This article was written by David Barr from www.RaiseTheBarr.net & was originally published in The MuscleTalker July 2008 edition
Sometimes a supplement comes along that just sounds too good to be true. Actually these products seem to crop up every week, but every now and then there's a rare find. A keeper, if you will. One that is so good that you'll probably be using it for the next 70 years of your life. We may just be on the verge of such a find and there's a good chance that you've heard of it. Let's look at why, based on emerging research, you'll want to give carnitine a second look.The Updated Information
Carnitine isn't new by any stretch of the imagination. It's been used for decades for fat loss with some success. After all it's part of the machinery that transports fat into our cells to be burned as fuel. However, over the past decade or so, evidence has emerged that makes this supplement more about performance and muscle growth than just fat loss. In fact, there is research to show that carnitine may even have a positive effect on overall health.Muscle Growth: The New Flavour
Some of the most exciting data shows that carnitine can actually improve training performance. By simple extrapolation it's not difficult to see that the ability to train harder will be associated with greater improvements in body composition, whether it's muscle growth or fat loss.
What's more exciting is that carnitine may have an even more of a direct way of stimulating muscle growth: testosterone. Unlike most traditional 'testosterone boosters', which have a quick rebound affect and subsequently mild efficacy, carnitine has been shown to increase the number of testosterone receptors in muscle after training. This means that there are more docking sites for this anabolic hormone to bind with and deliver its message. That message just happens to be growth and repair, which is exactly what we're all after regardless of your goal.
- More Receptors
- More Signal To Muscle
- More Growth/Recovery
Perhaps even more importantly, carnitine may even be able to affect our neural recovery. This repair of our nerve cells that cause muscle contraction is felt to be the limiting factor in strength recovery, and would be indispensable to athletes. Although the details warrant a full article of its own, it is clear that testosterone itself increases neural repair and size, and other neuroprotective effects are seen with carnitine. Could there be a connection? Time will tell.
Considering the impact of CLT on muscle it shouldn't be surprising to learn that it has one of the highest Anabolic Index Scores available. This means that relative to other supplements CLT is on the 'must have' list for anyone looking to build muscle.New Information. New Data?
The data supporting carnitine use have been around for several years. In fact there are numerous studies supporting its efficacy, so why haven't you heard of it? It may be due to the fact that the carnitine studied in this research is called carnitine-l-tartrate (CLT), which has emerged as the big daddy of carnitine products.
This type of carnitine is found to be stable (a rare commodity) and is also the best most quickly absorbed type. That is not to say that other 'types' of carnitine won't do the same job, it's just the version that's been studied the most. In fact, there's little reason to think that other carnitines are devoid of the same effect, after all it's the carnitine that's doing all of the work.
Carnitine supplementation may not only assist with performance, muscle growth and fat loss, but it may also have a positive impact on health. Another type of carnitine called ALCAR (acetyl-l-carnitine) has been shown to have antioxidant properties and may even help with diabetes. With all of these research based findings it's not surprising that carnitine is the next 'too good to be true?' supplement.FAQs
Q. Where do I get CLT?
A. CLT is readily available online and is most commonly just called 'l-carnitine'. Take a look at the supplement details to make sure it's CLT.
Q. How do I use it?
A. Again this could be an entire article unto itself, but I'd start with a minimum of 1g day in divided doses. Many clients are having great success with 2g/200lbs bodyweight, although this is not extrapolated upward in a linear manner. I'm currently optimizing dosages with athletes over 240lbs.
Q. What brand do you suggest?
A. As a matter of policy I do not recommend brands outside of personalized supplement programs.Conclusions
CLT is going to be a big supplement in the coming years, whether you're concern is performance, body composition, or even health. Only the details need to be worked out, but so far everything looks incredibly positive for this product. Stay tuned to MuscleTalk and my website for updates on carnitine and other effective strategies!References
David Barr is widely recognized as an industry innovator, most recently for his work on developing The Anabolic Index. As a strength coach and scientist, he brings a unique perspective to the areas of diet, supplementation, and training. His research experience includes work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center, as well as studying the effect of protein on muscle growth. He holds certifications with the NSCA as well as USA Track and Field, and can be contacted through his website: www.RaiseTheBarr.net4 comments
- Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, French DN, Rubin MR, Sharman MJ, Gómez AL, Ratamess NA, Newton RU, Jemiolo B, Craig BW, Häkkinen K. The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Aug; 17(3):455-62.
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- O'Bryant EL, Jordan CL. Expression of nuclear receptor coactivators in androgen-responsive and -unresponsive motor neurons. Horm Behav. 2005 Jan; 47(1):29-38.
- Spiering BA, Kraemer WJ, Vingren JL, Hatfield DL, Fragala MS, Ho JY, Maresh CM, Anderson JM, Volek JS. Responses of criterion variables to different supplemental doses of L-carnitine L-tartrate. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Feb;21(1):259-64