Increases in VO2max and metabolic markers of fat oxidation by caffeine, carnitine, and choline supplementation in rats

J Nutr Biochem. 2000 Oct;11(10):521-6. doi: 10.1016/s0955-2863(00)00119-4.


We have previously shown that the combination of caffeine, carnitine, and choline supplementation decreased body fat and serum leptin concentration in rats and was attributed to increased fat utilization for energy. As a result, it was hypothesized that the supplements may augment exercise performance including physiological and biochemical indexes. Twenty 7-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were given free access to a nonpurified diet with or without supplementation of caffeine, carnitine, and choline at concentrations of 0.1, 5, and 11.5 g/kg diet, respectively. One half of each dietary group was exercised on a motor-driven treadmill for 3 weeks and maximal aerobic power (VO(2)max) was determined on the 18th day of exercise. Rats were killed 24-hr postexercise, and blood, regional fat pads, and skeletal muscle were collected. The VO(2)max was increased (P < 0.05) in the supplemented/exercised group; however, the respiratory quotient (RQ) was not affected. Postexercised concentrations of serum triglycerides were decreased but beta-hydroxybutyrate, acylcarnitine, and acetylcarnitine were increased in the supplemented animals. The changes in serum metabolites were complemented by the changes in the muscle and urinary metabolites. The magnitude of increase in urinary acylcarnitines (34-45-fold) is a unique effect of this combination of supplements. Cumulative evidence indicates enhanced beta-oxidation of fatty acids without a change in the RQ because acetyl units were excreted in urine as acetylcarnitine and not oxidized to carbon dioxide. For this phenomenon, we propose the term "fatty acid dumping." We conclude that supplementation with caffeine, carnitine, and choline augments exercise performance and promotes fatty acid oxidation as well as disposal in urine.