Carnitine vs. Creatine for Bodybuilding – Full Comparison

Oh, the age-old debate: carnitine vs. creatine for bodybuilding?

Which one is the real deal, and which one should you choose?

Fear not; we’re here to help you make the right decision for your gains!

What is the Difference Between Carnitine and Creatine?

Carnitine and creatine – are two different compounds, but often mistaken due to their similar names.

Carnitine is a compound derived from the amino acids lysine and methionine.

Its primary function is to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they’re converted into energy.

This process helps your body utilize fat as an energy source and can potentially improve endurance or even reduce muscle damage during workouts.

On the flip side, creatine is a molecule produced in the body and found in some foods. It is one of the most well-researched, most beneficial supplements for fitness enthusiasts and athletes.

It’s stored in the skeletal muscles as phosphocreatine and used to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is essential for short bursts of high-intensity exercise or any other physical activity, for that matter.

In addition to that, creatine also helps build muscle, but more on benefits later.

Carnitine vs. Creatine – How Do the Benefits Compare?

Now that we know the difference between the two, let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits!

Carnitine’s primary proposed benefit is its ability to reduce fatigue and muscle damage and improve endurance. This is precisely why it is popular among endurance athletes and gymgoers.

However, to claim it’s actually as beneficial as most supplement manufacturers claim it is would be irresponsible.

Sure, there are some studies outlining a decrease in creatine kinase and others showing a minor but noticeable decrease in muscle soreness. [1][2] Some studies even showcase the positive effects of ALC on fatigue. [3]

However, the body of evidence is still neither large nor convincing enough to back up those claims fully.

The same goes for “fat-burning” with carnitine, but more on that later.

Creatine, on the other hand, is a tried and true supplement for bodybuilders and strength athletes alike. 

Its ability to increase power output, support muscle growth, and enhance recovery has been well-documented in numerous studies.

As you reach peak saturation levels around the 28th day of supplementing with 5 grams of creatine daily, you should notice a significant increase in your strength and endurance and, rather quickly – your muscle size.

So, which one’s the winner? 

Creatine is the undeniable choice in the head-to-head matchup. Considering scientific evidence and decades of real-world results, it’s not even close.

Carnitine vs. Creatine – How Does the Bioavailability of These Supplements Compare?

When it comes to bioavailability, creatine takes the dub. 

Most forms of creatine, particularly creatine monohydrate, have excellent bioavailability, ensuring that a large portion of the ingested supplement is absorbed and utilized by the body.

Carnitine, on the other hand, has a lower bioavailability due to its not-so-great absorption rate in the intestines. 

However, supplementing with forms like acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) may improve absorption and overall bioavailability, but there’s some contrasting data on this issue. [4]

Carnitine vs. Creatine – Does Either Have Any Side Effects?

Both carnitine and creatine are generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses. However, as with any supplement, there’s always the potential for side effects.

Carnitine side effects are relatively rare and usually mild, including gastrointestinal issues and, on occasion, fishy body odor.

There was one study that showed a narrowing of the carotid arteries after six months of supplementation with 2 grams of carnitine, so that’s another thing to keep in mind.

Creatine is well-tolerated by most individuals. 

Some may experience mild side effects, such as bloating or cramping, but these are usually temporary and can be minimized by staying hydrated and using a proper dosing protocol.

In other words, just skip the loading phase, and you should be fine.

Can You Take Carnitine and Creatine Together?

Absolutely, you can take carnitine and creatine together

There is no data showing they interact with each other in any detrimental fashion, so there’s no reason why you can’t take both carnitine and creatine together.

That said…

Will Taking Carnitine and Creatine Together Yield Extra Benefits?

Combining carnitine and creatine probably won’t yield any extra benefits. 

The main reason is that the effects of carnitine are yet to be scientifically proven, so it’s fair to assume that adding carnitine to your stack would probably lead only to a lighter wallet.

Also, the synergistic effects of these two also haven’t been observed in any scientific data, and if there are some, they’re probably resting on anecdotal evidence, so take that with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: Will Carnitine or Creatine be Better for Bodybuilding?

Some would say that choice between carnitine and creatine ultimately comes down to your individual goals and preferences.

However, we disagree.

Ultimately, if you’re seeking increased power, strength, and muscle mass, creatine is your go-to supplement. And quite frankly, the same goes for endurance or muscle recovery. [5]

Even if we’re talking about weight loss – creatine’s a better option.


Creatine is the ultimate bodybuilding supplement – especially compared to carnitine.

While there’s a smidge of evidence that carnitine could help you reach your goals, it simply cannot compare to creatine.

So, if your goal is to come up with the most optimal supplement stack to fuel your workouts and gains – stick with creatine and leave carnitine on the sidelines.

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