When is the Best Time to Take L-Carnitine Supplement: All Questions Answered

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L-carnitine is a controversial supplement. Not that it’s unsafe, but the results of the supplement are well-debated.

However, we are not here to discuss the benefits of l-carnitine. Rather, we have gathered for another vital purpose that affects your results.

As we have seen, many people are not sure when to take l-carnitine

Should you take it before workouts? Or, in the morning? Can you have it before bed?

Today, we will answer all your questions on the conditionally essential amino acid. We will discuss when is the best time to take l-carnitine for a number of fitness goals and objectives. Let’s begin with the most popular one, for which most people take the supplement.

When Should You Take L-Carnitine for Weight Loss?

Many fat burners come with l-carnitine for its weight loss benefits. The amino acid helps transport fat cells to your cells for the production of energy.  Many studies show supplementation to help participants in losing fat.

However, you will need to exercise to lose weight; there’s no way around! Even the best fat burners will fail if you don’t combine them with regular exercise. 

Now, you need the energy to exercise and burn the fat in your body. And we assume everyone will like a boost of energy to help them exercise harder and longer to lose more weight.

We already know l-carnitine plays a role in energy production, and more of it can lead to more energy. 

As a result, having your supplement before working out can have performance benefits. You will get more energy to exert yourself better, and that will help you burn more fat

So take your carnitine supplement before exercising if you want to lose more weight

Note: Some experts suggest dividing your dose into several parts. You can take a dose before workouts and the rest throughout the day between meals. One dose can also be taken with meals.

When is the Best Time to Take Carnitine for Performance?

What’s true for weight loss is also true for athletic performance. It’s ultimately the energy that helps you improve your power, stamina, and strength.

Carnitine reaches your muscles directly and helps in the production of ATP. You can say the amino acid works in similar ways as creatine to fuel muscle power. 

Along with that, l-carnitine improves circulation and boosts the production of nitric oxide. You get more oxygen and nutrients delivered to your muscles for extra stamina. As a result, you can feel a difference in your performance. 

Now, carnitine takes about 30 – 45-minutes to work. So, taking your supplement before exercising is best to improve strength and endurance. 

Research shows the energy-generating capacity of carnitine is more effective during intensive exercise. Add that as another reason for taking your supplement before training. 

Note: You need to take carnitine supplements for some time to feel the results.

When Should You Take L-Carnitine for Recovery?

Some studies suggest carnitine to facilitate recovery. The nitric oxide produced by the amino acid helps you delay fatigue and discomfort.

You can reduce your tiredness and stay energetic for your next workout session.

Your supplement may also help alleviate muscle soreness, cramps, and discomfort.

As you know, l-carnitine takes around half-hour to start working. That means you should give your body enough time to absorb and transport the carnitine to your muscles. 

Having your supplement closer to working out provides more recovery gains. You can also take your supplement afterward, but that will delay the recovery process.

What you can do is consume your carnitine just before working out.

Another way is to take one dose before exercising, and one right after. This can maximize your recovery gains. People who take the supplement for performance can also time their intake around workouts.

When is the Best Time to Take Carnitine to Improve Brain Function?

Carnitine, especially acetyl-L-carnitine or ALCAR, may improve brain functions. Several studies prove ALCAR to check mental decline due to aging.

It can even boost markers of learning and prevent the decline of brain functions due to many diseases.

If you are taking carnitine for cognition, you can have your supplement any time you want. You can even divide your dose into parts and take them throughout the day.

When Should You Have L-Carnitine for Heart Health?

Carnitine stimulates the production of nitric oxide that relaxes blood vessels. Our blood vessels dilate and let more blood and oxygen pass through them. This also controls blood pressure and improves circulation, leading to a healthy heart.

L-carnitine may also boost red blood cell production and prevent the buildup of plaques. 

People who take carnitine for cardiovascular reasons can have their supplement anytime. You can time your dose with a meal for the best results.

When is the Right Time to Take Carnitine to Boost Fertility?

Research is promising on the capabilities of l-carnitine in treating male infertility. Many studies show the amino acid to improve-

  • Sperm quality
  • Sperm motility
  • Lower cell death in testes

You can take your carnitine supplement whenever you like to treat infertility. A dose can be paired with a meal.

Can I Take L-Carnitine at Night?

single paper explores the role of carnitine supplement in increasing growth hormones.

According to the author, taking l-carnitine with l-ornithine can increase the release of growth hormones at night.

However, there doesn’t seem to be any other evidence on the topic. Taking your supplement at night may not provide any extra benefits.

Carnitine Dosage

The amount of carnitine you should have depends on the type you are taking. Here are the recommended intake levels-

  • Propionyl-L-Carnitine: 1 to 4-grams per day
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate: 1 to 4-grams per day
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 600mg to 2.5-grams per day

You may want to divide your dose into parts if needed. Interestingly, even 1-gram of carnitine is enough to provide results. However, you need to take the supplement for the long-term.

What is the Best Way to Take Carnitine?

L-carnitine is best paired with a meal that contains fast-acting carbs and protein. Among the two, carbohydrate is more important as it acts as a catalyst. 

Carbs can boost the levels of insulin, a key hormone that helps deliver carnitine to muscles. As a result, your muscles will get more carnitine to produce energy.

Consuming carbs has also shown to increase the blood levels of carnitine than taking the amino acid alone. That means carbs can help our bodies make the most of the supplement.

Carbs combined with l-carnitine also prevents the accumulation of body fat to some extent.

You should aim to eat 60 – 80-grams of carbs along with your supplement.

Tip: Some athletes take carnitine with pre-workouts to maximize performance. You can also combine the supplement with creatine or your fat burner. It may also blend well with BCAA or protein supplements.

Do You Need to Load Carnitine?

Many supplements like creatine may need a loading phase.

However, l-carnitine doesn’t need any loading. You can start with your chosen dosage and continue it without any changes.

Should You Cycle Carnitine Supplements?

You need to take carnitine for at least a few weeks to get any noticeable results. But there is no need to cycle the type or brand of carnitine. You can safely take the supplement for as long as you want. 

Final Words

You can enjoy most of the benefits of l-carnitine supplement by taking it before working out. This holds true for people who use the supplement for athletic gains.

You can divide your dose into parts and time one dose before exercising, and one after working out. Among the rest of the doses, one should pair with a high-carb meal.

People who take carnitine for health benefits may take the supplement any time throughout the day. 


Can I take L-carnitine on an empty stomach?

Yes, you can take l-carnitine on an empty stomach for the quickest absorption. It’s a good way to get the best results.

How long does L-carnitine take to work?

L-carnitine will take weeks to months to show discernable results. So continue your supplement and don’t get discouraged.

When should I take L-carnitine?

Take your carnitine before working out if you want to lose weight. Give at least 30-minutes for the supplement to take effect. You can have your carnitine any time if you are using it for other purposes.

Does L-carnitine have side effects?

Some common side effects of l-carnitine are stomach discomfort and diarrhea. You may also experience nausea or vomiting. Start with a low dose if you are concerned about side effects.

Can you take L-carnitine every day?

You can use l-carnitine safely every day, even for long terms. Studies have shown it to be safe with rare cases of side effects. Also, it takes at least a month to get the results from carnitine.