Biomedical Fast Takes

The right amount of Propionyl L-Carnitine can …

Elevate Peak Power

Studies have shown that propionyl L-carnitine (PLC) supplementation can enhance anaerobic work capacity with reduced lactate production in resistance trained males. But the effects of chronic PLC supplementation on anaerobic performances or lactate clearance are not known. So in a recent double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled study, researchers examined the long-term effects of different dosages of PLC supplementation on repeated high intensity stationary cycle sprint performance.1

In the study, 45 resistance-trained men completed two testing sessions, seven days apart, and 90 minutes after oral ingestion of either 4.5 grams PLC or 4.5 grams placebo given in a randomized order. The exercise testing protocol consisted of five 10-second Wingate cycle sprints—a test that is suitable for sprint cyclists and sprinters—separated by 1-minute active recovery periods. Following completion of the second test session, the 45 subjects were randomly assigned to receive 1.5 g, 3.0 g, or 4.5 g PLC per day for a 28 day period. Then the subjects completed a third test session following the four weeks of PLC supplementation using the same testing protocol.

Values of peak power, mean power, and percent decrement of power were determined per bout and standardized relative to body mass. While there were no significant effects detected for peak or mean power, there was reduced power peak and lower mean values with PLC at 3.0 or 4.5g per day as compared to baseline values.

Conversely, 1.5g PLC produced 3–6% higher values for power peak and 2–5% higher values for mean power compared with placebo baseline values. Values of percent decrement of power were significantly greater (15–20%) greater across the five sprint bouts with 3.0g or 4.5g GPLC, but the 1.5g PLC supplementation produced percent decrement of power values significantly lower from the baseline placebo. Also interesting, the 1.5 g group was found to have a statistically significant 24% reduction in net lactate accumulation per unit power output.

Altogether, the effects of PLC supplementation on anaerobic work capacity and lactate accumulation are dosage dependent. In conclusion, PLC is likely to be a useful dietary supplement to enhance anaerobic work capacity and potentially sport performance, but the dosage must be determined specific to the intensity and duration of exercise.


  1. Jacobs PL, Goldstein ER. Long-term glycine propionyl-L-carnitine supplemention and paradoxical effects on repeated anaerobic sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010 Oct 28;7(1):35.

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