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Importance of L-Carnitine in the Performance Horse

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

One has to remember that performance animals are much different than sedentary animals. During training they put their bodies into a state of stress that uses a ton of carnitine. The demand for carnitine can easily exceed the body's ability to make it. Even moderate exercise can cause 20% drop in muscle carnitine. Maximal exercise causes a much greater drop, putting performance horses into the same carnitine status as horses with carnitine deficiency diseases.

What does carnitine do for performance horses? Plenty! Physiological studies show that carnitine supplements inhibit the decline in free carnitine in muscle caused by maximal exercise, and completely prevent the decline in free carnitine during endurance exercise.

Carnitine also increases maximum use of oxygen in equine athletes. Studies have shown daily supplementation significantly increased VO2Max.

Supplementation also reduces the build-up of acids and metabolic wastes during maximal exercise. Studies have shown giving l-carnitine one to four hours before maximal exercise reduced post-exercise levels of lactate and pyruvate, and significantly increased maximal work output.

In another study, horses were given l-carnitine one to four hours before maximal exercise on a treadmill. These trials showed a significant improvement in endurance. So there is evidence that l-carnitine can boost both anaerobic and aerobic performance. The amount of free carnitine in your muscles plays a major role in their efficiency, and places an absolute limit on the amount of energy they can supply!

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