All the best bodybuilders do their research and take supplements. If you’re looking for a supplement to enhance your workout performance, you’ve likely come across creatine and carnitine (along with a host of other supplements).
Creatine and carnitine are excellent supplements, but how are they different?
The guide below will compare and contrast the two popular supplements - carnitine vs. creatine - and help you determine which one is right for you.
- Creatine Vs Carnitine: Key Differences Explained
- What Is Creatine?
- What Is Carnitine?
- What To Avoid When Supplementing Creatine And L-Carnitine
- Frequently Asked Creatine Vs Carnitine Questions
- Verdict – Which Is Better?
Creatine Vs Carnitine: Key Differences Explained
If you're like me, one of the hardest things to figure out is which supplements you should take to enhance your workouts. Is there a significant difference between the blood flow you get from carnitine and creatine? Let's find out.
Carnitine and creatine are both naturally occurring compounds.
Carnitine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body that aids in transporting fatty acids from the bloodstream to the mitochondria, where they are used as energy. This supplement also helps decrease fat storage and enhance endurance during exercise.
Creatine, another naturally occurring amino acid, is an energy source during high-intensity physical activities. Creatine, primarily taken in monohydrate form, can also increase muscle mass and power.
Below Image - Carnitine Molecular Structure
Your body produces creatine by synthesizing three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine in the liver, kidney, and pancreas.
Similarly, the liver and kidney synthesize carnitine using only two amino acids - lysine and methionine.
When trying to decide between creatine and carnitine for your fitness needs, even though it's not the most entertaining, it's important to understand their concentration and production in the body.
3. Energy Supply
Creatine supplementation supports muscle energy production by boosting the creation of ATP.
Your body stores creatine as phosphocreatine in the skeletal muscles, releasing it to transfer the phosphate group needed for ATP production.
Meanwhile, carnitine is a supplement that aids in converting fat into energy. Carnitine transports fatty acids to the mitochondria, where they undergo oxidation for energy production.
In the debate between carnitine vs. creatine, remember your fitness goals and how they relate to the specific benefits each provides.
Whether you want to improve your strength and power with creatine or shed some extra pounds with carnitine, both supplements can play a role in your fitness routine.
4. Ergogenic Benefit
Creatine is commonly used to boost lean muscle mass and support muscle growth. Carnitine is known for its fat-burning properties.
In terms of exercise performance, research shows that creatine is more effective for intense anaerobic workouts, while carnitine is best suited for aerobic exercise.
Creatine influences gene expression and protein muscle synthesis, helping bodybuilders and lifters gain muscles.
In addition, carnitine indirectly impacts muscle gain, helping to prevent the loss of lean muscle during fat loss.
5. Weight Loss
Carnitine can help you lose weight faster, especially when you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This is because it boosts your body’s fat-burning potential and enhances glucose uptake by cells.
This helps regulate blood sugar levels and decreases food cravings, which will help you shed body fat and lose weight.
Creatine does not directly cause weight loss. It helps increase energy levels and improves muscle performance but does not affect fat mass.
L-carnitine and creatine both produce more energy for your muscles during physical activity. This results in better endurance, strength, and athletic performance.
Carnitine and creatine supplementation has been associated with various health benefits, including:
If you're looking for a supplement to energize you during your workout, carnitine and creatine are worth considering.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid produced naturally in the human body by combining arginine, glycine, and methionine.
Approximately 95% of it is stored in our skeletal muscles. High-protein foods such as fish and red meat are excellent sources of creatine.
Creatine monohydrate is the most commonly used creatine supplement, and it's available as a tasteless, crystalline white powder that easily dissolves in water.
Creatine’s primary function is to regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which will fuel muscle performance. It also promotes muscle protein synthesis.
Taking creatine monohydrate allows athletes and fitness enthusiasts to increase their muscle strength and endurance, improve athletic performance, offset muscle fatigue, and improve overall physical health.
Related Article - Micronized Creatine Vs Monohydrate (Learn The Differences)
What Is Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a conditionally essential amino acid predominantly found in your skeletal muscle and produced naturally in the body from lysine and methionine. You can also obtain it from dietary sources like red meat and dairy.
Carnitine supplements are white and water-soluble, with a barely sour taste. They play a crucial role in the fat-burning process by facilitating the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the matrix of mitochondria, where it undergoes beta-oxidation to produce energy.
By binding to acetyl groups, L-carnitine ensures that acetylated fatty acids are shuttled into the mitochondria, where they can be burned for fuel.
Because of its role in the oxidation of fat cells, some people use L-carnitine as a fat burner.
In addition to its fat-burning properties, L-carnitine supplementation has been shown to enhance recovery and delay fatigue during resistance exercise.
What To Avoid When Supplementing Creatine And L-Carnitine
Before Taking The Supplements
Before adding L-carnitine or creatine into your supplement regimen, you should prioritize adequate protein and healthy fat intake in your diet.
Prioritizing your nutrition before taking these two supplements will support muscle growth and repair and provide the necessary nutrients for optimal workout performance.
Eating various protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs, nuts, and beans is essential for proper nutrition. In addition, healthy fat sources such as avocados, olive oil, fish, and nuts can aid digestion and energy production.
Combining these nutrient-dense foods with L-carnitine or creatine can optimize the benefits of these supplements.
Creatine is best absorbed into your muscles via an insulin spike. The best way to do that is to mix your creatine with a juice like grape juice instead of water.
After Taking The Supplements
After intense workouts, refueling your body with complex carbs and fiber-rich foods is crucial. These nutrients are digested slower than simple carbs, providing you with increased energy levels.
Excellent sources of complex carbs are quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat bread.
Fiber will help you regulate digestion and promote healthy weight management. Consuming these foods regularly can lead to additional benefits like weight loss.
To maximize the benefits of your workout and supplement regimen, it's essential to include these nutrient-dense options in your diet.
Foods To Avoid
If you take l-carnitine or creatine supplements, you need to be mindful of your diet. Consuming foods high in sugar and saturated fats can negatively impact carnitine and creatine absorption, reducing efficacy.
To optimize benefits, it's best to steer clear of junk foods like cookies, cakes, chips, and candy. You should also limit or avoid alcohol consumption because it can inhibit the body's ability to absorb the supplements.
Following these guidelines and paying attention to your dietary choices will help ensure your l-carnitine and creatine supplements deliver maximum benefits.
Frequently Asked Creatine Vs Carnitine Questions
Yes, you can take L-carnitine and creatine together. When combined, L-carnitine and creatine can potentially enhance each other's effects, as creatine works to improve muscle metabolism and physical performance while L-carnitine supports hormone balance and athletic performance.
The optimal time to take creatine is 30 minutes before your workout session. This maximizes absorption and utilization during short-duration exercises or longer workout sessions. You can also add creatine to your post-workout recovery shake since your muscles are in a state of growth and repair. This helps replenish energy stores, enhances recovery, and optimizes muscle building.
L-carnitine can have a positive impact on testosterone production in the body. It is thought to enhance testicular function and activate existing testosterone, leading to a balanced hormonal state. This makes L-carnitine a sought-after supplement among those seeking to boost their athletic performance, gain muscle mass, and improve overall wellness.
Verdict – Which Is Better?
Both creatine and carnitine are effective dietary supplements to consider when it comes to enhancing physical performance and promoting overall health. What works best for you depends on your fitness objectives and personal preferences.
If you want to increase strength and build muscle mass, creatine may be the right choice. If you're aiming to improve your athletic performance and hormonal balance, L-carnitine may be more suitable. Taking both supplements can enhance their benefits.