(Article Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zach Hyde)
Androgen receptors are a vital part of male health, and that includes male sexual health.
And if testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are the fuel for our hormonal response, androgen receptors are the gas pumps that allow them to flow into our bodies.
One compound that has been shown to drastically affect this process is carnitine.
Carnitine Makes it So Testosterone Can Work
When we talk about increasing your body’s total and free testosterone levels, it’s often assumed that your body has adequate receptors to put these hormones to work.
However, this isn’t always true.
To go back to the car metaphor for a moment: you could collect all the vintage sports cars in the world, but without enough garages to park them in, they’re just going to dull and rust out in the sun.
Carnitine is what helps you build those “garages” – those “protective structures,” if you will.
It is what ensures your body has the space to accommodate the androgens you’re attempting to increase.
Now, it’s not uncommon to see men in bodybuilding forums claiming that carnitine can increase your T levels, help you get a better pump, or boost your libido.
However, this is mostly the result of their misunderstanding (or deliberately misrepresenting) the science.
You see, when it comes to affecting androgen levels themselves, just like D Aspartic Acid, carnitine is actually pretty lackluster.
In fact, research shows that ingesting the supplement might actually cause your T levels to decline (temporarily, of course).
The magic of carnitine lies in its ability to create more active receptors to which the testosterone and DHT you already have can bind.
Without their ability to connect to the body through these inputs, these androgens won’t have any effect whatsoever, as they would have no way to enter your DNA.
This means that any supplements you’re taking to boost your T levels would be no more effective than sugar pills!
L-Carnitine Increases Androgen Receptors
As you might expect, carnitine is unique in the way that it actually creates these active androgen receptors.
Basically, it moves fatty acids into cell mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell, as you’ll remember) so that it can be used as energy.
However, during this process, it also helps power the androgen receptors already present in those same cells.
For example, in one study, otherwise healthy men were given 2 grams of L-carnitine L-tartrate (which we will discuss later) for 21 days.
After completion of the trial, it was observed that the androgen receptor content of the subjects’ muscles had increased a significant amount.
In a later study, the same group of researchers found that when the same dosage was provided to men who engaged in frequent resistance training, the density of new androgen receptors was further increased.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, carnitine supplements have also been shown to have an effect on the quality of sperm.
Again, this is likely the direct result of the increased amount of androgen receptors, as this kicks up your body’s ability to utilize total and free testosterone.
In one study, sperm cell motility and velocity were increased significantly after three months of supplementation.
In another (this time a double-blind crossover trial), L-carnitine therapy was proven effective at increasing semen quality in patients, particularly those with lower baseline levels than their peers.
But that’s not all.
Carnitine supplementation has also been shown to increase blood flow by raising the subject’s nitric oxide levels.
Those of you who have made it a point to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of male sexual health will recognize nitric oxide’s role in penile erection.
Indeed, during arousal, your body releases nitric oxide as a signal for the tissues in your penis to relax, which allows them to fill with blood.
All in all, these factors combine to prove that carnitine is one of the most potent (and most necessary) men’s health supplements on the market.
Additional Facts About Carnitine
On a basic level, carnitine is used to synthesize amino acids such as lysine and methionine, both of which are vital to proper health.
Since it has the ability to protect our neuron networks, carnitine is often considered a “brain boosting” supplement.
In fact, many users claim the supplement can increase alertness naturally without any side effects.
Carnitine has also been used as a fat burner, largely because due to the way it helps transport active fatty acids into the subject’s cells, where they can be used to create energy.
Though the effects are far from impressive, it hasn’t stopped various weight loss supplements from including the additive in their formulas.
As mentioned before, the specific compound used in the majority of the studies on carnitine’s efficacy was L-carnitine-L-tartrate.
This blend is often preferred by athletes who take the supplement with the goal of enhancing their performance.
Studies seem to show that this form may be the best tolerated by the body. However, other forms include the following:
Acetyl L-Carnitine – This form of the compound (also known as ALCAR) is primarily used for carnitine’s neuroprotective properties. Though it may have the same androgen creation efficacy as L-carnitine L-tartrate, there are currently no studies to back this up.
D-Carnitine – This is what’s known as a mirror image or “optical isomer” of L-carnitine. It may inhibit the absorption of the compound in its other forms and is, in fact, considered toxic to the human body.
Propionyl L-Carnitine – This form of L-carnitine is primarily used for its pain-relieving properties. While it may benefit heart health, it has shown no effect on androgen receptor creation.
Obviously, I can only recommend L-carnitine-L-tartrate from a supplementation standpoint, unless you’re looking for a non-male health-related result.
Also, remember that you can also stimulate the natural production of carnitine by consuming L-lysine, as this is the amino acid your body uses to synthesize the compound.
As far as dosage is concerned, the best time to take carnitine is right before and right after you work out.
This is when your body is at its most primed, as exercise tends to upregulate your existing receptors.
The recommended dosage varies between 650 and 6,000 mg. I’ve tested different dosages and have found that 3,000 mgs is the sweet soft for me personally.
If you decide to try it, I’d suggest starting at 3000 mgs and adjust the dosage up or down depending on how you respond to it.
Does L-Carnitine Increase Testosterone Conclusion:
As you can see, carnitine has some very interesting potential as a “testosterone utilizer” – potential that is backed up by a significant amount of legitimate science.
It’s also important to remember that merely increasing total and free testosterone is not the “magic bullet” to solving all your T-related issues.
Without the ability to absorb those hormones with proper receptors, you’re letting a lot of time, money, and valuable masculine fuel go to waste.