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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.

As compared to placebo, pain-free walking distance and maximal walking distance improved by 23-132 m and 104 m, respectively, following L-carnitine supplementation. Some evidence indicated more significant benefits in patients with severe claudication versus moderate claudication.

Source: A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of carnitine supplementation in improving walking performance among individuals with intermittent claudication

The second study involved 118 healthy women with a singleton term pregnancy (at least 37 weeks). The researchers found significantly higher serum L-carnitine levels in women with pre-pregnancy BMI of less than 18.5 kg/m2 (normal), while those with BMI greater than 29.9 kg/m2 (obese) were found to have significantly lower serum carnitine levels.

Furthermore, the lower the total serum L-carnitine levels were, the higher pre-pregnancy body weight and BMI, pregnancy body weight and BMI, and serum triglyceride levels. On the other hand, the higher the total serum L-carnitine levels, the higher HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) levels.

The authors conclude, "The crucial role of L-carnitine in pregnancy metabolism suggests that nutritional supplementation of this amino acid can be offered to women who are either overweight or obese at the beginning of the pregnancy."

Source: Lowered serum total L-carnitine levels are associated with obesity at term pregnancy

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