Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and L-carnitine are popular supplements for weight loss and sports performance. However, they work in different ways and have various potential benefits.
In a health and fitness supplement regime, navigating the vast array of options can be challenging.
Understanding the difference between the two is essential to make an informed decision about which one may be right for you.
This blog will take a closer look at CLA and L-carnitine, including what they are, how they work, and whether one is better.
CLA vs L Carnitine: At A Glance
|CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)||L-Carnitine|
|Function||Weight loss and muscle building||Energy production and weight loss|
|Natural source||Beef and dairy products||Naturally produced by the body|
|Mechanism of action||Modifies body composition and reduces fat storage||Transports fatty acids to be used as energy|
|Recommended dosage||3-4 grams per day||500-2000 mg per day|
|Possible side effects||Digestive upset and fatigue||Fishy body odor, nausea, and stomach upset|
Check the differences between Carnitine and Creatine.
CLA vs L Carnitine: Detail Differences
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and L-carnitine are supplements commonly used for weight loss and muscle building. CLA is a combination of fatty acids found in beef and dairy products, while L-carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body.
What is CLA
CLA is a type of polyunsaturated, omega-6 fatty acid widely used around the world for its various beneficial properties like
- Anticarcinogenic, and
- Antihypertensive properties.
This conjugated linoleic acid also regulates immune and inflammatory responses and improves bone mass.
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- Burn fat and prevent fat storage
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CLA refers to closely related fatty acids; hence the name ‘conjugated.’ CLA supplements are usually a combination of fatty acids. The hypothesized overall effect of CLA is two-fold:
- It decreases the body’s ability to store fat.
- Increasing the body’s ability to use fat and enhance lean body mass.
Some studies have found that CLA may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the evidence for these benefits is mixed and more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness.
What is L-Carnitine?
On the other hand, L-carnitine is an amino acid that plays a crucial role in fat metabolism. It helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, which can be burned for energy.
L-Carnitine, primarily used in weight loss, involves improving exercise efficiency to burn fat. It participates in the transport of fat to mitochondria and converts them to energy.
The idea behind taking the supplement is to supply the body with a large amount of carnitine. The stored carnitine then assists the body in easily pulling energy from the fat cells and burning more energy during exercise.
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L-carnitine is also thought to improve exercise performance, especially among cardiovascular disease patients, by increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles and reducing muscle damage. However, the impact is not that significant for healthy adults.
Some studies have found that L-carnitine can also improve heart health, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
L-carnitine also assists those with heart problems to exercise for a longer time without tiring out.
Can you take creatine and carnitine together?
Side Effects of CLA vs L Carnitine
Both CLA and L-carnitine are well-tolerated by the human body.
There can be digestive problems like diarrhea, farting, and stomachache for CLA. Which is highly unlikely for general people. There were also two reports stating CLA cause liver damage.
However, upon medical investigation, it was concluded that supplements contain CLA and other ingredients for all cases. Having the above-stated issues is exceedingly rare, and the observed cases were likely caused by something other than CLA.
Some people experience mild stomach issues from L-carnitine, including burps, stomachaches, bloating, and gas. A higher L-carnitine dosage can cause your breath, pee, and sweat to have a fishy odor.
This typically happens when you take too much L-carnitine. Then your body breaks it down and excretes it all over the body in different forms.
Does L-Carnitine Worsen Your Cardiovascular Health?
One study conducted in 2019, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that higher levels of L-carnitine were associated with a higher risk of heart disease, particularly in men.
The study also found that a byproduct of L-carnitine called TMAO, produced when gut bacteria break down L-carnitine, was associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The study’s findings suggest that high levels of L-carnitine may have a negative effect on heart health.
However, this is more of just an association with the risk of heart disease. Because we all know that people who consume a lot of red meat have a high risk of heart disease. And red meat contains L-carnitine.
It’s likely the high consumption of red meat causes heart problems rather than L-carnitine supplements.
The takeaway from here is not to exceed the recommended dose of L-carnitine intake.
Recommended Doses for CLA and L Carnitine
The recommended dose for CLA is about 3 grams daily.
Most physicians and sports nutritionists recommend a maximum of 2-3 grams of L-carnitine intake. However, the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) hasn’t set any guidelines.
It’s pretty much known that both compounds can be found in foods. But can they substitute the supplements?
Can You Get Your Daily Intake of CLA and L Carnitine Through Foods?
CLA and L-carnitine are commonly available in red meat, vegetable oil, and dairy. However, eating those foods won’t amount to your required intake of either CLA or L-carnitine.
Let’s look at how much CLA and L-carnitine we can find in food.
100 grams of beef contains 150 mg of CLA. You’d need to eat about 2kg of meat to get 3g of CLA. Which is a whopping 7,000 Kcal!
113 g of beef contains 100 mg of L-carnitine. Eating 2.26 kgs of meat will provide you with 3g of L-carnitine, around 5000 Kcal.
So, getting your daily intake of CLA and L-carnitine from foods is quite impossible. If you intend on taking either CLA or L-carnitine, you can only get it in the form of supplements.
CLA vs L-Carnitine: Should You Try Either One of Them?
If you’re considering CLA for weight loss, you’ll likely need to commit to CLA for a few months. If you plan to take CLA for 1-2 months for quick weight loss, it won’t work. We recommend you put off the plan.
To see the effect of Carnitine on your weight loss journey, you’ll have to take it for 6-12 months at the correct dosage. You’ll only see a few pounds of weight loss paired with exercise.
Physicians recommend tweaking the exercise routine and intermittent fasting for faster results.
As for L-carnitine, it works best as an exercise aid. It will improve the duration of your exercise and help you stay energized for a more extended period. It will work together with your exercise routine and improve your health for weight loss.
As a standalone supplement, L-carnitine will not give you any results.
If you are still committed to trying CLA or L-carnitine, exercise regularly. Because both of the supplements work as an aid to your exercise and diet.
After a few months, you will likely be able to see the results with your own eyes. And if you have heart health issues, make sure to consult your physicians.
CLA vs L-Carnitine: Is One Better Than the other?
They’re not. Both of the supplements help on your health journey. And L-carnitine will do the job slightly better than CLA.
CLA has little effect on weight loss paired with a healthy diet and exercise. According to studies, it helps to lose only a few lbs of weight over 6-12 months, which is not impressive.
On the other hand, L-carnitine transforms fat into energy and slightly improves exercise duration. Some people mislabel L-carnitine as a fat burner which it’s not. Because if you take L-carnitine without exercise, it will not affect your body.
Is CLA or L-Carnitine better for weight loss?
The effect of CLA and L-carnitine on weight loss is minimal. CLA may help with weight loss by reducing body fat, while L-carnitine may help improve exercise performance and heart health. CLA and L-carnitine work together with exercise. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement.
Can I take CLA and L-Carnitine together?
There is no evidence to suggest that taking CLA and L-carnitine together is harmful. However, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplement, especially if you are taking any other medications or have pre-existing conditions.
Can L-carnitine have a negative effect on heart health?
There is some evidence to suggest that L-carnitine may have a beneficial effect on heart health. However, one study conducted in 2019 suggested that high levels of L-carnitine may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of L-carnitine on heart health.
In summary, CLA and L-carnitine are two different supplements that have been marketed as having similar benefits.
CLA may help with weight loss by reducing your body’s ability to store fat and increasing the use of fat. While L-carnitine may help improve exercise performance and weight loss. However, none of the supplements can make you lose weight.
If you’re still willing to bet on their effectiveness, it’s best to consult a health professional before taking CLA or L-carnitine. And make sure to check our latest blogs on regular dietary supplements.
I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.