L-Carnitine for Cellulite

Anti-cellulite smoothing massage

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Cellulite is dimpling in the skin due to fat pushing up and connective tissue pushing down. It is a common misconception that you must be overweight to develop cellulite. According to Mayo Clinic, weight gain may make cellulite stand out, but being overweight by itself does not cause the stippling. L-carnitine is a nutrient produced naturally by the body. It is also found as a supplement in some over-the-counter cellulite treatments. There are no clinical studies from authoritative agencies to suggest that L-carnitine applied externally to skin or taken orally will reduce cellulite. You should discuss any over-the-counter treatments with your doctor.

Cellulite Development

Underneath your skin is a network of fibrous tissue, much like a grid. It is this connective tissue that holds skin in place. Every person has fat regardless of their weight. When your body forms fat, it create two varieties, visceral and subcutaneous. Visceral fat wraps around body systems to provide protection, but subcutaneous fat is what you see under the skin. Cellulite forms when subcutaneous fat pushes upward through the grid formation. The fat creates little pockets between the fibers that bulge. This is the dimpling effect of cellulite.


L-carnitine is an essential nutrient for the body. It is a component in metabolism that works to transport what you need for energy. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that most people manufacture enough L-carnitine without additional supplements. According to UMMC, although companies that manufacture weight loss supplements advertise L-carnitine as an effective tool, there are no clinical studies to back up that claim. L-carnitine is also found in a number of products that promise to reduce cellulite.


The theory behind the use of L-carnitine to rid the body of cellulite is based on themogenics. Thermogenics, or hepatothermic therapy, is a weight loss system that uses natural compounds, such as L-carnitine, to increase energy burn. UMMC states that this is a sound practice on paper, but has not proven effective. Losing weight will reduce the appearance of cellulite, but it will not eliminate it entirely. There is no way to prevent cellulite formation or to completely eradicate it.


The true benefit of L-carnitine supplements may be in treatment of disease. UMMC explains that L-carnitine reduces oxidative stress. This is a bonus if you are fighting an illness. The best approach to weight loss is the old fashion one, diet and exercise. Be wary of any treatment promising to rid you of cellulite. Only take L-carnitine supplements if directed by your doctor because some dietary supplements will interfere with other medications.