Energy – at the level of the muscle, whole-body, and brain – is key to better performance. But what can you do to adjust these important factors?
Today we’re going to discuss L-Carnitine and what it can do to support these processes. By the end of this brief article, you’ll understand what Carnitine is for and what it can do for your energy levels in the brain, body, and the muscles specifically.
We’re also going to discuss the best form of Carnitine supplement, what to combine it with, and what separates products like the Performance Lab ENERGY Carnitine Supplement from low-quality supplements on the market!
Read on if you want better energy levels through healthy, exercise-boosting nutritional supplementation!
What is Carnitine?
Carnitine is a metabolically important compound that also plays a crucial role in the muscles. Proper muscle carnitine balance is crucial for effective movement and force production at every level – deficiency is widely associated with weakness, poor endurance, and increased muscular damage.
Carnitine is also an important compound for proper fatty acid metabolism. If you’re running low on carnitine then you’re likely to experience poor fat-oxidation. This means reduced ability to metabolize bodyfat effectively, as well as the fats from your diet.
Finally, deficiency in carnitine seems to make your mood/focus very poor. This is seen in healthy populations, as well as the elderly, and children with autism/ADHD.
This is an unusual combination of effects, but the result is a compound that you really do need to be conscious of. The varied effects of these compounds just speak to the seriousness with which you should treat carnitine levels and the possibility of sub-optimal intake!
The Best Carnitine Supplementation: L-Carnitine vs ALCAR
Everything we’re going to talk about discusses the importance of carnitine in the body, but what about getting it there? Is plain old L-Carnitine the best form of supplementation, or does it work better in other formats, such as ALCAR?
Regular L-Carnitine is a sub-optimal choice of supplement for increasing carnitine in the body, due to limitations with digestion and uptake – meaning that there’s a challenge getting supplementary carnitine to boost body carnitine levels.
Fortunately, ALCAR or acetyl-L-Carnitine is a superior form of carnitine that is more bioavailable, crossing the blood-brain barrier easily and is therefore more effective at raising carnitine levels in the body. Plus, it also provides acetyl groups for improved mental wellbeing.
ALCAR is available in our favorite energy supplement, Performance Lab Energy. Even better, it is combined with Piperine, a black pepper extract that helps to boost absorption rates of all other ingredients, such as PQQ, CoQ10, and R-Lipoic acid. These combined compounds boost the absorption and effectiveness of ALCAR.
L-Carnitine isn’t enough. You need a product that contains ALCAR and takes the science of better supplementation seriously!
Does Carnitine Affect Energy Levels?
The big question! Whether L-Carnitine boosts energy levels is intimately tied to what interpretation of energy levels you want to use. One of the important things to remember is that “energy levels” has a different interpretation at every level we’ve discussed.
We’re going to discuss three key areas where Carnitine interacts with energy levels: psychological, metabolic, and muscular changes. The benefits of these are specific and we’ll take you through what you need to know.
Energy: mental and mood
Energy levels can often refer to the way that you feel, the “energy” you have and the ability to do things that you’re experiencing. We can break down the psychological energy levels associated with Carnitine into two key areas: cognition and mood.
On the cognitive side, Carnitine is important for ensuring proper focus and mental performance. These are important factors in your perceived energy levels since they impact on your ability to deal with fatigue at the psychological level.
On the other hand, but entirely connected, Carnitine is associated with the maintenance and regulation of mood. Deficiency in carnitine is tied to depression and other mood disorders.
ALCAR, the version of carnitine included in Performance Lab Energy, is a nootropic – meaning it has the power to improve elements of cognition. It helps:
- To boost brain energy (by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells in the brain where it is used for energy production)
- Acetylcholine formation (as a vital component); this neurotransmitter aids fluid thought, memory and alertness
- Strengthen blood flow to the brain; has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.
Proper carnitine levels can support and regulate energy levels if you mean “how energetic do you feel?”. This is a complex matter and you can’t fix it with carnitine alone if other areas – like sleep and nutrition – are falling short. However, it can provide acute support to better mood and mental performance!
Energy: metabolic implications of carnitine consumption
At the metabolic level, the whole body needs healthy carnitine levels to produce energy from food and transfer/regulate itself effectively.
One of the key roles is in the effectiveness of the mitochondria producing energy from food. As we all know, the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, and they’re a key player in the proper health and function of the muscle tissues during endurance exercise.
Through this mechanism, carnitine can directly support metabolic wellbeing and indirectly support endurance performance when it comes to the energy processes underlying it. This is an important part of the processes that support better performance.
This isn’t the only meaningful change, however, as carnitine levels also support proper glucose metabolism. This is a key factor in the risk and symptoms of diabetes, while also improving arterial health and reducing the risk of oxidative damage.
Overall, the effects of carnitine are beneficial in various degrees throughout the body. At the system level, where whole systems of the body are improved through better energy or antioxidant effects, benefits tend to be to overall wellbeing.
This is the most general, literal way in which carnitine supports better energy levels. It’s a compound that improves your ability to produce energy, with all the knock-on benefits that provides. This is why we love seeing it combined with other health supporting compounds, like the PQQ and CoQ10 in Performance Lab’s Energy supplement.
Combinations like this support better health, while combinations with creatine support performance more effectively. This provides better muscular energetics and compliments the anti-fatigue effects, so consider combining carnitine supplementation with a product like Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout for creatine benefits!
Energy: carnitine in muscular energetics
The muscles are obviously an important part of improving your wellbeing and fitness. Through changes to the muscles, carnitine plays an important role in exercise and performance. These are a good representation of “energy levels”, especially with how they relate to fatigue.
The first way that carnitine supports muscular energy levels is through addressing deficiency. Insufficient carnitine levels are directly associated with reduced muscular endurance, where muscular energetics are limited. This means you can’t replace lost energy during endurance, directly limiting your ability to perform.
This is most significant in those who are at-risk of deficiency or need specific support. These include the elderly, who have diminished muscular function, or those using a plant-based diet where carnitine levels are likely to be deficient.
Why Fighting Fatigue Is Important
Carnitine’s benefits for endurance are anti-fatigue. This is literally the best way to understand how it affects energy levels: it helps you fight off tiredness and extend time to exhaustion and repeated-bout performance.
This also carries over to other areas in life, where activity will feel less tiring and you’ll be more able to support activity levels. This is a great benefit for its knock-on to improved physical activity and capacity for fat loss, where endurance volume is important.
Being more resilient to fatigue – both mentally and at the muscular level – add up to better performance. They allow you to chase endurance and fat-loss goals more effectively without being burdened by failure or fatigue as easily.
- Reductions in muscle damage/improvements in recovery stimuli/environment
Another great way that carnitine can affect energy levels and performance is through reducing muscle damage. This is a common concern for exercise, where muscular damage is a significant factor in soreness, recovery time, and the risk of de-training or over-training.
This is an important part of the long-term energy levels of muscles, as well as the short-term changes to endurance we’ve already discussed. Reduced muscular damage contributes to less soreness (which is always great) and supports a more effective recovery/growth process.
The combination of regular energetic improvements through the mitochondria, combined with these benefits to both muscular endurance and damage-resilience, add up. You’re likely to see an improved total response to these changes in (specifically endurance) exercise.
This is great because the best results come from maximizing your output and mechanical tension while reducing muscular damage. Carnitine supports this process at every step.
- Reduced cramping
Finally, one of the benefits of Carnitine for muscular energy and performance comes from reductions to cramping. This is the result of improved ionic kinetics in the muscles and an improved response to the build-up of both lactate, pyruvate, and calcium ions.
Basically, improving your carnitine levels reduces the risk of poor chemical balance in the muscles, as well as improving their resilience to mechanical/repeated use damage.
The ability to improve muscular health is associated with energy levels in the short- and mid-term, as well as just being a great way to support your fitness goals. This is another reason that Carnitine is worth considering as a supplement for your goals, especially if they involve high exercise volume.
By now, you should have realized that the answer to this article’s question is a resounding yes: Carnitine DOES boost energy levels. It does so in three different ways, with the benefits so far reaching that it should improve overall health and wellbeing.
Boosting the energy levels of the mind, metabolism and muscles, and fighting off fatigue, can help everywhere from the gym to the office to your free time.
That’s why we heartily recommend a natural supplement like Performance Lab Energy which boosts said energy at a cellular level and does so using a superior form of carnitine – with additional nootropic benefits – in ALCAR (750mg).
Performance Lab Energy also includes:
- R-Lipoic Acid (150mg), a universal antioxidant, which helps to tackle stress in the cells as well as helping to boost acetylcholine production
- CoQ10 (100mg), a vitamin-like compound with exceptional energizing properties thanks to its influence on ATP energy in the cells.
- Antioxidant PQQ (10mg), which helps to improve the function of mitochondria and encourage the growth of new ones.
- Black Pepper Extract (2.5mg), as mentioned above, to boost the absorption of the above.
Together, this makes Performance Lab Energy one of the most effective natural energy supplements – without stimulants – currently on the market.