Introduction: To increase the total carnitine (TC) content in muscles, L-carnitine (LC) should be co-ingested with carbohydrates to induce an insulin response. Leucine has an insulin secretagogue effect. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to examine the effects of 24 weeks of LC and leucine supplementation on the skeletal muscle TC content, muscle mass, and strength in active college-aged subjects. The secondary aim was to determine the activation of the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in skeletal muscles after supplementation. Methods: Over the 24 weeks, the participants were supplemented with either 1 g of LC-L-tartrate and 3 g of leucine per day (LC + L group; n = 7) or 4 g of leucine per day (L group; n = 7) as a placebo. Before and 24 weeks after the initiation of the study protocol, the free carnitine (FC) and TC content in plasma and muscle samples, as well as body composition and muscle strength, were measured. In addition, the phosphorylation of the Akt/mTOR pathway proteins in muscles was evaluated. Results: Plasma FC and TC content increased in LC + L group after 24 weeks of supplementation (p = 0.003 and 0.010, respectively). However, the skeletal muscle FC and TC contents were not affected by the supplementation protocol. No changes were noted in the body mass and composition; serum insulin-like growth factor-1 concentration; and phosphorylation of the signaling pathway proteins Akt, mTOR, and p70S6K. Conclusion: LC supplementation may have the potential to exert beneficial effects in muscle atrophy. Therefore, additional research is necessary to investigate the effect of various LC supplementation protocols.

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