Maximum and submaximum exercise capacity were assessed during a continuous progressive cycle ergometer exercise test performed at 70 rpm. In trial 1, plasma concentrations of lactate and beta-hydroxybutyrate were measured pre- and post-exercise. In trial 2, pre- and post-exercise plasma lactate were measured. The results of treatment with L-carnitine demonstrated no significant changes in maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) or in maximum heart rate. In trial 1, there was a small improvement in submaximal performance as evidenced by a decrease in the heart-rate response to a work-load requiring 50% of VO2max. The more extensive trial 2 did not reproduce the significant result obtained in trial 1, that is, there was no significant decrease in heart rate at any given submaximal exercise intensity, under carnitine-supplemented conditions. Plasma metabolic concentrations were unchanged following L-carnitine, in both trials. It is concluded, that in contrast to other reports, carnitine supplementation may be of little benefit to exercise performance since the observed effects were small and inconsistent
In this research study Carolyn A Greig, the talented PhD student of Professor Anthony J Sargeant, carried out a study at the Rayne Research Institute of University College Hospital which failed to demonstrate any significant effect of carnitine on exercise performance.
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1987;56(4):457-60