Even if you’re burning calories, you might not be burning fat, which is why people looking for a solution to losing weight keep turning to fat burner supplements to try and guarantee success.
CLA and L-carnitine are two of the most popular non-stimulant based weight loss supplements on the market. Tested, trusted, and viewed as being safe, both compounds are heavily supported by dozens of studies and used in weight loss supplements sold worldwide.
But if you’re looking to lose weight, should you turn to CLA or L-carnitine? Which is the better choice to add to your supplement stack, and which one is more effective at burning away the pounds?
Below we’ll put them head to head – CLA vs L-carnitine: which is best…
What Is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is naturally produced by your body and can be found in many common foods.
It is also found in the digestive system of ruminant animals like cows and goats. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory also regularly sold as a supplement to help with weight control and fat loss.
The way it works is by preventing the activity of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL,) which instructs your body to store excess fat.
This means CLA literally intercepts the enzymes that cause your body to absorb fat and prevents you from absorbing some of the fat from the food that you eat.
Theoretically, this means you could change nothing about your diet, and by taking a CLA supplement, still potentially lose body fat.
Usage and Effects
According to the research, regular use of CLA as a supplement can:
- Reduce overall levels of body fat
- Improve your glycemic profile (blood glucose levels)
- Strengthen the immune system
- Prevent fatty acid build-up, helping to prevent long-term health issues
CLA is relatively easy to supplement as it is considered safe, with minimal side effects.
Generally sold in pill or capsule form and available over the counter. CLA supplements can normally be taken daily without issue and is a very safe supplement to use or integrate into your existing health and supplement plan.
Unlike many supplements advertised as fat burners, CLA has no thermogenic effect. This means that it doesn’t increase your body temperature, blood pressure, or make you feel hot or uncomfortable as part of its process.
CLA and Exercise
Studies into the effects of CLA also notice a strong positive association with physical activity. People who exercised and took the supplement reported greater weight loss and loss of fatty tissue, compared to people who didn’t exercise.
There is also a possible link between CLA supplementation, physical endurance, and stamina, with participants in studies able to work for longer periods after several days of taking the supplement.
CLA Side Effects
The side effects of CLA supplementation are minimal and tend to be linked with overuse. Potential side effects might include digestive issues, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
What Is L-Carnitine
L-carnitine is a fatty acid that’s produced by your body, primarily your brain, liver, and kidneys.
More than 98% of your body’s L-carnitine stores are in your muscles, and are constantly being used up and refreshed, as it has a vital role in your body’s functions.
Some of these include; Aiding in muscle movement, helping with the function of most major organs including your heart and brain, and of course, encouraging your body to turn fat stores into energy.
L-carnitine is mostly gained from your diet, predominantly sources of protein. Meat, milk, fish, and poultry all contain L-carnitine, but the single best source is red meat; a steak contains more than 10 times the equivalent L-carnitine compared to its weight in fish or poultry.
Usage and Effects
L-carnitine affects fatty acid transportation, aiding the movement of fatty acids throughout the body, and encouraging more fat to be burned by your cells for energy, which can cause weight loss. Noted beneficial effects of L-carnitine supplementation include:
- A reduction in overall body weight, with a higher effect on people who are already overweight
- Increased strength
- Higher levels of antioxidants in the bloodstream
- Quicker recovery periods
- Reduced muscle soreness
- A host of other health benefits, including lower blood pressure and healthier brain function
Under normal circumstances, a healthy diet that’s high in protein will provide enough L-carnitine for most people.
The supplement is also regularly used under medical circumstances for people who might be obese or who have dietary issues or a carnitine deficiency.
Levels of L-Carnitine naturally decrease with age, and heavy exercise can also burn through our body’s stores, which makes carnitine supplementation a good option for anyone middle-aged, or people who spend a lot of time in intense physical activity.
L-Carnitine also shows a strong correlation with exercise, increasing overall performance, strength, endurance, and recovery times, and reducing lactic acid build-up.
All of this points to L-Carnitine supplementation as an effective fat loss treatment for anyone who regularly engages in physical exercise.
See also – When is the best time to take L-carnitine
Side Effects of L-Carnitine
L-Carnitine is generally safe as a supplement when taken in low doses. In clinical trials, participants who took 2 grams per day for a year, or 4 grams per day for around two months, showed no adverse effects.
Possible side effects of carnitine overuse include nausea, diarrhea, cramps, and unusual body odor which isn’t too dissimilar to CLA side effects from excessive consumption.
CLA vs L-Carnitine: Which Supplement Is Best for Fat Loss
You should choose a CLA supplement when:
As CLA is a fat intake inhibitor, you should lean towards a CLA supplement if you eat a diet that’s already high in fats, for example, the keto diet.
CLA is also a good option if you’re looking to lose a few pounds of fat without adding more exercise or increasing current levels of exertion, or you have dietary or health issues that prevent you from increasing your level of exercise.
You should choose an L-Carnitine supplement when:
As L-carnitine is far more effective when combined with exercise, you should choose it as a supplement when you already have a workout plan in place, or you already sustain a high level of physical activity, in or out of the gym.
Related – How to take L-carnitine
Can CLA and L-Carnitine Be Taken Together?
The decision to choose between CLA and carnitine supplements can seem complicated. But there is an easy solution.
You can take both.
Both CLA and L-carnitine are safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive fat loss supplements. Both are easy to take, are fine for people new to supplementation, and should also be safe to be added into your existing supplement stack without causing issues.
CLA and L-carnitine are a very effective combination of supplements that help you burn fat because they have been clinically shown to work synergistically.
Because one burns existing body fat as a fuel source and the other focuses on preventing your body from absorbing more fat from your diet, both supplements work in cohesion, attacking the problem from both angles.
That’s why it’s very common to find supplements that contain either CLA or L-Carnitine to also contain the other compound.
Disclaimer – As always this is not medical advice and is for informational purposes only. If you have pre-existing health concerns, always speak to your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.
It’s clear that CLA and L-Carnitine can both be effective at helping you burn body fat and lose weight, but which one is best is far less clear-cut and depends a whole lot on your current situation.
Both compounds can help you cut the pounds, but use different methods and don’t affect your body in the same way.
Both will offer different benefits depending on your current diet and level of physical activity.
Whether you’re a runner, you lift weights, or you simply work an active job, both will have an effect on your physique, and should enable you to hit your goals easier.
But when it comes to making a choice, while you can choose one supplement, if you’re serious about losing stubborn body fat, then our recommendation is to choose a supplement that contains both CLA and L-carnitine.
This is because of the wide availability of supplements that contain both compounds, the cost staying low, and most importantly, the increased effectiveness of the supplement.
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