Does L-Carnitine Break A Fast?

L-Carnitine is a free form amino acid that does not break your fast. That is, given that you consume it in capsule/tablet form and without extras (such as flavors). Let’s investigate if L-Carnitine has any real use while fasting.

Are There Calories In L-Carnitine?

L-Carnitine in tablet or capsule form does not yield any calories according to available nutrition data, but this claim comes with a few caveats. For one, there is also the belief that it contains calories, but owing to nutritional supplement loopholes, they do not need to be stated. This is similar to how zero-calorie products might not be truly zero-calorie.

Secondly, the dosage form matters. L-Carnitine is also available as a liquid, which is much more likely to have calories. This is because liquids are more heavily taste-dependent for palatability and overall likability.

The third issue is that some companies might add other ingredients to their L-Carnitine products, which could introduce calories (from sugars or other nutrients). However, liquids and enhanced products are usually labeled as such and would reflect the calories.

Nutrex Liquid Carnitine 3000 contains 45 calories

The Liquid Carnitine by Nutrex, for instance contains 45 calories and 10g of carbs!

So, the best way to know for sure if there are calories in your L-Carnitine supplement is to check the nutrition label or contact the company.

Will L-Carnitine Raise Blood Glucose Or Insulin Levels?

No. L-Carnitine will not raise blood glucose or insulin levels. This is because it is a free-form amino acid and does not contain any carbohydrates or other calories.

Some people are concerned about the fact that L-Carnitine is derived from lysine and methionine, which are both amino acids that can be used to make glucose. However, the body cannot use L-Carnitine to make glucose.

In fact, L-Carnitine is actually used by the body to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they are used for energy. This process is known as fatty acid oxidation and it is how the body burns fat for energy.

So, if you are fasting and taking L-Carnitine supplements, you can rest assured that it will not raise your blood sugar or insulin levels. It can, however, improve your insulin sensitivity, making it indispensable for type 2 diabetics that are seeking to enhance blood glucose control.

Will L-Carnitine Affect Autophagy?

L-Carnitine does not impair autophagy in the least. In fact, it actually helps with it.

L-Carnitine can even help restore metabolic dysfunction as a result of poor nutritional states, commonly occurring with blood glucose/lipid abundance. This means that it’s not too late to improve your health, especially if you are honest and know that a high sugar/ fat diet is a contributor to your ill health.

In such persons, autophagy might be suppressed. However, carnitine supplementation can revert these changes and allow for optimized lipolysis and autophagocytosis. 

So, in effect, the blunted rate of autophagy doesn’t have to be permanent. L-Carnitine can help fix this so that a normal rate of fat burning and autophagy resumes.

Can I Take L-Carnitine on Fasting Days?

Yes, you can take L-Carnitine on fasting days. It will not break your fast, nor will it impair autophagy in any way. It can even be taken during the actual fast (within reason).

In fact, L-Carnitine can actually help with fat loss and weight management while fasting. This is because it helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they are used for energy.

This can be very useful if you are fasting for weight loss or weight maintenance.

Final Words

Owing to the great utility of L-Carnitine, we would even go as far as to recommend that you take it to support your fasting goals. of course, however, be smart and avoid the liquid variations, and do not go overboard with how much you consume.

There is the lingering question about if it is truly calorie-free or if it just falls into the convenient loophole. Just follow the recommended dosages, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the enhancement gained from L-Carnitine.

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Mike Julom, ACE CPT

Mike is an ACE Certified PT and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He is an avid lover of all sports. Basketball, tennis, athletics, volleyball, soccer, squash, golf, table tennis, even darts, you name it! He's a very active CrossFit athlete and has been WOD'ing for over 7 years. With such an intense fitness regime, Mike has learned to take care of his body physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Mike founded ThisIsWhyImFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.

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