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L-Carnitine Plays a Role in Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease or heart disease is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). There are several risk factors for cardiovascular disease that are essentially immutable. These are older age, male gender, and a family history of CVD. Additionally, three major risk factors identified include cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), and hypertension. Other identified factors associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease include physical inactivity, sleep problems, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, excessive intake of alcohol, thrombotic and fibrinolytic factors, elevated homocysteine levels, certain infections and inflammation, exogenously administered estrogens and androgens, certain psychosocial factors, increased fasting glucose. and frequency of migraines. The synergism of the presence of multiple risk factors must also be considered.

L-carnitine is an amino acid that is synthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Because it can be synthesized in the body, L-carnitine is usually not considered to be an essential nutrient. However, it could be classified as an essential nutrient for premature infants and other individuals who are not able to synthesize it in sufficient amounts. In addition to its use in clinical conditions, L-carnitine is used with exercise programs to reduce muscle soreness.

A study published in the journal Renal Failure investigated the effects of L-carnitine on plasma coagulation and anticoagulation. The researchers enrolled thirty-six hemodialysis patients and the patients randomly received either 1000 mg a day L-carnitine or a placebo for 12 weeks. Blood was collected at the beginning of the trial and at the end to compare changes in plasma activity. The results were the L-carnitine group experienced significant reductions in serum C-reactive protein (marker for systemic inflammation) and plasma fibrinogen (an inflammation-related coagulator) in comparison to the placebo group. The authors stated “Therefore, l-carnitine may play an effective role in preventing cardiovascular diseases in these patients.”1

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This article was published on Monday October 04, 2010.
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1 Hakeshzadeh F, Tabibi H, Ahmadinejad M, et al. Effects of L-Carnitine supplement on plasma coagulation and anticoagulation factors in hemodialysis patients. Ren Fail. 2010;32(9):1109-14.