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The effect of oral supplementation with l-carnitine on maximum and submaximum exercise capacity

  • C. Greig
  • K. M. Finch
  • D. A. Jones
  • M. Cooper
  • A. J. Sargeant
  • C. A. Forte
Article

Summary

Two trials were conducted to investigate the effects of l-carnitine supplementation upon maximum and submaximum exercise capacity. Two groups of healthy, untrained subjects were studied in double-blind cross-over trials. Oral supplementation of 2 g per day l-carnitine was used for 2 weeks in the first trial and the same dose but for 4 weeks in the second trial. Maximum and submaximum exercise capacity were assessed during a continuous progressive cycle ergometer exercise test performed at 70 rpm. In trial 1, plasma concentrations of lactate and β-hydroxybutyrate were measured pre- and post-exercise. In trial 2, pre- and post-exercise plasma lactate were measured. The results of treatment with l-carnitine demonstrated no significant changes in maximum oxygen uptake (\(\dot V_{O_{2\max } }\)) or in maximum heart rate. In trial 1, there was a small improvement in submaximal performance as evidenced by a decrease in the heart-rate response to a work-load requiring 50% of \(\dot V_{O_{2\max } }\). The more extensive trial 2 did not reproduce the significant result obtained in trial 1, that is, there was no significant decrease in heart rate at any given submaximal exercise intensity, under carnitine-supplemented conditions. Plasma metabolic concentrations were unchanged following l-carnitine, in both trials. It is concluded, that in contrast to other reports, carnitine supplementation may be of little benefit to exercise performance since the observed effects were small and inconsistent.

Key words

l-Carnitine \(\dot V_{O_{2\max } }\) Submaximum heart rate 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Greig
    • 1
  • K. M. Finch
    • 1
  • D. A. Jones
    • 1
  • M. Cooper
    • 1
  • A. J. Sargeant
    • 2
  • C. A. Forte
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity College London, Faculty Clinical SciencesLondonEngland
  2. 2.Werkgroep InspanningsfysiologieAcademic Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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