Effects of Nine Weeks L-Carnitine Supplementation on Exercise Performance, Anaerobic Power, and Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress in Resistance-Trained Males

J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2018 Dec 31;22(4):7-19. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2018.0026.


Purpose: Studies of L-carnitine in healthy athletic populations have yielded equivocal results. Further scientific-based knowledge is needed to clarify the ability of L-carnitine to improve exercise capacity and expedite the recovery process by reducing oxidative stress. This study aimed to examine the 9-week effects of L-carnitine supplementation on exercise performance, anaerobic capacity, and exercise-induced oxidative stress markers in resistance-trained males.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled treatment, 23 men (age, 25±2y; weight, 81.2±8.31 kg; body fat, 17.1±5.9%) ingested either a placebo (2 g/d, n=11) or L-carnitine (2 g/d, n=12) for 9 weeks in conjunction with resistance training. Primary outcome measurements were analyzed at baseline and at weeks 3, 6, and 9. Participants underwent a similar resistance training (4 d/w, upper/lower body split) for a 9-week period. Two-way ANOVA with repeated measures was used for statistical analysis.

Results: There were significant increases in bench press lifting volume at wk-6 (146 kg, 95% CI 21.1, 272) and wk-9 (245 kg, 95% CI 127, 362) with L-carnitine. A similar trend was observed for leg press. In the L-carnitine group, at wk-9, there were significant increases in mean power (63.4 W, 95% CI 32.0, 94.8) and peak power (239 W, 95% CI 86.6, 392), reduction in post-exercise blood lactate levels (-1.60 mmol/L, 95% CI -2.44, -0.75) and beneficial changes in total antioxidant capacity (0.18 mmol/L, 95% CI 0.07, 0.28).

Conclusion: L-carnitine supplementation enhances exercise performance while attenuating blood lactate and oxidative stress responses to resistance training.

Keywords: strength.