Comparison of body fat in athletes after an L-Carnitine supplementation

  • Shared Alejandro Maldonado Domínguez Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo
  • Héctor Manuel Tlatoa Ramírez Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo
  • Mario I. Ortiz Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo


It has been shown that L-Carnitine is required to carry long chain fatty acids from the cytosol to the cell mitochondria in order to generate energy. Hypothetically, high levels of L-Carnitine in the cells may improve lipid transport on mitochondria and may increase the lipid metabolism. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of L-Carnitine in reducing body fat in Mexican soccer players. Firstly, we determined participants' body composition by bioimpedance. Participants were divided into two groups, one group was given L-Carnitine (3 g/day) and the other group was given placebo for 30 days. The teams had the same workout routine and a balanced and adequate diet. Finally, participants returned to be assessed about their body compositions. Twenty-one players were included, middle aged, weight and height of 20.9 years, 70.4 kg and 175.5 m, respectively. We did not find changes in the percentages of body fat in both groups after the treatments (p>0.05). Data leads us to conclude that supplementation with L-Carnitine for 30 days (3g/day) does not reduce the fat percentage in soccer players.


[1] Malaguarnera, M., Cammalleri, L., Pia, G.M., Vacante, M., Colonna, V., Motta, M. L-Carnitine treatment reduces severity of physical and mental fatigue and increases cognitive functions in centenarians: a randomized and controlled clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 86: 1738–44.

[2] . Peniche, C., Boullosa, B. Nutrición Aplicada al Deporte. 2011. México, D.F., Mc Graw Hill.

[3] . Wolinsky, I., Driskell, J.A. Nutritional Ergogenic Aids. 2004. United States of America: CRC Press.

[4] . Dunford, M. Sports Nutrition: a practice manual for professionals, (4ta Ed.). 2006. American Dietetic Association.

[5] . Clark, N. La Guía de la Nutrición Deportiva. México, D.F., 2006. México: Ed. Paidotribo.

[6] . F-MARC. Nutrición Para el Fútbol FIFA. 2007. Recuperado de

[7] . World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) (2013). Lista de Sustancias y Métodos Prohibidos. Recuperado de:

[8] . Kreider, R. B., Wilborn, C.D., Taylor, L. et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: Research & Recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2010; 7:7.

[9] . Drăgan, G.I., Vasiliu, A., Georgescu, E., Dumas, I. Studies concerning chronic and acute effects of L-Carnitine on some biological parameters in elite athletes. Physiologie. 1987; 24(1): 23-8.

[10] Arenas, J., Ricoy, J.R., Encinas, A.R., Pola, P., D’Iddio, M., Zeviani, M., Didonato, S., Corsi, M. Carnitine in muscle, serum and urine of nonprofessional athletes: effects of physiological exercise, training, and L- Carnitine administration. Muscle Nerve, 1991; 14: 598-604.

[11] Trappe, S.W., Costill, D.L., Goodpaster, B., Vukovich, M.D., Fink, W.J. The effects of L-Carnitine supplementation on performance during interval swimming. Int J Sports Med, 1994; 15: 181–5.

[12] Brass, E.P. Supplemental Carnitine and exercise. Am J. Clin Nutr; 2001; 72(2): 618-23.

[13] Natali, A., Santoro, D., Brandi, L.S. et al. Effects of acute hyperCarnitinemia during increased fatty substrate oxidation in man. Metabolism, 1993; 42:594–600.

[1] Vukovich, M.D., Costill, D.L., Fink, W.J. Carnitine supplementation: effect on muscle Carnitine and glycogen content during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1994; 26: 1122–9.

[15] Siliprandi, N., Di Lisa, F., Pieralisi, G., Ripari, P., Maccari, F., Menabo, R., Giamberardino, M.A. Vecchiet, L. Metabolic changes induced by maximal exercise in human subjects following L-Carnitine administration. Biochim Biophys Acta 1990; 1034:17–21.

[16] Vecchiet, L., Di Lisa, F., Pieralisi, G., Ripari, P., Menabo, R., Giamberardino, M.A., Siliprandi, N. Influence of L -Carnitine administration on maximal physical exercise. Eur J App Phys 1990; 61:486–90.

[17] Soop, M., Björkman, O., Cederblad, G., Hagenfeldt, L., Wahren, J. Influence of Carnitine supplementation on muscle substrate and Carnitine metabolism during exercise. J Appl Physiol, 1988; 64(6): 2394-9.

[18] Wyss, V., Ganzit, G.P., Rienzi, A. Effects of L-Carnitine administration on VO2 max and the aerobic-anaerobic threshold in normoxia and acute hypoxia. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 1990; 601-6.

19. Marconi, C., Sassi, G., Carpinelli, A., Cerretelli, P. Effects of L-Carnitine loading on the aerobic and anaerobic performance of endurance athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 1985; 54(2):131-5.

[20] Volek, J.S., Kraemer, W.J., Rubin, M.R., Gómez, A.L., Ratamess, N.A., Gaynor, P. L-Carnitine L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2002; 282(2): 474-82.

[21] Greig, C., Finch, K.M., Jones, D.A., Cooper, M., Sargeant, A.J., Forte, C.A. The effect of oral supplementation with L-Carnitine on maximum and submaximum exercise capacity. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol., 1987; 56(4): 457-60.

[22] Oyono-Enguelle, S., Freund, H., Ott, C.,Gartner, M., Heitz, A., Marbach, J., et al. Prolonged submaximal exercise and L-Carnitine in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 1988; 58 (1-2): 53-61.

[23] Gorostiaga, E.M., Maurer, C.A., Eclache, J.P. Decrease in respiratory quotient during exercise following L-Carnitine supplementation. Int J Sports Med, 1989; 10(3): 169-74.

[24] Huertas, R., Campos, Y., Diaz, E., Esteban, J., Vechietti, L., Montanari, G., et al. Respiratory chain enzymes in muscle of endurance athletes: effect of L-Carnitine. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1992; 188(1):102-107

[25] Arenas, J., Huertas, R., Campos, Y., Diaz, A.E., Villalón, J.M., Vilas, E. Effects of L-Carnitine on the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex and Carnitine palmitoyl transferase activities in muscle of endurance athletes. FEBS Lett, 1994; 341:91-3.

[26] Wutzke, K.D., Lorenz H. The Effect of L-Carnitine on Fat Oxidation, Protein Turnover, and Body Composition in Slightly Overweight Subjects. Metabolism. 2004; 53(8):1002-6.