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(Levocarnitine, L-carnitine, Carnitor)

What is it?

Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative your body must have to metabolize energy and for the proper use of fats.

Does it occur naturally in the body?


What are the claims?

Carnitine and L-carnitine are marketed as a treatment for dementia and congestive heart failure, to alleviate depression and as a natural fat burner.

Companies marketing it for bodybuilders claim that carnitine acts as a "fat burner" by optimizing fat oxidation and reducing its availability for storage.

Does it work?


There are surprisingly few studies to test the effectiveness of carnitine, but one of the most thorough performed (in part) by Marcelo Saldanha Aoki at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences came to this conclusion:

"Our results indicate that carnitine feeding, per se, failed to promote fat mass loss...Our data strongly suggest that endurance training, rather than carnitine content, is the major factor involved in fat mass loss."

(The study is from the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2004.)

What are the dangers?

Nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea, body odor or muscle weakness. Large doses of carnitine taken by mouth for long periods may result in serious side effects, specifically seizures.

The Bottom Line

As of the date this article is posted, we have not been able to find any studies showing a benefit for bodybuilders or people trying to lose fat. In addition, there are potentially serious side effects.

Unless prescribed by a doctor for a medical condition, we cannot recommend the supplement carnitine.

Links for More Info

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Logo and Link
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products - Extensive Information from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health - Overviews on Herbal Treatments and Supplements

National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements

Operation Supplement Safety
Operation Supplement Safety

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Logo and Link
United States Department of Agriculture

WebMD Logo and Link
WebMD - Helping you make better decisions for life.

We at WeBeFit DO NOT recommend ANY supplements to ANY of our clients. ONLY a licensed Nutritionist or Medical Doctor can make those recommendations based on your individual needs.

This is being provided for INFORMATIONAL and EDUCATIONAL purposes only.

CAUTION:These supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety, effectiveness or purity. There may be unknown risks associated with taking any supplements. There are no regulated manufacturing standards for companies that make supplements. There have been instances where herbal or health supplements have been sold that were contaminated with toxic substances. If you should choose to purchase herbal or health supplements, please only purchase them from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

If you should decide to use ANY supplement, ALWAYS consult your doctor or Nutritionist first.