Tag Archives: L-Carnitine

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

Can Carnitine Help Enhance Exercise Performance?

Feel like your workouts aren’t going so well? Perhaps carnitine supplements may be of use to reach your fitness goals. 

The compound carnitine is synthesized from amino acids lysine and methionine. Its role is to transport fatty acids from the cytosol to the mitochondria to help break down lipids and fats in order to create metabolic energy. The majority of carnitine is found in skeletal muscle, helping maintain co-enzyme A by creating acetylcarnitine during high intensity exercise.

In a study done by Maastricht University in the Netherlands, researchers Benjamin Wall, Francis Stephens, Dumitru Constantin-Teodosiu, Kanagaraj Marimuthu, Ian Macdonald and Paul Greenhaff hypothesized that chronic ingestion of L-carnitine and carbohydrates would increase skeletal muscle total carnitine content in healthy participants, generating various positive metabolic effects of muscle carnitine loading that would lead to an improvement in high intensity exercise performance.

For the double-blind experiment, 14 healthy, athletic male participants were used. Two weeks before the start of the trial, the participants were pre-tested for maximal oxygen consumption so individual exercises could be determined to use 50% and 80% of their maximal oxygen uptake.

For the trial phase, the subjects were to undergo the experimental protocol on three occasions, 12 weeks apart. Blood samples were collected to assess blood glucose, serum insulin and plasma total cholesterol concentration. The participants exercised for 30 mins on a cycle ergometer at 50% maximal oxygen intensity, followed by 30 mins of exercise at 80% maximal oxygen consumption. Immediately after the exercises, the participants performed a 30-min work output performance test to measure endurance and performance.

After the first experimental visit, the participants were randomly assigned to two treatment groups. The control group consumed 700 mL of a beverage containing 80 grams of carbohydrate polymer twice daily for 168 days.

The experimental group consumed the same amount of beverage but with an additional 2 grams of L-carnitine tartrate, at the same frequency. On every visit, the same exercise protocol was conducted as the first visit. Blood samples and muscle biopsy samples were also collected from the participants throughout.

The effect of L-carnitine on muscle total carnitine content and exercise performance

After evaluating the data, the researchers found that after 24 weeks muscle total carnitine content was 30% more in the carnitine group than the control, meaning a 21% increase from baseline.

This is the first study conducted that demonstrated muscle carnitine content can be increased by dietary intake in humans. It also showed carnitine plays a role in the fuel metabolism of skeletal muscle, dependent on intensity of exercise.

The researchers also found that work output was 35% greater for the carnitine group compared to the control, by the end of the trial. This represented a 11% increase from baseline measures. By increasing muscle total carnitine content, muscle carbohydrate use is reduced during low intensity exercise. For high intensity exercise, muscle carnitine reduces muscle anaerobic energy due to its enhanced generation of glycolytic, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex and mitochondrial flux.

Working as a combination, these metabolic effects lead to a reduced perceived effort but increased output, helping improve exercise performance.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21224234

Carnitine Promotes Cancer Cell Death, Treats TRAIL-Resistant Cancer

Cancer is often treated by selectively inducing cell death—apoptosis–in tumors. However, many cancers develop resistance to this apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Researchers are currently investigating treatments to target the TRAIL-resistant cancer cells. Will the amino acid carnitine (also called L-carnitine) become part of a new therapeutic strategy for fighting cancer?  

Researchers SJ Park, SH Park, et al, with the Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, are exploring the use of carnitine as part of a combination cancer treatment.

TRAIL is a protein which kills cancer cells by causing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in tumor cells. The molecules of the TRAIL protein bind to death receptors in the cancer cells. This has been a promising anti-cancer therapy, particularly because TRAIL has no toxicity to normal cells, unlike, for example, chemotherapy.

However, many cancer cells and primary tumors are resistant to TRAIL, which means the body cannot kill the cancer cells. And some cancer cells, including highly malignant tumors, which were originally sensitive to TRAIL can become resistant after repeated exposure. Can these cancer cells become vulnerable to TRAIL again?

The researchers hoped carnitine would help. Carnitine is biosynthesized in our bodies from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine. Carnitine transports long-chain molecules, and enhances the expression of various proteins, including a protein which induces apoptosis (Bax).

Study shows carnitine makes cancer cells vulnerable, promotes cell death

The researchers tested a combination of carnitine and TRAIL in lung cancer cells, colon carcinoma cells, and breast carcinoma cells. Results showed that carnitine sensitizes TRAIL-resistant cancer cells to TRAIL proteins. The cancer is now vulnerable to the apoptosis-inducing proteins, and the cancer cells are killed.

The study concluded that combining carnitine with TRAIL reverses the resistance of cancer cells. Formulating a combined delivery method of carnitine and TRAIL could become a successful new therapeutic strategy to treat TRAIL-resistant cancer cells.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23068102

Can Carnitine Help Prevent Colon Cancer?

A Canadian in vitro study investigated the effects of two nutrients on colon cancer. Would the amino acid carnitine improve the anticancer effect of a fatty acid? Results were promising.

Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, is one of the most common cancers in the world. The risk of developing colon cancer is about 1 in 20. However, if caught early, the cancer can be cured. The 5-year survival rate for stage 1 (the earliest stage) is almost 75%.

Not all risk factors for developing colon cancer are known, though people with inflammatory bowel disease have an increased risk. People with Type 2 diabetes also have a higher risk of developing colon cancer.

Nutrition and diet are other risk factors. A diet high in red meat and processed meat increases the risk of developing colon cancer. Diets high in vegetables and fiber could reduce the risk, though studies are continually ongoing.

Researchers (M Roy, S Dionne, et al) from the University of Montreal’s Department of Nutrition (Quebec, Canada) developed a study to investigate the effect of diet and colon cancer. The study focused on butyrate and the amino acid carnitine.

Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid, found in dietary fiber and dairy products. Butyrate has potential anticancer affects. And butyrate’s effectiveness is enhanced by carnitine. Would these two nutrients inhibit colon cancer?

Carnitine and colon cancer cells: results

Human colon cancer cells were incubated with butyrate and carnitine. The colon cancer cells were tested for proliferation–reproducing, and apoptosis—programmed cell death.

The researchers found that butyrate and carnitine acted on the cancer cells at the molecular level. Proteins which cause apoptosis were increased by the butyrate and carnitine, and the cancer cell genetic expression was decreased.

The study concluded that carnitine and butyrate do prevent colon cancer cells from spreading, and also that carnitine and butyrate cause apoptosis in colon cancer cells. This could lead to further in vivo studies, with the hope of finding new treatments for colon cancer

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19619983

L-Carnitine as Neuroprotectant for Traumatic Brain Injury

Loved ones with brain injuries may find help. Carnitine (also called L-carnitine) a compounded produced by the synthesis of amino acids lysine and methionine, is used in the transportation of fatty acids to create metabolic energy from the mitochondria. As a supplement, carnitine has been used to treat a number of ailments such as heart attacks, heart failure, and diabetic neuropathy, to name a few. It is also believed to help enhance exercise performance and exert a high concentration of antioxidant effects. 

Because of carnitine’s wide range of actions, researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine examined whether acetyl-L-carnitine, an acetylated form of L-carnitine, would be a beneficial treatment for traumatic injury to the brain.

According to researchers Susanna Scafidi, Jennifer Racz, Julie Hazelton, Mary McKenna and Gary Fiskum, traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in children. Traumatic injury is characterized by irregularities in cerebral energy metabolism that start minutes to hours after initial impact of the injury. Left untreated, the injury can lead to cell death. Previous studies have found that acetyl-L-carnitine acts as a neuroprotectant for cerebral ischemia and spinal cord injury, but none have tested the treatment for traumatic brain injury.

For the experiment, the researchers hypothesized that acetyl-L-carnitine administered within 24 hours after traumatic brain injury in immature rats would improve the outcome compared to the control.

For the experiment, young rats were anesthetized with isoflurane and researchers induced traumatic injury by a controlled cortical impact to the left parietal cortex of the rats’ brains. The rats were then treated with acetyl-L-carnitine or a control saline solution at 1, 4, 12 and 23-hours after injury. The researchers then evaluated the rats behaviour a few days later using novel object recognition tests and beam walking.

The effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on symptoms of traumatic brain injury

After assessing the test results and examining the brains for cortical lesion volume, the researchers found that the injury was associated with more foot slips during the beam walking exercise when compared to normal rats.

However, the injured rats that were treated with acetyl-L-carnitine demonstrated fewer foot slips compared to the saline-treated group. The acetyl-L-carnitine group also did better on the novel object recognition test compared to the saline group, but the results were still lower when compared to an uninjured rat.

Scafidi, Racz, Hazelton, McKenna and Fiskum also found that cortical lesion volume was smaller in the acetyl-L-carnitine group than in the saline group. Based on these results, the researchers believe that treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine up to 24 hours after traumatic brain injury would be beneficial towards behavioral outcomes and lower the percentage of brain lesion volume in young rats.

They hope that additional studies will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of acetyl-L-carnitine as treatment for humans with traumatic brain injuries.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228558

L-Carnitine To Become Cancer Cachexia Treatment?

A European animal study has found that L-carnitine supplementation could become part of treatment for cancer-related cachexia.

Cancer-related cachexia is a devastating wasting syndrome, where the sufferer experiences dramatic muscle loss and weight loss. This is caused by the body’s own immune system which is attempting to fight the cancer, but breaks down and destroys skeletal muscle and fat tissue.

It usually occurs in advanced cancer, and severely affects quality of life. Some patients with cancer cachexia become so frail they cannot even walk.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that about a third of all cancer deaths are caused by cancer cachexia. This is not only due to extreme frailty, but also because cachexia hinders treatment responses.

S Busquets, R Serpe, et al, part of the Cancer Research Group, Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, developed an animal trial to study the effects of L-carnitine on cancer-related cachexia.

L-carnitine is the biologically-active form of the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine is made in the body from two other amino acids: lysine and methionine. It plays a significant role in the metabolism of fatty acids. L-carnitine is a very popular health supplement.

L-carnitine and cancer cachexia animal study

The researchers gave L-carnitine to rats with an extremely cachectic rat tumor. The rats received 1 gram of L-carnitine per kilo of body weight. Food intake, muscle mass, and physical performance were analyzed.

Results were extremely promising. The L-carnitine supplements significantly improved the animal’s food intake. The rats’ muscle weight also improved. The rats’ physical performances improved, as measured by their total physical activity, how quickly they moved, and how far they travelled.

The L-carnitine also affected the cancer genes, possibly causing some apoptosis, or cell death.

The researchers concluded that supplementation with L-carnitine could become part of a successful, non-toxic, therapy for cancer-related cachexia.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22608917

Carnitine Supplements Prevent Toxicity Caused By Chemotherapy

Cancer chemotherapy is continually being refined. Many chemotherapy drugs successfully treat tumors, but they also have severe side effects. Can carnitine (L-carnitine) supplements prevent some of these side effects?

MM Sayed-Ahmed, with King Saud University’s Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reviewed the role that the amino acid carnitine has in cancer chemotherapy-induced multiple organ toxicity.

Chemotherapy has some extreme side effects, which can greatly reduce quality of life. Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite make the patient feel weak. Numbness and muscle and joint pain are also distressing common side effects.

Even worse, some chemotherapy can lead to life-threatening multiple organ toxicity. It’s not usually the anticancer activity of the chemotherapy drugs which cause organ toxicity, but because the chemotherapy drugs affect the absorption of other nutrients.

If carnitine cannot be absorbed and therefore used by the body, the patient develops a carnitine deficiency. And patients with cancer cachexia—the extreme wasting, muscle loss caused by the cancer—are at particular risk from carnitine deficiencies. Cancer cachexia patients are not getting enough nutrition.

Carnitine is found in red meat and dairy products. It’s also found in soybeans, wheat, and avocados. And the active form, it is readily available as a supplement.

Carnitine affects fatty acids and energy production. It also reduces blood triglycerides and cholesterol.

Carnitine depletion leads to toxicity

The anticancer chemotherapy drugs are crucially important, often the only means to treat the cancer. So preventing carnitine deficiency is a key goal. Supplementation with this amino acid, and carefully monitored levels, are necessary to reduce the toxic effects of chemotherapy. Carnitine supplementation does not affect the anticancer activities of the chemotherapy.

The review concluded that carnitine is depleted by several anticancer chemotherapy drugs, and carnitine supplementation must be considered to prevent multiple organ toxicity.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23960728

Does Natural Viagra Exist? Amino Acids May Help With Erectile Dysfunction

Many of us have heard countless advertisements where dietary supplement companies are promoting natural solutions for impotence, poor libido or erectile dysfunction (ED).  But, do these supplements actually work?  Is there such a thing as a natural cure for erectile dysfunction, or a so called natural Viagra?

In 2012, researchers Gianfrilli D, Lauretta R, Di Dato C, et al concluded their study in the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.  They wanted to find out if nutraceutical products – natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs – could help men with erectile dysfunction (ED).

According to the researchers, “the application of nutraceuticals in the field of male sexual function – in particular for erectile dysfunction (ED) – remains relatively underexplored.” This seems to be so despite the fact that there are dozens of natural products on the market making sometimes outlandish claims.

Researchers provided 54 men (35-75 years) with a three-month supplementation with amino acids Propionyl-L-Carnitine and L-Arginine, as well as Niacin and monitored their progress. All test subjects had to fill out a IIEF – international index of erectile function – questionnaire, go through global assessment questions and participate in laboratory tests before the test and after three months.

Did Amino Acids Help with Erectile Dysfunction?

The results were promising.  After three months of treatment, a small, but statistically significant improvement in total and single items of IIEF was found.

The nutraceutical, primarily amino acid based erectile dysfunction treatment, improved erections in 40% cases, but occasionally occurred in up to 77% of test subjects.  The study confirms that the positive cardiovascular effects of these nutraceutical products can also reflect on male sexual function.  Furthermore, these supplements can potentially be used in the treatment and prevention of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction affects millions of Americans every year.  Pfizer’s Viagra is the leading product in the sexual dysfunction industry with a 45% market share in 2012, just ahead of Cialis.  More than 8 million Viagra prescriptions were written in 2012 with total sales of about $2 billion. The total market is close to $5 billion annually.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21966881

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/27/health/viagra-anniversary-timeline/index.html

Dr. Oz: L-Glutamine, L-Arginine and Weight Loss

According to Dr. Oz, there are three amino acids that can help with weight loss: L-Carnitine, L-Glutamine, and L-Arginine. But first we must know what weight loss problems we are dealing with… the weight loss amino acids are simply not enough if we did not mention what specific issues they will help.

There are a number of issues that go along with weight gain and obesity. Dr Oz has discussed all of them at one time or another, surely, from lacking energy, weight management, storing food as fat or sugar (glycogen in particular), and sluggish metabolism rates.

All of these can be helped by these three weight loss amino acids, but which goes with which?

Here’s a simple guide…

Amino Acids for Weight Loss

L-Carnitine for Weight Loss

One of the issues with losing weight is maintaining the weight once you’ve lost it. It is common for people to gain the weight back, and slip back into old habits. The amino acid L-carnitine can help you to get a hold on your weight management.

L-carinitine is also known for supplying your body with energy since it releases stored energy. Sometimes when caloric intake is reduced people get weak feeling, or lack the energy to stay awake, or get out and do things (even taking a walk can seem like too great an exertion). L-carnitine can help release the energy you need to move forward in your diet plan.

L-Glutamine for Weight Loss

Many times the food we eat gets stored as fat in the body. L-glutamine can help your body store the energy as a sugar called glycogen instead of fat, which makes it more usable by the body and easier to get rid of later.

Glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver and plays an important role in the body’s glucose cycle. This can be used for quick energy, whereas fat takes longer to utilize and eliminate.

L-Arginine for Weight Loss

Metabolism is a huge indicator in many people on whether they are prone to obesity or not. Having a slow metabolism can be a single inhibitor to weight loss, when everything else seems to be going well for others on a similar diet. L-arginine is considered the natural metabolism booster.

Remember that you can get all three of these amino acids (all 22 aminos, actually) from food, and protein foods in particular. It doesn’t take much protein since all meats like beef, chicken, and pork have all the amino acids, as do fish and eggs.

However, discuss with your doctor about taking the weight loss amino acids L-carnitine (weight management and energy), L-glutamine (storing sugar as glycogen instead of fat), and L-arginine (metabolism booster).

You can purchase high quality L-Arginine powder from www.powdercity.com.

Reference:

http://www.ediblenature.com/store/pg/195-Dr-Oz-Anti-Aging-Metabolism-Weight-Loss-Energy-Tips.html

Anti-Aging Amino Acid Carnitine for Skin Health

Aging and skin health are related issues since aging skin (sagging, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and so on) is most visible. Aging causes our bodies’ cells to break down faster, unlike the way they did in our youth. Cells do not renew at the previous rates they did, and die off faster than they regenerate. One way to protect the skin and refresh its health is through the consumption of the amino acid carnitine.

Anti-aging amino acids like carnitine for skin health

People tend to associate getting old with physical beauty, such as wrinkled skin, shiny hair or hair growth (especially out of the ears and nose, or on other parts of the body), or even healthy nails. Allergic reactions can also play a role for skin health as infections and circulation (oxygen supply) affect the complexion, sagginess, or ruddy-skin look with pore size. Carnitine can help with this.

Anti-aging amino acids like arginine and carnitine, which form creatine, support healthy skin. There are anti-aging amino acids in some “amino acid creams” as well, but eating raw foods is one of the most essential keys to keeping the skin hydrated and healthy and elastic and youthful. Remember to stay away from too much sun as UV (ultraviolet) rays can damage and dry out the skin, and free radicals in the environment can reduce skin elasticity, which causes wrinkles.

Carnitine burns fat and produces energy

Carnitine (L-carnitine) is of the most important anti-aging amino acids because it helps transfer fat to energy. Many people, as they age, start gaining weight, especially around the middle, as in the “spare tire” look in the gut area.

Keeping fit and involving oneself in sports and walking and outdoor or some type of activity plays an important role in burning fat, just like the involvement of carnitine. Many fitness programs promote the use of amino acid supplements like carnitine, which can also be gained through diet via protein foods such as eggs, meats, or fish.

Please talk to your doctor or naturopath before supplementing or altering your diet to include more carnitine. Carnitine may just help you reinvigorate your skin and help you look healthy and more youthful!

Reference:

http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/areas-of-use/anti-aging.html