However, scientific evidence only occasionally supports popular claims about dietary supplements.

This article examines the risks and benefits of L-carnitine injections and explains this nutrient’s function in the body.

What is L-carnitine Injection?

L-carnitine is an injectable nutrient. The process of transporting fatty acids into your cells’ mitochondria plays an essential part in energy production. [1]

The mitochondria in your cells perform the role of engines; they convert fatty acids into usable energy by burning them. Lysine and methionine are two of the amino acids that can be converted into L-carnitine by the body. [2]

l-carnitine
Source: Canva

It is necessary to take in a lot of vitamin C if you want your body to be able to produce enough of it. [3]

Small amounts of L-carnitine can also be obtained through the consumption of animal products, such as meat and dairy, in addition to the L-carnitine that is produced naturally by the body. [2]

People who don’t eat meat and those with certain genetic conditions might be unable to produce or obtain sufficient quantities. As a result, L-carnitine is considered to be a nutrient that is conditionally essential. [2]

L-Carnitine Injections Benefits

L-carnitine injections primarily serve the body by stimulating the mitochondria to increase their energy output and improve their overall function. [1]

Within cells, it acts as a facilitator for the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, which is where these acids are ultimately burned for energy. Over ninety-five percent of your L-carnitine is stored in your muscles; the rest is found in very small amounts in your blood, liver, heart, and kidneys. [2]

There is some evidence that L-carnitine can improve mitochondrial function, which is important for both disease prevention and healthy aging. [1][4][5]

Recent studies have shown that in its various forms, carnitine may be effective in treating various medical conditions, including those affecting the heart and the brain. [6][7]

Does it aid weight loss?

l-carnitine
Source: Canva

L-carnitine is a supplement that can help you lose weight because it increases the amount of fatty acids that are transported into your cells to burn them for energy.

According to an analysis of 37 separate studies, taking an L-carnitine supplement led to significant reductions in overall body weight, body mass index (BMI), and fat mass. On the other hand, it had no impact on either total body fat or abdominal fat. [8]

However, more research is needed to determine how it may affect weight loss for a longer time.

In addition, while it might be helpful for some people to lose weight, you should talk to a dietitian before beginning any diet or exercise program to ensure that it is appropriate for your needs.

May Improve Brain Function

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Source: Canva

L-carnitine may improve cognitive function.

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), the acetylated form of L-carnitine, has been shown in some studies to be effective in warding off cognitive decline associated with aging and enhancing learning markers. [7]

According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2018, people living with dementia who took 1,500 milligrams (mg) of ALCAR daily for a period of 28 weeks saw a significant improvement in their brain function. [9]

As a result, there is a need for further investigation into the possible advantages of taking supplements.

May Improve Heart Health

l-carnitine
Source: Canva

L-carnitine has been the subject of many studies, suggesting that it may improve the heart’s overall health.

L-carnitine, for example, was shown to significantly lower diastolic blood pressure in a meta-analysis of ten separate studies. This effect was most pronounced in individuals who were overweight or obese. [10]

L-Carnitine Injection In Bodybuilding

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Source: Canva

Although the research on the effects of L-carnitine on athletic performance is inconclusive, the supplement could be beneficial.

Take into account the fact that the advantages of L-carnitine may be indirect and that their manifestation may take several weeks or months. On the other hand, supplements like caffeine and creatine have been shown to affect athletic performance positively. [11][12]

L-carnitine has been linked to the following possible benefits:

  • Performance
    • When taken between 60 and 90 minutes before a high-intensity exercise session, it can improve performance. [13]
  • Red blood cell production
    • It may stimulate the production of red blood cells responsible for delivering oxygen to all body parts, including your muscles. [14][15]
  • Muscle soreness
    • It can potentially lessen the muscle soreness experienced after exercise. [16]
  • Reduce Fatigue
    • Stamina may increase blood flow and the production of nitric oxide, which will help delay the onset of discomfort and reduce fatigue. [17]
  • Muscle oxygen supply
    • It has the potential to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscles. [17]
  • Recovery
    • It has the potential to speed up recovery after exercise [18][19]

May Be Beneficial For Type 2 Diabetes

l-carnitine
Source: Canva

Individuals who have type 2 diabetes might benefit from receiving L-carnitine injections.

L-carnitine supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity while simultaneously lowering fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c (a marker of long-term blood sugar levels) in individuals who have diabetes, are overweight, or are obese, according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis that included 41 separate studies. [20]

May Improve Depression Symptoms

According to the findings of some studies, the amino acid L-carnitine might be an effective treatment for depression.

Intriguingly, several of the studies that were analyzed for this review concluded that acetyl-L-carnitine was just as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants but was associated with a lower risk of adverse effects. [21]

However, more research is required to determine the exact nature of L-carnitine’s potential influence on depressive symptoms. [21]

L-Carnitine Injections Safety and Side Effects

l-carnitine
Source: Canva

A daily dosage of two grams (g) or less is risk-free and free of any serious side effects for most people. In some of the studies, the researchers gave participants daily doses of up to 4,500 mg. [22]

According to the findings of one study on the toxicity of L-carnitine, daily doses of approximately 2 grams were found to be safe for use over the long term. However, there were some mild side effects, such as heartburn and indigestion. These were the only symptoms reported. [22]

Taking L-carnitine for an extended period will raise your blood’s trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) levels. A higher TMAO level is linked to an increased likelihood of developing atherosclerosis, a disease that narrows and hardens the arteries. [23]

There is a need for additional research to determine whether or not L-carnitine supplements are safe.

Should you take L-Carnitine Injections?

The amount of L-carnitine your body produces, and the amount you take in through food and drink both affect your levels.

Because they limit or avoid the consumption of animal products, vegetarians and vegans typically have lower levels of the amino acid L-carnitine. As a result, vegetarians and vegans may want to consider taking L-carnitine supplements, which can assist in normalizing carnitine levels in the blood and muscles. [24]

L-carnitine injections are another treatment option that could benefit elderly patients. [25]

In contrast, the results of another study showed that supplementation with L-carnitine had no impact on the muscle strength or inflammatory markers of older women. [26]

Those who suffer from cirrhosis and kidney disease are also at an increased risk of being deficient. If you suffer from any of these conditions, it is highly recommended that you take a nutritional supplement. [27][28]

Before taking L-carnitine, discussing the supplement with a qualified medical professional is important.

L-carnitine Dosage recommendations

Studies that have been conducted to investigate the possible advantages of L-carnitine have utilized a wide range of doses.

Even though the dosage differs from study to study, the following is a rundown of how each formulation should be used and how much of it should be taken [29][30][31]:

  • Propionyl-L-carnitine: People with high blood pressure or other similar conditions may experience an improvement in their blood flow if they take this form. In one of the studies, the recommended daily allowance was 2 grams.
  • L-carnitine L-tartrate: This is the most effective way to go about getting some exercise. The recommended daily dosage can range anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 mg.
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine: This form is beneficial for the health of the brain and its function. The recommended daily dosage can range anywhere from 500 to 3,000 mg.
l-carnitine
Source: Canva

Bottomline

L-carnitine injections might be beneficial for weight loss and the breakdown of fat, even though more research is required.

In addition, studies have shown that its use benefits health, cognitive function, and disease prevention. People with lower levels, such as older adults, vegans, and vegetarians, may also benefit.

The most common and widely used forms of carnitine are acetyl-L-carnitine and L-carnitine, which also appear to be the most effective.

FAQs

L-carnitine injections benefit energy production, metabolism, weight loss, and athletic performance. They can also support cardiovascular health by improving heart function and blood flow while reducing inflammation.

These injections are used as a supplement for specific medical conditions. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is important to determine the suitability and personalized benefits of L-carnitine injections for your needs.
Pain or discomfort from L-carnitine injections varies among individuals. Some feel minimal discomfort, while others experience a pinch or stinging sensation.

Factors like needle size, administration skill, and personal pain tolerance influence the pain level. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance. They can suggest alternatives or strategies to minimize discomfort.
L-carnitine injections in bodybuilding enhance performance, support muscle development, aid in fat burning, and improve metabolic function. By transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria, they provide energy for intense workouts while preserving glycogen stores.

Consulting with a healthcare professional or sports nutritionist is crucial for personalized guidance and to ensure compatibility with your goals and health.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

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  2. Dahash BA, Sankararaman S. Carnitine Deficiency. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559041/
  3. Abdullah M, Jamil RT, Attia FN. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) [Updated 2022 Oct 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499877/
  4. Son, J. M., & Lee, C. (2021). Aging: All roads lead to mitochondria. Seminars in cell & developmental biology, 116, 160–168. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33741252/
  5. Natarajan, V., Chawla, R., Mah, T., Vivekanandan, R., Tan, S. Y., Sato, P. Y., & Mallilankaraman, K. (2020). Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Age-Related Metabolic Disorders. Proteomics, 20(5-6), e1800404. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32131138/
  6. Wang, Z. Y., Liu, Y. Y., Liu, G. H., Lu, H. B., & Mao, C. Y. (2018). l-Carnitine and heart disease. Life sciences, 194, 88–97. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29241711/
  7. Pennisi, M., Lanza, G., Cantone, M., D’Amico, E., Fisicaro, F., Puglisi, V., Vinciguerra, L., Bella, R., Vicari, E., & Malaguarnera, G. (2020). Acetyl-L-Carnitine in Dementia and Other Cognitive Disorders: A Critical Update. Nutrients, 12(5), 1389. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32408706/
  8. Talenezhad, N., Mohammadi, M., Ramezani-Jolfaie, N., Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., & Salehi-Abargouei, A. (2020). Effects of l-carnitine supplementation on weight loss and body composition: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 randomized controlled clinical trials with dose-response analysis. Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 37, 9–23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32359762/
  9. Yang, Y., Choi, H., Lee, C. N., Kim, Y. B., & Kwak, Y. T. (2018). A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial for Efficacy of Acetyl-L-carnitine in Patients with Dementia Associated with Cerebrovascular Disease. Dementia and neurocognitive disorders, 17(1), 1–10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30906386/
  10. Askarpour, M., Hadi, A., Dehghani Kari Bozorg, A., Sadeghi, O., Sheikhi, A., Kazemi, M., & Ghaedi, E. (2019). Effects of L-carnitine supplementation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of human hypertension, 33(10), 725–734. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31481697/
  11. Guest, N. S., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Nelson, M. T., Grgic, J., Schoenfeld, B. J., Jenkins, N. D. M., Arent, S. M., Antonio, J., Stout, J. R., Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Goldstein, E. R., Kalman, D. S., & Campbell, B. I. (2021). International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 18(1), 1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33388079/
  12. Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615996/
  13. Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Pietrantonio, L., Viribay, A., Calleja-González, J., González-Bernal, J., & Fernández-Lázaro, D. (2021). Effect of Acute and Chronic Oral l-Carnitine Supplementation on Exercise Performance Based on the Exercise Intensity: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 13(12), 4359. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34959912/
  14. Matsumoto, Y., Amano, I., Hirose, S., Tsuruta, Y., Hara, S., Murata, M., & Imai, T. (2001). Effects of L-carnitine supplementation on renal anemia in poor responders to erythropoietin. Blood purification, 19(1), 24–32. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11114574/
  15. Mairbäurl H. (2013). Red blood cells in sports: effects of exercise and training on oxygen supply by red blood cells. Frontiers in physiology, 4, 332. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24273518/
  16. Stefan, M., Sharp, M., Gheith, R., Lowery, R., Ottinger, C., Wilson, J., Durkee, S., & Bellamine, A. (2021). L-Carnitine Tartrate Supplementation for 5 Weeks Improves Exercise Recovery in Men and Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 13(10), 3432. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34684429/
  17. Spiering, B. A., Kraemer, W. J., Hatfield, D. L., Vingren, J. L., Fragala, M. S., Ho, J. Y., Thomas, G. A., Häkkinen, K., & Volek, J. S. (2008). Effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on muscle oxygenation responses to resistance exercise. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 22(4), 1130–1135. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18545197/
  18. Kraemer, W. J., Volek, J. S., French, D. N., Rubin, M. R., Sharman, M. J., Gómez, A. L., Ratamess, N. A., Newton, R. U., Jemiolo, B., Craig, B. W., & Häkkinen, K. (2003). The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 17(3), 455–462. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12930169/
  19. Volek, J. S., Kraemer, W. J., Rubin, M. R., Gómez, A. L., Ratamess, N. A., & 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), E474–E482. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11788381/
  20. Zamani, M., Pahlavani, N., Nikbaf-Shandiz, M., Rasaei, N., Ghaffarian-Ensaf, R., Asbaghi, O., Shiraseb, F., & Rastgoo, S. (2023). The effects of L-carnitine supplementation on glycemic markers in adults: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Frontiers in nutrition, 9, 1082097. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36704801/
  21. Veronese, N., Stubbs, B., Solmi, M., Ajnakina, O., Carvalho, A. F., & Maggi, S. (2018). Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplementation and the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Psychosomatic medicine, 80(2), 154–159. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29076953/
  22. Sawicka, A. K., Renzi, G., & Olek, R. A. (2020). The bright and the dark sides of L-carnitine supplementation: a systematic review. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 17(1), 49. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32958033/
  23. Lee, Y., Nemet, I., Wang, Z., Lai, H. T. M., de Oliveira Otto, M. C., Lemaitre, R. N., Fretts, A. M., Sotoodehnia, N., Budoff, M., DiDonato, J. A., McKnight, B., Tang, W. H. W., Psaty, B. M., Siscovick, D. S., Hazen, S. L., & Mozaffarian, D. (2021). Longitudinal Plasma Measures of Trimethylamine N-Oxide and Risk of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Events in Community-Based Older Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association, 10(17), e020646. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34398665/
  24. Novakova, K., Kummer, O., Bouitbir, J., Stoffel, S. D., Hoerler-Koerner, U., Bodmer, M., Roberts, P., Urwyler, A., Ehrsam, R., & Krähenbühl, S. (2016). Effect of L-carnitine supplementation on the body carnitine pool, skeletal muscle energy metabolism and physical performance in male vegetarians. European journal of nutrition, 55(1), 207–217. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25612929/
  25. Badrasawi, M., Shahar, S., Zahara, A. M., Nor Fadilah, R., & Singh, D. K. (2016). Efficacy of L-carnitine supplementation on frailty status and its biomarkers, nutritional status, and physical and cognitive function among prefrail older adults: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clinical interventions in aging, 11, 1675–1686. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27895474/
  26. Sawicka, A. K., Hartmane, D., Lipinska, P., Wojtowicz, E., Lysiak-Szydlowska, W., & Olek, R. A. (2018). l-Carnitine Supplementation in Older Women. A Pilot Study on Aging Skeletal Muscle Mass and Function. Nutrients, 10(2), 255. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29473908/
  27. Hanai, T., Shiraki, M., Imai, K., Suetugu, A., Takai, K., & Shimizu, M. (2020). Usefulness of Carnitine Supplementation for the Complications of Liver Cirrhosis. Nutrients, 12(7), 1915. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32610446/
  28. Nishioka, N., Luo, Y., Taniguchi, T., Ohnishi, T., Kimachi, M., Ng, R. C., & Watanabe, N. (2022). Carnitine supplements for people with chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 12(12), CD013601. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36472884/
  29. Pennisi, M., Lanza, G., Cantone, M., D’Amico, E., Fisicaro, F., Puglisi, V., Vinciguerra, L., Bella, R., Vicari, E., & Malaguarnera, G. (2020). Acetyl-L-Carnitine in Dementia and Other Cognitive Disorders: A Critical Update. Nutrients, 12(5), 1389. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32408706/
  30. Askarpour, M., Hadi, A., Dehghani Kari Bozorg, A., Sadeghi, O., Sheikhi, A., Kazemi, M., & Ghaedi, E. (2019). Effects of L-carnitine supplementation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of human hypertension, 33(10), 725–734. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31481697/
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Dr Faisal Rasheed, M.D.

Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn

Author

  • Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn

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Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn