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Carnitine Beneficial in Intermittent Claudication and Pregnancy

Well, I've heard enough unjustified controversy over L-carnitine over the past couple weeks from that single, inappropriately analyzed study I discussed a couple weeks ago. So today, I'm going to  quickly discuss two other recently published studies on L-carnitine.

The first study was a systematic review on intermittent claudication, which analyzed the results of 17 studies (8 parallel randomized controlled trials, 5 crossover RCTs, 5 pre-test/post-test trials). Results revealed that a small or moderate improvement in walking performance was found to be associated with supplementation with L-carnitine in patients.


Statin Drugs Negate the Benefits of Exercise

Well, it's been a very busy month so far with the CHFA West show in Vancouver, meetings, seminars, etc. Now that I'm back and caught-up on the work that piled up, here is a study that showed simvastatin (a popular statin-type medication used to reduce cholesterol levels) minimizes the cardiovascular benefits gained from exercise.

Statin use has been linked to skeletal muscle pathologies and impaired mitochondrial function (due to an induced depletion of CoQ10), but it was unclear whether statin use alters adaptations to exercise training.


L-Carnitine Linked to Clogged Arteries?

There is lots of research to support L-carnitine's benefits to cardiovascular health. So when I usually see headlines regarding L-carnitine and cardiovascular health and risk, L-carnitine usually has a protective role. That's why it was surprising when I came across this study that suggests the opposite: that L-carnitine increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For many of you using L-carnitine for cardiovascular health, cognitive health (acetyl-L-carnitine), and even weight loss, don't be alarmed. This study is just an anomaly is a sea of positive studies. However, it does deserve some discussion, so let's break it down.


Depression and Heart Health

With increasing focus on brain/cognitive health (a high priority with the aging population), you may have heard the saying, "what's good for the heart, is good for the brain." Then presumably, the reverse would also be true: "what's bad for the brain, is bad for the heart." This is what today's study of discussion had found. Depression can negate the anti-inflammatory benefits typically associated with physical activity and light to moderate alcohol consumption.

The results suggest that depressive symptoms can "minimize the health effects of what many Americans are doing to reduce our risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes — exercise more and adopt a Mediterranean-type diet that includes light to moderate alcohol consumption," said the lead researcher.


Olive Leaf Extract Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Here's a short summary of a human study on an ingredient I don't see studied very often--olive leaf extract (OLE).

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial involving 46 middle-aged, overweight men, supplementation with OLE (51.1 mg oleuropein and 9.7 mg hydroxytyrosol per day) for a period of 12 weeks was found to be associated with a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity, as compared to placebo.


K2 (as MK-7) Improves Bone Health in Latest Study

In the newest study on vitamin K2 and bone health, 244 healthy postmenopausal women received for MK-7 (180 μg /day) or placebo  for 3 years.

Bone mineral density of lumbar spine, total hip, and femoral neck were measured, along with circulating uncarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) and carboxylated OC (cOC). From this data, bone strength indices of the femoral neck and the ucOC/cOC ratio (an indicator of vitamin K status) were calculated. Measurements occurred at baseline and annually during the study treatment period.