European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 95, Issue 5–6, pp 431–435 | Cite as

l-Carnitine and the recovery from exhaustive endurance exercise: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

  • Christoph Stuessi
  • Pierre Hofer
  • Christian Meier
  • Urs BoutellierEmail author
Original Article


We hypothesised that l-carnitine could accelerate recovery from exhaustive exercise since increased blood l-carnitine concentrations elicit a vasodilation in isolated animal vessels as well as in patients with peripheral vascular or coronary artery disease during exercise. Twelve subjects received either 2 g l-carnitine or a placebo in a study which was double-blind and crossover in design. Two hours after administration, the subjects performed a constant-load exercise test (CET1) cycling at their individual anaerobic threshold to exhaustion. Three hours later this test was repeated (CET2). After 4–14 days, each subject performed the same cycling tests after having taken the other substance. Exercise times of the 12 subjects were identical with l-carnitine (CET1: 21.3±5.7 min; CET2: 21.4±5.3 min) and placebo (CET1: 21.9±6.2 min; CET2: 20.4±4.8 min). Also, heart rate, oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio, and blood lactate concentration were identical. In conclusion, 2 g of L-carnitine taken 2 h before a first of two constant-load exercise tests had no influence on the second tests performed 3 h after the first test compared with placebo.


Constant-load exercise Vasodilative effect Endurance performance 



We thank Sigma-Tau Switzerland, who kindly supplied identical l-carnitine and placebo tablets, and Wander, who donated Isostar.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Stuessi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pierre Hofer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian Meier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Urs Boutellier
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Exercise Physiology, Institute of Human Movement SciencesSwiss Federal Institute of Technology of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of PhysiologyUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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