L-Carnitine is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is popular for its supposed weight-loss and neurological benefits. But, can it help you poop? I’ve done some research and here’s what I discovered!
According to NeuroNeeds.com, L-Carnitine can make stools looser at higher doses, making it a useful remedy for treating constipation. However, it is important not to overdo the dosage, as too much L Carnitine can result in negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and a “fishy” body odor.
Keep reading to find out how much L-Carnitine is safe to take daily to avoid diarrhea, as well as some interesting side effects and benefits of this supplement!
How To Prevent Diarrhea From L-Carnitine
While constipation relief is certainly something any sufferer aims for, diarrhea is definitely not anybody’s idea of fun! If you’re wanting to clear your bowels naturally and safely, then here are some tips to avoid suffering from diarrhea by taking the wrong dosage of L-Carnitine:
Get Your Dosage Right
According to Healthline, 2 grams or less of L-Carnitine per day is relatively safe and free from any harmful side effects. In fact, one study involving individuals taking 3 grams daily for 21 days revealed that not one person suffered any negative side effects, including diarrhea.
In another review of L-Carnitine’s safety, doses of approximately 2 grams a day seemed to be safe in the long-term for users. That being said, there were some mild side effects such as light nausea and some stomach discomfort, but again, no diarrhea.
If you’re wondering what the exact doses are for each form of L Carnitine, then here they are below (in terms of milligrams):
- Acetyl-L-carnitine: This form is ideal for optimal brain health and functioning. Doses can vary from 600–2,500 mg daily.
- L-carnitine L-tartrate: This form is best for those looking for a boost in exercise performance. Doses can vary from 1,000–4,000 mg daily.
- Propionyl-L-carnitine: This form is most effective for improving blood flow in those with high blood pressure or any other related health condition. Doses can vary from 400–1,000 mg daily.
In short, the optimal dose of L Carnitine is 500-2000 mg per day to enjoy the benefits and avoid any unpleasant side effects.
When Is The Best Time To Take L-Carnitine?
Since L-Carnitine is so rapidly absorbed by the body (especially when taken in liquid form), it is best to take it early in the morning or just before exercise.
For best results, do not exceed the range of 2-4 mg per day, and make sure that you divide the dose into at least two or three evenly split dosages so you do not overwhelm your system and cause diarrhea.
Additional Side Effects of L- Carnitine
While we know that too much L-Carnitine can cause stomach upset and diarrhea when consumed in excess, what other side effects can this supplement cause?
According to WebMD, individuals taking this supplement have reported the following side effects:
- Diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain
- Problems falling asleep
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased blood sugar and higher triglycerides (for those with diabetes)
- Psychosis (for those with bipolar disorder)
With that being said, there is still more research that needs to be conducted on the full effects of taking L-Carnitine in the long-term.
Does L-Carnitine Make You Lose Weight?
L-Carnitine is very commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders as it is said to assist with the burning of fat maintaining healthy body weight. But just how accurate is this?
Well, in theory, it makes complete sense to use L-Carnitine as a weight loss supplement when you look at the studies and its effects on the body. L-Carnitine assists the body to move more fatty acids into the cells so that they can be burned for energy. Logically, one would assume this increases the body’s ability to burn fat. But does it?
Well, the human body is uniquely complex, and animal studies seem to differ from human studies. For example, one eight-week study with 38 women who regularly exercised (four times a week) found there was no difference in weight loss compared to the women who took L-carnitine and those who did not.
Interestingly, five of the 30 participants taking this supplement felt nauseas and experienced diarrhea symptoms!
In another human study observing the effects of this supplement on fat burning, the results indicated that again, L-Carnitine had no effect on fat burning.
That said, one analysis of a total of nine studies (mostly with obese patients or older adults) found that they lost an average of 1.3 kgs or 2.9 pounds more weight while they were taking L-Carnitine.
However, more research still needs to be carried out to confirm the benefits of L-Carnitine on younger, active individuals. While it may seem to help with weight loss for older or obese people, a healthy diet and lifestyle still need to be adopted for any results.
The Benefits Of L-Carnitine
Effects on Brain Function
Another common reason many people take Acetyl-L-Carnitine is due to its positive effects on the brain. Some animal studies have suggested that the acetyl form of this supplement (ALCAR), may help to prevent age-related afflictions such as mental decline and can even promote markers of learning.
Human studies have suggested that taking Acetyl-L-Carnitine every day can help to reverse declining brain functioning often seen in those with Alzheimer’s or similar brain conditions.
This form of the supplement displayed similar benefits for the general functioning of the brain in older adults who did not have Alzheimer’s or any other conditions of the brain.
In very specific cases, this form of the supplement may even protect your brain from cell damage. In another study conducted over a period of 90 days, those with addictions to alcohol took 2 grams of Acetyl-L-Carnitine daily. Interestingly, they noticed significant improvements in all aspects of brain functioning.
Certain studies have indicated that L-Carnitine showed a potential for effectively reducing blood pressure inflammation associated with heart disease.
In one study, 2 grams of Acetyl-L-Carnitine daily resulted in a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure, which is a vital indicator of heart health and risk of disease.
L-Carnitine is also associated with improvements in individuals with severe heart problems, such as coronary heart disease and chronic heart failure. One 12-month study observed a reduction in heart failure and subsequent deaths among individuals who took L-Carnitine supplements.
While we have discussed L-Carnitine’s supposed weight-loss benefits, many athletes and bodybuilders turn to this supplement in order to improve their overall sports performance. However, a few studies have noted only mild benefits associated with higher, long-term dosages.
The evidence does seem to be mixed, and the benefits of this supplement may be indirect and take a good few months to appear. Here are some of the supposed benefits:
- May improve exercise recovery time.
- May increase oxygen supply to the muscles.
- May improve blood flow and nitric oxide production, which helps to delay discomfort and reduce feelings of fatigue.
- May decrease muscle soreness post-workout.
- May increase the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body and muscles.
Type 2 Diabetes
L-Carnitine may also help to reduce symptoms of type 2 diabetes and its associated risk factors, according to studies. One study involving those with type 2 diabetes on anti-diabetic medication showed that L-Carnitine supplements significantly decreased blood sugar levels when compared to a placebo.
Additionally, it may also tackle diabetes by increasing an important enzyme called AMPK, which is known to improve the body’s ability to process and use carbohydrates.