Why L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate Is Better

by DeanMcKillop 6216 views Supplements

Why L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate Is Better

L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) is quite simply L-Carnitine, which is a salt, bound to tartaric acid and has been shown to have an increased speed of uptake with heightened circulatory levels post ingestion when compared to standardised L-Carnitines.

When discussing standardised L-Carnitine, the primary benefits are traditionally linked to increased lipid oxidation and enhanced mitochondrial transportation due to heightened blood Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase levels. The great thing about LCLT is, not only does it have the same benefits of the aforementioned characteristics of L-Carnitine but it also has proposed benefits for performance, recovery and reducing exercise-induced stress.

So why is LCLT better than the rest?
  1. Reduced muscle damage
  2. Reduced exercise fatigue
  3. Improved recovery due to a delay in perceived pain
  4. Potential use for hormonal support

During exercise, the accumulation of metabolites results in exercise fatigue, inflammation and trauma. As with any training program, the goal of supplementation is to ensure maximum performance is achieved alongside simultaneous optimal recovery as well.

By ensuring recovery is optimised, your ability to produce repeat efforts of performance becomes more efficient.

Supplementing with 1-2g of LCLT appears to attenuate metabolic stress and the consequential chain of events that cause muscle damage and fatigue in healthy men (1). More specifically, individuals involved in an LCLT supplemented squat protocol showed a 41% reduction in muscle disruption via MRI (2,3), of which the results were attributed to a circulatory reduction in all plasma markers of catabolism.

Furthermore, in healthy recreational trained men, it was concluded that the use of LCLT for attenuating hypoxic muscle damage was supported by the research (4) and it is advised that potential further research looking into the benefits of what appears to be enhanced androgen receptor sensitivity or receptor availability for hormone uptake would be beneficial.

So not only can LCLT supplementation reduce fatigue, but there may even be an argument for its ability to enhance the utilisation of critical circulatory anabolic hormones.

Outside of looking at the direct markers for muscle damage in the post-training phase, LCLT has also been linked to anecdotal reductions in the perceived pain response to exercise as well (1). This is perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of LCLT supplementation, as the mindset of the athlete and their ability to surpass their comfort zone is often the limiting factor to performance enhancement.

While our bodies can traditionally take a beating, it is often the mind that gives up first. If LCLT supplementation can reduce the perceived pain of exercise, then the performance of the individual can only be improved.

So what does this all mean?

While LCLT is no creatine or beta alanine as the research is still in its infancy when compared to the aforementioned supplements, it shows tremendous promise for both performance enhancement through reduced perceived fatigue but also appears to reduce hypoxic induced muscle damage in the post-training phase as well.

Supplementing with 3g daily shows no adverse effects or current contraindications (5), however, it may not even be necessary to dose it this high to begin with.

For exercise performance and recovery benefits, supplement with 1-2g daily and if you can take it alongside other assistive amino acids, electrolytes and performance enhancing amino acids, such as Citrulline malate, you are bound to get the maximum benefits. 

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Volek, J., Kraemer, W., Rubin, M., Gómez, A., Ratamess, N. and Gaynor, P. (2002). l-Carnitine l-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology And Metabolism, 282(2), pp.E474-E482.

Kraemer, W., Volek, J., French, D., Rubin, M., Sharman, M., Gómez, A., Ratamess, N., Newton, R., Jemiolo, B., Craig, B. and Häkkinen, K. (2003). The Effects of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation on Hormonal Responses to Resistance Exercise and Recovery. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17(3), p.455.

Spiering, B., Kraemer, W., Hatfield, D., Vingren, J., Fragala, M., Ho, J., Thomas, G., Häkkinen, K. and Volek, J. (2008). Effects of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation on Muscle Oxygenation Responses to Resistance Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(4), pp.1130-1135.

RUBIN, M., VOLEK, J., GÓMEZ, A., RATAMESS, N., FRENCH, D., SHARMAN, M. and KRAEMER, W. (2001). Safety Measures of l-Carnitine l-Tartrate Supplementation in Healthy Men. J Strength Cond Res, 15(4), p.486.



Exercise Scientist

I completed my Exercise Science Degree at the University of QLD and have worked in the fitness industry for over 8 years, including a short stint at the Brisbane Broncos in 2010 as a student. I also hold my Level 2 Strength and Conditioning Coach accreditation (ASCA) and have competed in 1 bodybuilding season, placing 2nd at the IFBB u85kg Nationals.

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