Tag Archives: l-carnitine

Expert Advice for Those Who Want to Gain Weight.

Yes, as we can see from so many posts here at Metabolism.com, some folks just can’t slow their metabolism down and keep their weight up! It is true some people just have a “high metabolism”… they burn up Calories like they were a fiery furnace. My professor at Columbia University’s College of Physician and Surgeons Institute of Human Nutrition was such an individual. He was tall and thin and took part in a study where he consumed an extra 6,000 Calories per day for 2 weeks and didn’t gain a pound! This can actually be frustrating for some people and needs to be addressed as seriously as the desire for weight loss is. No one wants to just gain adipose tissue (fat) either. Most people want to gain HEALTHY WEIGHT by increasing their lean body mass/muscle. A person’s total Calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat and fluid needs depend on their height, weight, activity, gender, age, and yes, their metabolism! Metabolic rate can actually be measured by an indirect calorimetry machine. Once we know what your basal or resting metabolic rate is, we would factor in activity and other variables. It is always important to work on a weight gain program with a nutrition professional. Nutrition plans and supplementation should be developed by a professional so that you are not led astray and given misinformation. We have had inquiries about supplements such as L-carnitine and CLA for example. Always learn the basics about a supplement and see if it is really appropriate for YOU to use. I will answer quickly about L-carnitine because it is a popular supplement. Think of a CAR… it can carry things… CARnitine is like a little car that carries fatty acids across the cell membrane and into the mitochondria where they can be burned for fuel. We are able to produce carnitine ourselves and it is found in most animal based foods. However, some people may not produce enough and functional levels can be determined by a Spectracell test (see SpectraCell.com Comprehensive Nutritional Panel). Now, that is just a little Nutrition 101 for CARnitine… there is more where that came from, and as always,

Consider having an individualized consultation!

Beth Ellen DiLuglio

Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RD, CNSD, CCN, LD/N
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How does L-Carnitine work to help speed weight loss? What evidence is there that it works?

In a study of 18 overweight subjects, carnitine greatly increased weight loss. The subjects were split into two groups of 9. For 12 weeks, both groups ate a healthy diet and performed moderate exercise. One group was given 2000 mg of carnitine, and the other a placebo. In the placebo group, the average weight loss after 12 weeks was one pound. In the carnitine group, weight loss averaged 11 pounds. That’s an eleven-fold increase in weight loss, simply by increasing carnitine levels. Body fat percentage levels also decreased markedly in the carnitine group.

However, not everyone will experience such a dramatic effect of weight loss with carnitine. In a recent study, individuals taking carnitine for 8 weeks did not experience increased weight loss. So, how does one know if it is even worth trying this supplement. Well, in my experience, individuals following a reduced carbohydrate diet, and incorporating aerobics and strength training, usually find it easier to lose weight while taking carnitine on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before breakfast, when compared to those following the same protocol minus L-carnitine.

We hope all is well with you and that you find this information useful.

If you want to learn more about increasing or decreasing metabolism, losing or gaining weight, and how to use natural approaches to achieve your goals, please have a look at the new Metabolism.com book!


Articles of interest:

  • Rebouche CJ, Paulson DJ. Carnitine Metabolism and Function in Humans. Ann Rev Nutr 1986; 6:41-66.
  • Avogaro P, Bon GB, Cazzolato G, Rorai E. Acute Effects of L-carnitine on FFA and Beta-OH-Butyrate in Man. Pharmacol Res Commun 1981; 13 (5): 443-50.
  • Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000 Jun;10(2):199-207

Good Luck!

Robert L. Pastore, Ph.D., CNC, CN
Senior Nutritionist at Metabolism.com