When it comes to improving muscle growth and performance people often turn to protein supplements. What many don’t know is that adding a carnitine supplement to their protein shake after exercising can help ensure they’re recovering properly and ready to take their next workout.
What Is Carnitine?
Carnitine is an amino acid produced by two other amino acids – lysine and methionine – and it’s formed in the kidneys. Once produced, carnitine is then stored in the skeletal muscles as well as the brain and heart. Carnitine helps the body with many different processes and functions. It acts as an antioxidant to help reduce the effects of free radical damage to the body and is also known for helping the body produce energy by taking fat and converting it into a usable form of energy.
You can increase your carnitine levels in two different ways. One of them is eating specific foods high in concentration of amino acids such as bananas, asparagus, corn, broccoli, garlic, dairy, kale, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and red meat. The other is to purchase a carnitine supplement. Getting the necessary amount of carnitine for health benefits through foods is not an easy task, the reason why many choose to take carnitine in supplement form.
Benefits of Supplementing with Carnitine
Carnitine is a must-have element in creating energy for the cells. Its main purpose is to help break down fatty acids for use as energy to keep the body’s cells powered and working efficiently. Carnitine has also a secondary purpose of helping remove some waste products from the cells to prevent them from accumulating and causing issues. Aside from its main functions, carnitine can also deliver some other benefits to the body.
Enhanced Fat Loss
When it comes if is carnitine good for weight loss, the answer is yes, it is. In fact, carnitine supplements are widely known for being an effective fat-burning supplement.
As you know, unused energy (food) in the body gets stored as fat. Carnitine takes the foot you consume, including fats, and carry them to the mitochondria found in the cells to be used as an energy source. This allows better use of the foods you eat rather than adding to your already sufficient body fat levels. This makes carnitine extremely useful for those looking to lose weight, as it will help you burn more calories throughout the day. This, on the other hand, will give you a boost in energy, allowing you to keep the intensity up during your training sessions in the gym.
Increased Muscle Mass
Thanks to the carnitine’s ability to produce usable energy, you’ll experience a significant increase in strength when in the gym. As your strength improves you become able to lift heavier weights, so you are naturally going to break down more muscle fibres. And through feeding and resting the muscles, they will rebuild faster and become larger and stronger. With the continuation of the improved strength and progressive overload, you’ll experience drastic changes in your musculature.
It’s a fact: as we age, we tend to lose a little cognition and brain functioning. Carnitine has also the power to improve your overall brain function by reducing the damaging effects that aging causes on our cells. By protecting the cell in your brain, you’ll be better able to maintain optimal brain health and function as you age.
Boosted Immune System
The carnitine antioxidant properties and its ability to fight off the effects of free radicals mean it can also help improve your immune system. By supplementing with carnitine you should be able to notice a difference in your ability to ward off and rebound from seasonal allergies and colds.
What Is the Best Time to Take Carnitine?
If your goal is to optimise energy during your workout then it’s best to take it prior to working out. Experts recommend taking it about one hour prior to exercise. To take advantage of the other benefits, such are recovery and weight loss support, taking it after exercise will be more effective.
Many individuals find that they experience the best results when they take carnitine with 30-40 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates increase insulin levels and carnitine needs elevated insulin levels to be able to enter the muscle cells and do its job. The result of this is increased energy and workout performance. You can also combine carnitine with caffeine-containing supplements as part of your pre-workout ritual. As it’s stimulant-free, it pairs well with green tea, coffee, and other supplements that contain caffeine.
As for its side effects, it can be said mildly as it’s naturally found in your food. When dosage recommendation is followed, the supplement hasn’t shown to cause serious side effects although stomach upset, urine and breath odour can happen. Don’t worry about cycling carnitine on and off because it tends to work well long-term without any serious side effects.