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L-Carnitine: Protects Muscles

Don’t go throwing out the baby in the bathwater. L-Carnitine supplementation may still have a place in modern athletics and health in general. L-carnitine seems to protect athletes’ muscles from catabolism at a daily dose of 2 grams. This is according to a human study done at the Islamic Azad University in Iran. The study was published in the Asian Journal Of Sports Medicine published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine.

What is L-Carnitine

The body’s cells make energy in the mitochondria. They say that mitochondria are “molecular powerhouses.” If this is true then the trucks that deliver the energy substrate to the mitochondria is L-Carnitine. This is why L-Carnitine is so popular among athletes and researchers alike.

The Study: L-Carnitine

22 physically active young men were divided into two groups. One group took L-Carnitine for 2 weeks at a 2 gram daily dose; the other group took a placebo for two weeks. the other group took a supplement containing 2 g L-Carnitine. Two weeks later the athletes were asked to run for 15 minutes duration.

The athletes blood was analyzed before initiating supplementation,  pre-run, immediately post run, 2 hours post run, and then 24 hours post run.

Results: L-Carnitine

The running session raised the levels of the enzymes LDH and CK( both biomarkers for muscle damage) in the participants blood, but the increase was considerably less in the men who supplemented carnitine. It seems that L-Carnitine supplementation reduced muscle damage.

Conclusion

The study shows that acute exercise causes oxidative stress in healthy young men. Daily supplementation of L-Carnitine decreases both lipid peroxidation and muscle damage biomarkers due to increased antioxidant capacity. Although these studies do show profound effects of the L-Carnitine supplementation on oxidative stress, the mechanism is not well understood. This means that further testing needs to be done to isolate the exact mechanism by which L-Carnitine exerts its positive effects.

 

 

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