Carnitine has many benefits both in terms of health and sports performance. Carnitine has been a popular supplement for endurance athletes for quite some time, and has more recently has become a popular addition to muscle building supplements as well. One particular study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effects of L-carnitine-L-tartrate on physical muscle recovery and levels of anabolic hormones.
10 subjects participated in the study, all healthy men ages 21-26 who regularly participated in resistance training. Some of the subjects took 2g of L-carnitine-L-tartrate daily and others took a placebo supplement. After 3 weeks of supplementation the subjects performed 5 sets of 15-20 repetitions of the squat, and levels of anabolic hormones as well as muscle tissue damages were observed before and during the hours following the squat session.
The researchers found that the group that had consumed 2g l-carnitine-l-tartrate for 3 weeks had a reduced amount of muscle tissue damage in comparison to the placebo group, and the l-carnitine-l-tartrate group also had significantly more elevated levels of IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) over the placebo group. Higher levels of IGFBP-3, in short, leads to higher levels of IGF-1, an important anabolic growth hormone. This study also gives evidence that L-carnitine-L-tartrate may lead to increased androgen receptor density, intensifying the anabolic hormonal response to training.
Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, French DN, Rubin MR, Sharman MJ, Gomez AL, Ratamess NA, Newton RU, Jemiolo B, Craig BW, & Hakkinen K. (2003). The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association. 17(3), 455-62.
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