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To all the members of the boxing Communitty in the world :

The WBC with the help of VADA through their expertise in the field of doping has researched for some time a substance that is currently being used and abused in sports and specifically in boxing. The substance is L-CARNITINE.

The reason for this special report is to try to reach as many members of the boxing Community in order to share the concerns and provide awareness of the dangers of the use of L-Carnitine . Trainers, Boxers, therapists and members of the boxers teams must be aware of this information and take conscience about the matter.

Using L-Carnitine is not clean sports, it is not Fair Play and it is dangerous both to your opponents safety and dangerous to yourself as it has side effects that can affect your health, your future health and your life.

Do not hesitate to contact VADA or The WBC in case you have doubts, concerns and need professional guidance in your nutrition and supplement intake.

High Dose L-Carnitine – An Unfair Advantage

Unfortunately, not every performance enhancing substance is currently prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a multitude of reasons.  Some are omitted because there is insufficient research to determine the appropriate threshold to demonstrate performance enhancing levels; others because the substance occurs endogenously or naturally in our systems—so it’s necessary to prove exogenous use; and some where the substance has not yet been designated as performance enhancing.

In this article we discuss a widely used performance enhancing substance, high dose L-carnitine. High does L-carnitine continues to fly under the radar by many in the  anti-doping world, however it is currently being abused by fighters around the world  giving them an incredible unfair advantage over their opponents.

L-carnitine is naturally formed in the liver and kidneys from amino acids, but it is mostly stored in the muscle, brain and even sperm.  It is also found in animal products and plant products like avocado. It is commonly present in supplements in small amounts.

What are the performance enhancing effects of L-carnitine?

  1. FAT BURNING: L-carnitine helps to transport fat, long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells where it is used as “fuel” and is especially effective during intense exercise.  It can limit fat gain and it is a documented fat-burning supplement and aids in bulking. When a fighter is cutting weight, it will help transport fat to be burned as energy.
  2. REDUCING FATIGUE: Research has shown in a group of cyclists that taking large amounts of L-carnitine for 6 months their training increased by 25%.
  3. DECREASES MUSCLE SORENESS AND IMPROVES RECOVERY: a number of human studies demonstrated a significant reduction in muscle damage after strenuous exercise.
  4. IMPROVES BLOOD FLOW: enhanced energy during workouts and muscle recovery.

This article will not demonstrate how to use certain amounts of L-carnitine in combination with other substances to obtain a performance-enhancing effect, but needless to say, there are many similar benefits as those seen in anabolic steroids use.

But the problem is that, like anabolic steroids, this potential performance enhancement comes at a cost for the athlete. Some of the potential side effects of L-carnitine supplementation include nausea, muscle cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Use of L-carnitine can increase seizure occurrence in those predisposed.  L-carnitine use can also decrease the effectiveness of thyroid hormone.

BOTTOM LINE: high dose L-carnitine use is contrary to fair and clean sport.  It is our hope that in the not-too-distant future, WADA will prohibit high dose L-carnitine use by developing an approved threshold that demonstrates excessive use beyond typical consumption. While we await that day, beginning in 2024, VADA and the WBC Clean Boxing Program plan to implement testing for high-dose L-carnitine for potential excessive use.


  1. Galloway, S. D., Craig, T. P., & Cleland, S. J. (2011). Effects of oral L-carnitine supplementation on insulin sensitivity indices in response to glucose feeding in lean and overweight/obese malesAmino Acids, 41(2), 507-515.
  2. Wall, B. T., Stephens, F. B., Constantin‐Teodosiu, D., Marimuthu, K., Macdonald, I. A., & Greenhaff, P. L. (2011). Chronic oral ingestion of l‐carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humansThe Journal of Physiology, 589(4), 963-973.
  3. Ho, J. Y., Kraemer, W. J., Volek, J. S., Fragala, M. S., Thomas, G. A., Dunn-Lewis, C., … & Maresh, C. M. (2010). l-Carnitine l-tartrate supplementation favorably affects biochemical markers of recovery from physical exertion in middle-aged men and womenMetabolism, 59(8), 1190-1199.
  4. Volek, J. S., Kraemer, W. J., Rubin, M. R., Gómez, A. L., Ratamess, N. A., & Gaynor, P. (2002). L-Carnitine L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stressAmerican Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 282(2), E474-E482.
  5. Kraemer, W. J., Volek, J. S., French, D. N., Rubin, M. R., Sharman, M. J., Gómez, A. L., … & Hakkinen, K. (2003). The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recoveryThe Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 17(3), 455-462.
  6. Spiering, B. A., Kraemer, W. J., Vingren, J. L., & Hatfield, D. L. (2007). Responses of criterion variables to different supplemental doses of L-carnitine L-tartrateJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(1), 259.