The Effects of L-Carnitine on the Menstrual Cycle

L-carnitine is an amino acid that is supposed to be naturally produced in the body. Its function includes converting fats into energy in the mitochondria, and thereby improving circulation in the body and reducing the amount of fat content.

The primary function of l-carnitine is to support the transport of molecules across cell membranes, allowing them to be broken down and used by the body. L-carnitine is produced in the liver, kidney, and brain, and is then transferred to other parts of the body to support the breakdown.

L-carnitine supplements are often used to remedy low levels of the natural amino acid discovered in women. Low l-carnitine levels can be a result of a genetic disorder, medication, or a medical procedure. Women who adhere to strict and low-fat diets also might use the supplement as a way to expedite weight loss diets, and it can also be used for athletes because of its ability to turn fat into energy [1].

While l-carnitine has several health benefits, it is also linked to a number of side effects that range from common to rare. L-carnitine is beneficial to the overall health of the liver and heart [2], so making sure that your body produces enough is important to maintain the functional processes.

L-carnitine can be used for several different conditions, such as lowering heart-related risks and keeping the heart and liver healthy.

The effects of l-carnitine are namely positive benefits to your overall health. However, there are many side effects of the supplement that can cause some unpleasant changes in the body.
These are typically not severe and are easy to treat, and some include sleep, headaches, restlessness, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. One typical side effect that women may experience is changes to their menstrual cycle.

How does l-carnitine affect menstruation?

Many women who have used l-carnitine supplements have reported unusual changes or problems affecting their menstrual cycles. L-carnitine has been shown to cause irregularities in normally regular menstrual cycle in women.

Since l-carnitine’s functions include fat burning and supporting energy metabolism in the body, the body’s increased response to reducing fats can cause a woman’s menstrual period to fluctuate in its regularity.

Excessive weight loss can cause menstrual periods to become shorter, lighter, and irregular in its onset.

lcarnitineOn the contrary, taking l-carnitine supplements can also start up a period that has been very light or absent. L-carnitine deficiency is often associated with age, since as we advance in age our mitochondrial functions decline, causing a decline in energy production. This can cause fatigue, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat, and declines in mental and physical health.

Replenishing your body with much needed l-carnitine can help treat amenorrhea, although not enough studies have been done to prove a definitive link.

L-carnitine also promotes exercise performances and boosts athleticism through its energy building properties, which can also lead to menstrual cycle irregularities if you are becoming more active.

Quicker fat burning and changes in the metabolism can cause menstrual cycles to become more irregular due to fluctuations in the levels of hormones. Each woman is different in regards to their menstrual cycles though, so the effects that l-carnitine will have on their periods can vary.

Most commonly reported is the side effect that their periods become irregular once they begin taking the supplements. Some women do not report any changes or problems from taking l-carnitine at all.

L-carnitine is also thought to improve ovulation rates among women.

What other ways can you get l-carnitine?

Most people don’t need to get their intake of l-carnitine from food or supplements as the body is supposed to naturally produce enough on its own to meet its necessary needs. However, foods such as animal products – meat, poultry, fish, and milk – are high in carnitine content. L-carnitine deficiencies can be a result of certain health conditions.

Having enough l-carnitine produced in the body is important, and if you decide to begin taking supplements to support your health you should first consult with a doctor for advice due to the nature of its side effects.

How much l-carnitine should someone take?

If you’re looking to boost your l-carnitine intake for beneficial health reasons, it is recommended to take a range of two to four grams of l-carnitine daily [3]. L-carnitine supplements can be taken through tablets, capsules, and powder. Long term supplementation of l-carnitine can reduce the detrimental effects of aging on one’s body.

While taking l-carnitine can certainly boost your health, exercise performance, and fat burning, increased amounts of l-carnitine whether received through supplements or food can cause side effects, including changes in one’s menstrual cycle.


  1. Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense? Karlic H1, Lohninger A.
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