Tag Archives: fibrosis

L-Carnitine Supplement Could Treat Heart Disease

An animal study has identified a potential new therapeutic option for treating cardiac fibrosis: L-carnitine supplementation. Could L-carnitine prevent the development of heart failure?

Researchers (Y Omori, T Ohtani, et al), at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, developed an animal study to analyze potential new treatments for heart failure—specifically heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) in hypertensive heart disease.

Hypertensive heart disease is caused by hypertension, or high blood pressure. Hypertensive heart disease with heart failure is a serious condition, which can lead to ischemic heart disease and heart attacks. Heart disease is leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

The researchers were aware that prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is poor. They knew that hypertension causes decreased free-carnitine levels in the heart. Would L-carnitine supplements have an effect?

Carnitine is a non-essential amino acid, synthesized in the human body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Carnitine is also found in food, especially red meat and dairy products. L-carnitine is simply the biologically-active form of carnitine.

Carnitine has a substantial antioxidant effect, which greatly benefits health by preventing free radical damage. The researchers hoped that the carnitine supplements would also combat hypertension.

L-carnitine treatment and heart failure study

Rats were given a high-salt diet, which models hypertensive heart failure. Their free carnitine levels were measured, and were found to be low in the left ventricle of the heart. The rats were then given L-carnitine supplements.

This L-carnitine treatment had a significant impact. It restored the levels of carnitine in the chambers of the heart, and even reversed fibrosis. Cardiac fibrosis is a thickening of the heart valves, which is often found in heart failure.

The affect L-carnitine has on reversing, or thinning, the level of cardiac fibrosis means that L-carnitine could become a therapeutic option for treating hypertensive heart disease in the future.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22796714

Amino Acid Leucine Helps Create Muscle Protein and Reverse Muscle Atrophy

Taking essential amino acid called Leucine, could prevent muscle atrophy.  A review by Ralph Manders, Jonathan Little, Scott Forbes and Darren Candow, from the University of Regina, highlighted potential health benefits of the effects of the branched chain amino acid Leucine on aging muscle metabolism. Measures to reduce frailty and promote muscle function are being developed.

Our aging population is faced with progressive loss of muscle function and frailty, which reduces our quality of life and can lead to a loss of independence.

Aging is known to suppress muscle protein synthesis. This is usually not even noticed by the individual because in areas of muscle loss, muscle fibres are replaced with fat. Muscle atrophy also results in an increase in fibrosis, changes in muscle metabolism, oxidative stress, and degeneration of the neuromuscular junction.

Aging bodies also often develop insulin resistance. As well as contributing to Type-2 Diabetes, insulin resistance reduces our ability to create muscle protein.

As our population is aging, there is a great need for new interventions to target both muscle atrophy and insulin resistance.

Studies find that Leucine helps create muscle protein and reverse muscle atrophy

Branched chain amino acids including Leucine, are necessary for maintaining muscle health in older adults. Leucine is not synthesized in our bodies but must be supplied by our diet. It has many functions, including synthesizing protein to construct our muscle tissue. Leucine is found in many foods, including soybeans, beef, and peanuts. It is also widely available as a supplement.

The University of Regina’s review found that Leucine consumption increases muscle protein synthesis, and may help to maintain muscle mass in an aging population. Leucine also improves the quantity and quality of skeletal muscle mitochondria.

Branch chain amino acids like Leucine can be used to complement muscle-strengthening and muscle-building exercises in nutritional approaches to reduce or reverse muscle atrophy.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509512/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcopenia