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Am J Cardiol. 2008 Nov 15;102(10):1413-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.07.022. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Effects of carnitine supplementation on flow-mediated dilation and vascular inflammatory responses to a high-fat meal in healthy young adults.

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  • 1Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.


Because carnitine has been shown to decrease oxidative stress and improve endothelial cell functioning, we examined the effects of carnitine supplementation on postprandial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and circulating biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress after a high-fat meal. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study design was used. Thirty men and women (age 30 +/- 8 year, body mass 72.9 +/- 17.1 kg, body fat 13.0 +/- 6.4%) participated in 2 vascular testing days, each preceded by 3 weeks of supplementation with either 2 g/day of L-Carnitine (L-Carnitine L-Tartrate) or placebo with a 3- to 5-week washout period between trials. Brachial artery FMD in response to 5 minutes of upper arm occlusion and circulating markers of oxidative stress and inflammation were measured in the fasting state and after a standardized high-fat meal. After 3 weeks of supplementation, peak FMD in the fasting state was similar between the carnitine and placebo trials, averaging 6.6%. Peak FMD during the postprandial period decreased to 5.8% at 1.5 hours during placebo and increased to 7.7% during the carnitine trial (n = 30: p = 0.043 for supplement by time interaction effect). This improvement in postprandial vascular function was most dramatic in subjects who showed a decrease in peak FMD in response to the meal (n = 15: p = 0.003 for supplement by time interaction effect). There was a significant increase in postprandial lipemia and plasma interleukin-6 but no effect of supplementation. There were no significant postprandial changes or supplement effects for plasma tumor necrosis factor-alpha and malondialdehyde. In conclusion, consistent with other work showing a beneficial effect of carnitine on vascular function, these findings indicate that carnitine supplementation in healthy individuals improves postprandial FMD after a high-fat meal.

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