For athletes who participate in resistance training, one common complaint following training is often post-exercise muscle soreness. Both clinically as well as from personal experience, I can tell you that this only gets worse as we age. If you’re looking to combat post-exercise muscle soreness, one options that you may want to consider is supplementing with l-carnitine l-tartrate.
What’s l-carnitine l-tartrate?
L-carnitine is the biologically active form of the carrier molecule, Carnitine while L-tartrate is a potent antioxidant.
How does l-carnitine work?
In a nutshell l-carnitine has two established roles–muscle repair following exercise and fat oxidation. Fat oxidation is basically the process in which fatty acids get converted in the liver to produce ATP when blood sugar is low. It’s possible that l-carnitine may play a role in allowing athletes to recover quickly from exercise or training.
Previous research suggests that supplementing with l-carnitine can enhance testosterone levels following exercise (Kraemer et al, 2006).
How much do you need to take?
Typical doses are 2 grams per day.
Research study: l-carnitine:
Just recently, a new study was published in the journal, metabolism clinical and experimental (2010). The study itself included 18 participants comprised of an equal amount males (average age 45.4) and females (average age 51.9) who were previously considered to be recreationally active.
Subjects supplemented with 2 grams of l-carnitine l-tartrate per dayfor three weeks prior to a resistance training session. The training session included 4 sets of 15 reps squats/leg presses. There was a 1-week washout period between placebo and l-carnitine supplementation phases.
From the study authors:
“In this study, the primary findings indicate that LCLT supplementation can also beneficially affect post exercise markers of metabolic stress, muscle disruption, and muscle soreness in men and women older than 40 years.”
“These findings support our previous working hypothesis that L-carnitine supplementation in younger people can reduce chemical damage to tissues after exercise and optimize the processes of muscle tissue repair and remodeling.”
Bottom line: This research study supports their previous findings that l-carnitine l-tartrate supplementation is useful for preventing muscle soreness and reducing muscle damage following resistance training. It’s possible that supplementation with l-carnitine may also help athletes recover quickly from training sessions.
* Kraemer WJ, Spiering BA, Volek JS, Ratamess NA, Sharman MJ,Rubin MR, et al. Androgenic responses to resistance exercise: effects of feeding and L-carnitine. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2006;38:
* Ho JY, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Fragala MS, Thomas GA, Dunn-Lewis C, Coday M, Häkkinen K, Maresh CM. l-Carnitine l-tartrate supplementation favorably affects biochemical markers of recovery from physical exertion in middle-aged men and women. Metabolism. 2010 Aug;59(8):1190-9. Epub 2009 Dec 31.