Effects of L-Carnitine Supplementation in Patients Receiving Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis.
Nutrients. 2020 Nov 1 ;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 1. PMID: 33139659
L-carnitine is an important factor in fatty acid metabolism, and carnitine deficiency is common in dialysis patients. This study evaluated whether L-carnitine supplementation improved muscle spasm, cardiac function, and renal anemia in dialysis patients. Eighty Japanese outpatients (62 hemodialysis (HD) patients and 18 peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients) received oral L-carnitine (600 mg/day) for 12 months; the HD patients further received intravenous L-carnitine injections (1000 mg three times/week) for 12 months, amounting to 24 months of treatment. Muscle spasm incidence was assessed using a questionnaire, and cardiac function was assessed using echocardiography. Baseline free carnitine concentrations were relatively low in patients who underwent dialysis for>4 years. Total carnitine serum concentration, free carnitine, and acylcarnitine significantly increased after oral L-carnitine treatment for 12 months, and after intravenous L-carnitine injection. There was no significant improvement in muscle spasms, although decreased muscle cramping after L-carnitine treatment was reported by 31% of patients who had undergone HD for>4 years. Hemoglobin concentrations increased significantly at 12 and 24 months in the HD group. Therefore, L-carnitine may be effective for reducing muscle cramping and improving hemoglobin levels in dialysis patients, especially those who have been undergoing dialysis for>4 years.