Nutrition and Diet

What is Carnitine and L-Carnitine and the Difference between them

Many times, using carnitine supplement is confusing for the fitness trainers. Many fitness programs incorporate carnitine supplement, yet many doubt and associate this supplement with heart risk.

A popular variety of carnitine, used in the making of many athletic supplements is l carnitine. People consider Carnitine and L-carnitine as same, which should not.

In this paper, we will discuss what is carnitine, what is l carnitine, why they are important in our body, and what is the difference between them.

What is Carnitine

Carnitine is often baffled to be a type of amino acid. In fact, lysine and methionine (types of amino acid) are responsible for producing carnitine in our body.

There are four common types of carnitine:

  • L-Carnitine
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine (commonly called as ALCAR)
  • L- Carnitine L- Tartrate (LCLT)
  • Propionyl L-Carnitine (It is usually taken in combination of Glycine and is called as GPLC)

Each type of carnitine has specific benefits in the fitness industry and in medicine. L- carnitine is popular among the athletes and trainers. Some supplement manufacturers use a combination of all or some types of carnitine to target particular benefit.

What is the role of carnitine in our body?


Carnitine is naturally produced in our body. It is also found in abundance in natural food sources like red meat, nuts, grains, green vegetables, and dairy products. In the absence of carnitine, our body becomes unable to use fat as a fuel. This results in obesity. It might also lead to enlarged liver, depreciated growth, and muscle weakness. That is why we say, carnitine is important in our body. If our body is unable to produce sufficient amount of carnitine, then it is harmless to use the carnitine supplement.

Are you thinking that since carnitine is a product of amino acid, then why not take BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) supplements instead of carnitine?

(You can read more about what is BCAA here)

Well, we would say, it depends on your body’s requirement. You might be able to accomplish the amino acids requirement through natural food sources or supplement. But, the problem lies in the body’s inability to produce sufficient carnitine. So, you can always opt for incorporating carnitine supplement into your routine.

So, we have seen that L-Carnitine is a type of carnitine. In the following section, we will discuss more what is L carnitine.

What is L Carnitine

L carnitine is a popular fitness supplement. It is also used in the weight loss programs. L carnitine helps in transporting our body fat to the mitochondria. Mitochondria is a part of the cell, called as the powerhouse of the cell. It burns the fat to release energy. During exercise, we can use this energy produced from the fat metabolism.

The other forms of l carnitine have the following benefits:

  • Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) : It is mostly used in medicine for cognitive enhancement.
  • L- Carnitine L- Tartrate (LCLT) : It is useful for enhancing physical performance and delivers higher power output.
  • Propionyl L-Carnitine (GPLC) : It is useful for regulating blood flow, commonly used in medicine and with slow digesting supplements.

Apart from these, among men, L carnitine is beneficial for improving sperm quality and motility (ability to move without help).

In the next section, we will explore more about the difference between carnitine and l carnitine.


What is the Difference between Carnitine and L Carnitine?

One of the obvious differences between carnitine and l carnitine is- carnitine is a superset, with multiple advantages. It is capable of providing both medicinal and physical benefits. L carnitine helps in improving physical performance and provides energy for intense training. We will now discuss the targeted differences between these two supplements.


Another notable difference between carnitine and l carnitine is in the amount of their dose. The standard dose for carnitine ranges from 1000 to 4000 mg per day. The recommended dose for L carnitine ranges between 500 mg and 2000 mg.

Molecular Structure

L carnitine is the simplest form of carnitine. As mentioned above, the other complex forms of carnitine are- ALCAR, LCLT, and GPLC.

Absorption by the body

Because of simpler molecular structure, L carnitine has the highest absorption rate than other variants.

Effect on Aging

Carnitine supports slow aging because of the presence of Acetyl L Carnitine (ALCAR). Simple L carnitine incorporates no such effect.

Effect on Weight Loss

L carnitine is more effective for weight loss than carnitine.

You can read more about the effects of L carnitine for weight loss here. (Ref: ND 26)

Side Effects

Both carnitine and l carnitine is free from side effects when taken in recommended dose and accompanied by a regular exercise routine. In case you feel allergic after starting these supplements, then you should inform your physician and trainer immediately.

When to use carnitine and l carnitine

We suggest setting your goal first. For example, for a set time period, you should be sure about what benefit you want to achieve through the training. Accordingly, you can select between carnitine and l carnitine or other fitness supplements.

If your goal is weight loss, achieving higher energy level, and enhancing performance; then l carnitine is suitable. If you want general benefits like endurance, blood pressure, or other health advantages, then you can go for carnitine. We also suggest consulting the expert for the dose you require. And you should keep the expert informed about the allergies you already have with certain food so that he can better recommend the suitability of these supplement for you.

Folks, we hope you found the information about what is carnitine and what is the difference between carnitine and l carnitine useful. If you have any queries regarding the supplement, feel free to drop your comment. We would be happy to help.

Happy Workout!


Keyur Malani

The author Keyur Malani

Keyur Malani is a certified content writer who finds his true passion in fitness and bodybuilding. Apart from his contribution to Myfitfuel blog, he also guides people in their diet and training routines. When he's not writing articles and breaking Deadlift PRs, he's learning life lessons on brain pickings and cooking his post workout meals.
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