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What Is L-Carnitine?

What is L-Carnitine?

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L-Carnitine is an important molecule involved in cellular metabolism. Consumption of L-Carnitine has been linked to improved performance in exercise and quicker recovery.

Key takeaways: 

  1. L-carnitine is a molecule used to produce energy.
  2. It is most abundant in red meats, but can also be found in milk, chicken, and fish. It can also be consumed as a supplement.
  3. It has been found to enhance exercise performance and improve recovery after workouts.

What is L-Carnitine and where can you find it? 

L-Carnitine is a molecule that is used by the body to metabolize fatty-acids, in order to produce energy. It is most abundant in red meats, but can also be found in animal products such as milk, chicken, and fish. Additionally, L-carnitine can be consumed in the form of a supplement, and lower amounts of L-Carnitine can be found in cooked asparagus, avocado, banana, and fresh broccoli.

Health Benefits of L-Carnitine 

Research suggests that increasing the amount of L-Carnitine in the body also increases metabolic activity, meaning that more energy is produced in cells. Since 60% of oxygen consumption in muscles during extended exercise is fatty acid oxidation, L-Carnitine is crucial for energy production; therefore, it can enhance performance in high-intensity exercise. Additionally, in a study about the metabolic functions of L-Carnitine, it was shown that it inhibits the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, so recovery after difficult workouts is more efficient. Despite the benefits of L-Carnitine intake, a person’s genotype and diet can both influence how much L-Carnitine is absorbed by the body.


Pekala, Jolanta, et al. “L-carnitine-metabolic functions and meaning in humans life.” Current drug metabolism 12.7 (2011): 667-678.

Karlic, Heidrun, and Alfred Dr. Lohninger. “Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense?” Nutrition 20 7-8 (2004): 709-15 .

Ho, Jen-Yu, et al. “l-Carnitine l-Tartrate Supplementation Favorably Affects Biochemical Markers of Recovery from Physical Exertion in Middle-Aged Men and Women.” Metabolism, vol. 59, no. 8, 2010, pp. 1190–1199., doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2009.11.012.

Stanley, C. A. “New genetic defects in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and carnitine deficiency.” Advances in pediatrics 34 (1987): 59-88.

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