L-carnitine has other uses in the cell as well, but transporting fatty acids is its primary role. Based on this, it's become a popular supplement for weight loss, but there are no human clinical trials to validate its use for this purpose. Therefore, I've always maintained that it's likely a good adjunct nutrient that can boost the effectiveness of a weight loss program, but likely not going to be effective on its own.
Now, here is a small new pilot study that looked at exactly this. The double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study divided 24 overweight Japanese men into the following 4 groups:
- Group A: 500mg L-carnitine
- Group B: 500mg L-carnitine with motivation training
- Group C: placebo
- Group D: placebo with motivation training.
The results at the end of the study showed only Group B showed a statistically significant weight reduction of 1.1 kg compared to an increase of 0.7 kg in Group D.
The study's small sample and short duration of 4 weeks were big limitations in the study's design, but the significance of this study is how little L-carnitine (500 mg is a small dose for supplemental carnitine) was needed to to realize the weight loss benefits.
This definitely gives some much needed evidence to all those people already using L-carnitine for weight loss. Just make sure you're not relying on this in isolation.
Source: A Pilot Clinical Trial on L-Carnitine Supplementation in Combination with Motivation Training: Effects on Weight Management in Healthy Volunteers
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