Effects of carnitine coingested caffeine on carnitine metabolism and endurance capacity in athletes

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Dec;47(6):378-84. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.47.378.


The purpose of this study was to examine whether caffeine (CAF), carnitine (CAR), or CAF+CAR mixture administration affects exercise endurance time via carnitine metabolism. Water (CON), CAF, CAR, or CAF+CAR mixture was administered to five male rugby athletes participating in this study by a randomized double-blind fashion who were made to ride a cycle ergometer for exercise. The CAF effect on exercise endurance time was small, but the CAR trial significantly increased the exercise endurance time compared with CON trial; a further CAF+CAR mixture trial had greater effects on the exercise endurance time than those of a CON, CAF, or CAR trial. A CAR or CAF+CAR mixed trial increased urinary nonesterified carnitine (NEC) and total carnitine (TCAR), but no changes were observed in acid-soluble acylcarnitine (ASAC) and acid-insoluble acylcarnitine (AIAC) excretion. A CAR or CAF+CAR mixed trial resulted in higher levels of plasma NEC, ASAC, and TCAR fractions than the CON and CAF trials did on exhaustion time. Total cholesterol, triglyceride, and free fatty acid in blood were significantly increased at exhaustion time, but they were not affected in the CAF or the CAR trial. These results suggest that carnitine ingestion could promote fat oxidation, resulting in higher endurance performance in athletes, and especially these ergogenic effects of carnitine coingested with caffeine may be greater than those of carnitine alone.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Carnitine / administration & dosage*
  • Carnitine / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Reference Values
  • Sports*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine
  • Carnitine