where it is then oxidised to be used as energy. This means that the body will be provided with fats to use as an energy source, therefore utilising those much unwanted fat deposits. It doesn’t stop there, it has also been found to reduce the amount of fat laid down and deposited.
If you are cutting or trying to lose weight this is great news! If you are bulking, Carnitine can still work for you by reducing fat storage and enabling fat breakdown whilst on a muscle gaining plan.
If that wasn’t enough Carnitine may have many other positive effects;
- Carnitine has been said to increase energy and therefore exercise performance. It also has been found to reduce exercise induced pain and weakness due to its effects on reducing in the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.
- Carnitine can increase blood flow to the muscles to transport much needed nutrients and hormones. This is due to the boost in nitric oxide.
- Carnitine may increase testosterone receptors in the muscles, allowing more testosterone to bind to the receptors, increasing muscle growth and therefore strength.
- It has been thought that Carnitine also has a positive effect upon insulin, by helping to reduce blood sugar spikes.
- Some individuals have noticed appetite reducing effects from the supplement and this therefore may further enhance weight loss.
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