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Carnitine supplementation to burn fat - fact or fiction

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Blended excerpts from Potential Within A Guide to Nutritional Empowerment

Authored by Franco Cavaleri ISBN 0-9731701-0-7

Original post: January 31, 2011

This article is composed of multiple excerpts to result in tone and content shifts and reference numbering that may be out of order.

Carnitine supplementation to burn fat - fact or fiction

Carnitine forms part of the transport system for fats escorting them into the mitochondria for oxidation as energy. That doesn’t mean it can be employed as a fat-loss facilitator. It only increases fat oxidation when demands are extreme, i.e., exceptional activity intensity (1). In other words you can’t supplement with loads of carnitine (any form) and expect body fat to melt spontaneously. Carnitine supplementation merely helps you burn more fat if you are willing to take yourself to new heights of workout intensity.

Until you reach exercise intensity levels that can be rate limiting in terms of fat substrate delivery to the cells, that extra carnitine that you’re supplementing won’t be of value with regards to your fat loss initiative.

Carnitine supplementation can enhance endurance performance potential for athletes, especially when combined with caffeine (2, 3). The inclusion of caffeine for endurance enhancement boosts mobilization of fats for carnitine transport and subsequent oxidation.


Carnitine inhibits the collection of fat in the heart muscle (4, 5). Supplementation with carnitine can improve angina and lower LDL cholesterol (6, 7). Use l-, not d- or dl-carnitine…

I guess the answer is: ‘FACT’; carnitine supplementation can facilitate fat loss and even lean muscle enhancement if you’re willing to work harder than you’re used to and indirectly through this activity it can help preserve muscle (anticatabolic) during prolonged intense physical strain; and ‘FICTION’ if your workouts are easy going, chatty in between sets or restricted to couch warming.

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