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Am J Vet Res. 2012 Jul;73(7):1002-15. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.73.7.1002.

Influence of dietary supplementation with (L)-carnitine on metabolic rate, fatty acid oxidation, body condition, and weight loss in overweight cats.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.



To investigate the influence of dietary supplementation with l-carnitine on metabolic rate, fatty acid oxidation, weight loss, and lean body mass (LBM) in overweight cats undergoing rapid weight reduction.


32 healthy adult neutered colony-housed cats.


Cats fattened through unrestricted ingestion of an energy-dense diet for 6 months were randomly assigned to 4 groups and fed a weight reduction diet supplemented with 0 (control), 50, 100, or 150 μg of carnitine/g of diet (unrestricted for 1 month, then restricted). Measurements included resting energy expenditure, respiratory quotient, daily energy expenditure, LBM, and fatty acid oxidation. Following weight loss, cats were allowed unrestricted feeding of the energy-dense diet to investigate weight gain after test diet cessation.


Median weekly weight loss in all groups was ≥ 1.3%, with no difference among groups in overall or cumulative percentage weight loss. During restricted feeding, the resting energy expenditure-to-LBM ratio was significantly higher in cats that received l-carnitine than in those that received the control diet. Respiratory quotient was significantly lower in each cat that received l-carnitine on day 42, compared with the value before the diet began, and in all cats that received l-carnitine, compared with the control group throughout restricted feeding. A significant increase in palmitate flux rate in cats fed the diet with 150 μg of carnitine/g relative to the flux rate in the control group on day 42 corresponded to significantly increased stoichiometric fat oxidation in the l-carnitine diet group (> 62% vs 14% for the control group). Weight gain (as high as 28%) was evident within 35 days after unrestricted feeding was reintroduced.


Dietary l-carnitine supplementation appeared to have a metabolic effect in overweight cats undergoing rapid weight loss that facilitated fatty acid oxidation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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