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L-Carnitine protects heart attack survivors from dying; Mayo Clinic analysis of 13 clinical trials

Apr 17, 2013

The supplement L-Carnitine significantly improves cardiac health in patients after a heart attack say a multicenter team of investigators in a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Their findings, based on analysis of key controlled trials, associate L-Carnitine with a significant reduction in death from all causes and highly significant reductions in ventricular arrhythmias and angina attacks following a heart attack, compared with placebo or control.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Although many of the therapies developed in recent decades have markedly improved life expectancy, adverse cardiovascular events such as ventricular arrhythmias and angina attacks still occur frequently after an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack).

It is known that during ischemic events such as a heart attack L-Carnitine levels are depleted. Investigators sought to determine the effects of targeting cardiac metabolic pathways using L-Carnitine to improve metabolism and energy production in these patients. By performing a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available studies published over several decades, they looked at the role of L-Carnitine compared with placebo or control in patients experiencing an acute myocardial infarction.

There have been many studies utilizing L-Carnitine supplementation in heart disease patients. The Mayo Clinic researchers recently turned their critical eye towards the mass of these studies selecting 13 out of 153 analyzing the effectiveness of L-Carnitine to protect heart attack patients. The effects were compared to placebo or control patients.

L-Carnitine protected heart attack patients from dying and from other heart-attack related and very nasty developments in this population of 3,629 acute myocardial infarction (severe-sudden heart attack) survivors.

Results of the findings re L-Carnitine in heart attack survivors;

  • Significantly reduced the incidence of dying from all causes by 27%
  • Highly significantly reduced the incidence of suffering with a ventricular arrhythmia by 65%
  • Significantly reduced the incidence for the development of angina (chest pain due to poor blood flow to the heart) by 40%
  • Reduced infarct size (a smaller area of damaged or dying heart muscle)
  • Fewer repeat heart attacks
  • Fewer patients progressed into heart failure

The researchers state that L-Carnitine improves energy metabolism in the sick heart and removes toxic fatty acids from the heart cells after a heart attack. It also reduces ischemia (improves the supply of oxygen and blood to the heart) and replenishes low L-Carnitine levels seen in ischemic heart disease, after a heart attack, or by damage to the heart. Additionally L-Carnitine is low cost and has an excellent safety profile. The study appears in the April 11th, 2013 edition of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.