As is the case with the majority of supplements, what you take is only part of the equation.
For maximum efficacy and effectiveness with supplementation, how you take a supplement can be just as important (if not more important) than what you actually take!
L-Carnitine is a supplement typically used for fat metabolism which means people take it to support fat loss.
How to take L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine can be consumed in 500mg – 2,000mg doses. Depending on the strength of the dose, the supplement should be taken 1 – 2 times daily. While the supplement can come in different forms (pill, liquid, powder), how you take it will vary depending on the specific product or brand.
As there are different types and uses of L-Carnitine, in this article, I’m going to cover how you should take it for maximum effectiveness and when it is best to take it.
In another article, I’ve also covered when the best time is to take L-Carnitine.
What Is L-Carnitine?
L-carnitine is naturally occurring, meaning it’s produced by the body, as an amino-acid like chemical that helps to turn fat into energy. L-Carnitine supplements come in different forms including liquids, pills, and powders.
L-Carnitine supplements can be used for weight loss, especially fat loss, or by those wanting to push their workouts. They work by reducing the build-up of lactic acid which can cause fatigue as well as discomfort when exercising and therefore can enable you to workout for longer, increasing endurance.
As well as increasing stamina, L-Carnitine has been shown to boost energy, which is great if you’re looking for a buzz before a workout. It can also help to aid muscle movement, increase the oxygen supply to muscles, and help with post-workout recovery.
Check out this video which gives a great overview of L-Carnitine and its benefits:
As an increasingly popular supplement, it’s important to consider how to take L-Carnitine, as well as what other supplements you can mix it with!
How to Take L-Carnitine
How you take L-Carnitine will depend on which type of supplement you’re using. Usually, you’ll be given directions for use on the product, for example, if you’re using a powdered form then it will recommend mixing with a liquid like water and should give you the ratio of powder to liquid.
In terms of dosage, most people take 2 grams or less per day (equivalent to 500mg – 2,000mg depending on the product), which has proven to be a relatively safe dose usually without side effects. It’s recommended that L-Carnitine supplements are taken in separate doses at different points in the day.
If you’re taking L-Carnitine to maximize your workout performance and increase energy levels when doing a workout, then it’s best to take it 30 minutes to an hour before a workout. This gives your body time to absorb the supplement, and for the supplement to reach maximum effectiveness.
I’d then recommend taking another dose post-workout to aid your recovery. This dose can be taken with food as there’s research that suggests that L-Carnitine supplements are more effective when taken with carbohydrates as this spikes insulin, enhancing absorption.
So, it would be a good idea to take this second dose with a carb-heavy meal.
Can You Take L-Carnitine on an Empty Stomach?
You can take L-Carnitine supplements on an empty stomach, and some people find that taking L-Carnitine this way helps with faster uptake and absorption leading to increased benefits.
However, there are potential side effects with taking L-Carnitine on an empty stomach and some products will recommend against taking it this way. This is because the drawbacks of using L-Carnitine can include bloating, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea. For some people, this is more likely to happen if they haven’t eaten beforehand.
So if you want to take L-Carnitine on an empty stomach it’s best to try it and see if you experience side effects. If you do experience any of these problems then you could try taking it with a small amount of food or with a meal to see if the side effects continue.
What Can You Mix L-Carnitine With?
Many of us want to maximize the benefits of supplements like L-Carnitine by mixing them with other products. However, not all products can be safely stacked together. Here I’m going to explain what products you can mix L-Carnitine with, focusing on the most popular products on the market.
It’s important to note though when mixing different ingredients and products you should always be cautious and follow the guidance that’s available on the products you’re using.
Can You Take L-Carnitine and Pre-Workout Together?
Pre-workouts are an increasingly popular way to boost workout energy and enhance workout performance. Pre-workouts can be taken with L-Carnitine because L-Carnitine doesn’t contain any form of stimulant, such as caffeine, which is the central component in pre-workout supplements.
As L-Carnitine doesn’t contain stimulants it can be taken alongside pre-workout supplements as well as other pre-workouts, such as coffee and energy drinks.
Although it’s uncommon, just make sure your pre-workout supplement doesn’t already contain L-Carnitine. If it does then don’t take it as a separate supplement, or just stick with coffee or energy drinks for your pre-workout, because you can end up going over the recommended dose which can lead to side effects.
Can You Mix L-Carnitine With Creatine?
Creatine is another widely popular supplement that most of us will already be familiar with. A commonly asked question is if L-Carnitine and creatine can be taken together. The good news is that they can.
Creatine can be taken with L-Carnitine as no interactions have been found between the two supplements. Stacking these products together can be beneficial as it can help to maximize workout benefits including promoting muscle growth.
Can You Take L-Carnitine With Fat Burners?
Fat burners are a supplement that’s supposed to help burn excess fat. To date, there isn’t much research on taking L-Carnitine with fat burners, but I wouldn’t recommend taking them together.
You shouldn’t take L-Carnitine with fat burners because fat burners sometimes contain L-Carnitine as one of their ingredients. As a result, if you took these two products together you could inadvertently be taking higher than the recommended dose, which could make you sick.
Also, L-Carnitine has the potential to burn fat. In theory, then, fat burners and L-Carnitine shouldn’t be taken together because they’re doing similar things.
What Should You Mix Liquid L-Carnitine With?
Liquid L-Carnitine can be mixed with water or other liquids like juice, energy drinks, and electrolyte drinks. To do this effectively you need the right ratio of liquid L-Carnitine to other liquid, with at least 5ml of water or juice per teaspoon of liquid L-Carnitine.
The liquid L-Carnitine product you’re using should give you information on what to mix it with and what ratio of liquid to use.
L-Carnitine is not a magic supplement, nor is it an overly complicated supplement. Depending on the type of L-Carnitine supplement you take, how you take it could be relatively straightforward.
As a general rule of thumb, you should look to consume a dosage of 500mg – 2,000mg per day depending on the product and your individual goals and medical recommendations (before taking supplementation you should always seek medical advice from your registered practitioner or GP).
All L-Carnitine supplements will have different instructions for how to take it, though the simplest form is through a pill. These can be taken 1-2 times daily and the brand will specify if this should be taken with a meal or on an empty stomach.
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