First thing first. This article on l carnitine side effects is not to discourage people to stop consuming a supplement which is so popular with athletes and bodybuilders together.

L-carnitine has a variety of benefits, some of which are associated with accelerating weight loss, building energy, or gaining leaner muscle mass.

But, do you know there are l carnitine side effects for weight loss or are you aware of l carnitine side effects on the liver? It can even concern you skin health; yes, I am hinting on l carnitine side effects on the skin.

However, like I mentioned earlier, we are not going to talk about l carnitine side effects in isolation. Rather, I am going to base our discussion on science, conclusive evidence and how, you and I, can make the best of this supplement by working out the l carnitine side effects.

So, let us begin our discussion now.

Before I clearly pan out the l carnitine side effects, it is important for us to remember the following:

  1. There are many reported benefits and negatives of l carnitine.
  2. The greatest l carnitine side effect is its overdose.
  3. L carnitine benefits include weight loss, yet, a quick internet search will tell you about l carnitine side effects for weight loss as well. So, find out the truth before you arrive at a conclusion for yourself.
  4. Like any other supplement, l carnitine must be a prioritised by the bodybuilder on own.

While I try and attempt to put all your concerns and doubts to rest regarding the l carnitine side effects and why you may or may not need the supplement for its associated benefits, I suggest you visit this link to understand a bit more on l carnitine.

Post which, you can refer to this article and get going on l carnitine benefits in confidence.

Side Effects of L-Carnitine

1) Weight Loss


L-carnitine is an amino acid produced by our body naturally and is often taken as a weight loss supplement. Because carnitine plays a vital role in producing more energy by carrying fatty acids to mitochondria.

Mitochondria is the biological (cells) powerhouse where much of the energy conversion happens. It is the cell structure which absorbs all nutrients feed in the body and converts them into useful energy. Another scientific fact is that muscle cells have a lot of Mitochondria cell-type because it needs more energy.

For bodybuilders, it means more fat converted into productive energy. Then, why would we even associate l carnitine side effects with weight loss?

Agreed, L-Carnitine promotes fat metabolism, however, since it is naturally produced by our body, an extra dose of it is not likely to initiate weight loss. Also, we get it through our diet, so there is no need of l carnitine supplementation.

Until you need it for a functional purpose like building muscle mass or improving exercising endurance.

The energy inducing benefits of carnitine seem convincing. The supplement also treats muscle soreness and pains. It improves exercising endurance since it reduces lactic acid build-up in muscles. It accelerates fat loss by using fatty acids as a source of energy than depending on just glucose for energy supply.

So, you may not need to depend on a high glucose diet to source the energy to exercise. Instead, you have a supplement which converts fat into useful energy and helps you build muscles.

There are many mixed researchers view on carnitine effect on body fat loss. One of the researches by the University of Maryland Medical Center substantiates this claim. The report says that carnitine supplementation aids lean muscle growth.

2) Liver

l carnitine side effects on the liver are not much talked about. Yet, I did a bit of research on the subject to know how a supplement like l carnitine, which is produced in our liver and kidney, can stress my health.

The first thing which immediately struck me- the diet source of l carnitine. It is obvious for us to find the natural food source of every nutrient before we switch to its supplement form. So, I soon discovered that l carnitine is abundant in red meat. In fact, redder the meat is, higher the content of carnitine.

Other sources include nuts, dairy products, green veggies and grains. However, the rich source is the red meat. Non-vegetarians must be mindful of taking l carnitine supplementation since it rests in the liver and an overdose of, through l carnitine supplementation, without sufficient exercise will not help.

On the contrary, vegans or vegetarian bodybuilders may need it more.

The prime logic is that l carnitine is produced in the liver, however, it is stored in other places in the body, like muscles and the brain. So, if you don’t need an extra supply for your muscles, it is not a promising idea to stress your liver to produce more of this amino acid and then, not be able to burn fat into energy.


3) Skin Rashes

l carnitine side effects on the skin are rare. It may lead to skin rashes as specified in a research by the University of Maryland Medical Center. The same research further substantiates the fact that it can happen only if you are taking a very high dose.

Another l carnitine side effect can be a fishy body odour. It is not related to a skin effect, yet, body odour can be a similar concern somewhat.

4) Cardio effects

Another plausible theory being investigated is l carnitine side effects on the heart. During the process of l Carnitine metabolism, it is converted into trimethylamine (TMA) and then, further into Trimethelamine-N-Oxide(TMAO).

TMAO is a compound which impacts cholesterol metabolism also. It prevents our body to excrete cholesterol, thus, choking our arteries. Clogged arteries can lead to heart problems, high BP and stroke.

How do we deal with l carnitine side effects then?

Even though much of the stated facts are not fully substantiated, the key takeaway for a bodybuilder should be- regulate the dose of l carnitine supplementation. It is a safe supplement and a very popular one too.

To avail its benefits, the recommended dose is 500 to 1000 mg in a day. It is important to time your dose since l carnitine is said to reduce sleep. You might just feel too much energy to get to sleep peacefully. At the beginning of this supplement consumption, you may also feel nausea and vomiting, which is not a grave concern.

It is only when you take it correctly, l carnitine can help you do bigger pumps and build a cut physique you desire. Without a lean muscle goal, every supplement is of no use, right?

Arushi Dutta

The author Arushi Dutta

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