L-Carnitine reduces muscle damage in athletes

Strenuous exercise results in the production of free radicals that can compromise and delay the recovery process. Therefore, approaches to decrease oxidative stress may be useful for active individuals.

L-Carnitine is a nutrient that has been shown to accelerate the use of fat for fuel, but it may also have antioxidant effects as well.

In a recent study, healthy men either supplemented with carnitine (2 grams per day) for 14 days or took a placebo. They then ran 8.7 miles on a track as fast as they could. Total antioxidant capacity of the blood was increased after 14 days of supplementation, and the response to exercise was augmented as well.

Measures of lipid peroxidation, a measure of oxidative stress, were significantly lower in the carnitine group immediately after exercise and 2 hours and 24 hours after exercise. Two measures of muscle damage, creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, were both lower in the carnitine group 24 hours after exercise. These results are consistent with previous work showing that supplementation with 2 grams of L-Carnitine per day for several weeks mitigates the stress response to exercise.


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