L-Carnitine for Endurance

AA – Endurance Experiment

There are two types of readily available L-Carnitine supplements in the market. One is most likely for brain function, called Acetyl L-Carnitine. Gamers use it, chess players use it, but it is also utilised in the treatment of alzheimer’s, memory issues or other brain related disorders.
The one that we are interested in is L-Tartrate L-Carnitine. It helps creating an Enzyme called Palmitoyl-Transferase. Basically a chemical that transports fatty acid to the mitochondria to be utilised as energy.

Of course, many of the athletes would benefit from it, if utilised for instance fasted in the morning as a fat loss supplement, during the first run of the day. I am more likely interested in it’s performance benefits.

  • Glucose sparing, as it facilitates fat use even during higher intensities
  • Enhanced blood to muscle glucose absorption. This not just helps to have higher quality muscle fibre contractions, but also helps in replenishing glycogen stores. The recovery is starting already during the workout itself. This is my motto !
  • Apparently, it helps combating oxidative stress and free radicals.
  • Enhanced blood flow, due to sped up urea cycle, where arginine is produced to increase nitric oxide. (Not sure about this, but have to add, as multiple websites state this.
    (Spiering, B. A., Kraemer, W. J., Hatfield, D. L., Vingren, J. L., Fragala, M. S., Ho, J. Y., … & Volek, J. S. (2008). Effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on muscle oxygenation responses to resistance exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(4), 1130-1135.)
  • Enhanced hormone function
  • Heat resistance

I have started using L-Carnitine 4 months ago. Most endurance focused athletes say that real benefits come after around 5weeks of active intake of 3 to 5g a day. I highly agree. While pre-workout supplementation is beneficial, I focus personally on constant pre-workout 2x a daily supplementation. However, I don’t stop this routine on no-training days, what is 1 to 4 days a month. As an 80kg runner, I take 2 x 1.5g a day, but double it, up to 2 x 3g a day in case of long runs. I also if did a long time trial of over 2h for instance, would take additional 1g of L-Carnitine an hour.

A long trail run of 3.5h would look like this:

  • AM: 4g EAA + 3.5g of Beta-Alanine + 3.5g Creatine + 3.5g Citruline Malate + 1g Taurine + 1.5g of L-Carnitine
  • 30min before Workout 1.5g of L-Carnitine
  • 45min into the run 1g of L-Carnitine + 4g of EAA + 3g glucose
  • 1h45 into the run 1g of L-Carnitine + 4g of EAA + 3g glucose
  • 2h30 into the run 4g of EAA + 3g glucose

What do I feel ? At this moment, the most important to me is to increase quality endurance, while decreasing fatigue and muscle damage. Also, I would like to benefit of a near glucose free workout, without taking the risk of blowing up and needing a week of recovery. I simply take 3g of glucose 1 to 3 times during the workout, to help the absorption of amino acids, but also water. Minerals are great and I use Quinton Hypertonique, but water is absorbed even better, when taken with glucose.

I think, I have already mentioned this in a previous blog-post. This hussle of measuring and scooping out my doses of amino acids, is in order to not to feel completely messed up after workouts. I want to be a well performing athlete, but a high performance human too. In work, in family, in education. I need to be present and not a total wreck. I want to focus on form and perfect execution of movements and not on the issue that my heart is three beats higher than it should be.

I understand the benefits of low heart rate training, I understand endurance, but I also am looking to gain the most performance possible as a 40 year old masters athlete. I just ran a very tired 10km race at 36:25 into headwind @ 161bpm average heart rate. I mean, it is not that excessive. The benefits however that I also find, that as utilising Carnitine, my heart rate slowly will decrease, so I can run faster on lower BPMs, what will have a fantastic neuromuscular imprinting effect.

Dosing. I time to time buy for certain situations capsules, but more likely I dose out my very pure powders into little tubes and mix it with water during training.

More on this subject later on

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