This study was set up to verify the results published by Müller et al. (Metabolism,2002), using a more sophisticated method of research.
"In 2002, we showed for the first time that oral L-Carnitine supplementation stimulated fatty acid metabolism in healthy adults," Ulla Held, manager of scientific affairs for Lonza's nutrition division, told NutraIngredients. "We wanted to investigate these results using an improved method, namely by labelling a mixture of fatty acids and the amino acid glycine."
The researchers used a combined 15N-, 13C-tracer technique to study the effects of oral L-Carnitine supplementation (3x1.5 g L-Carnitine L-Tartrate/day for 10 days) on long chain fatty acid oxidation in slightly overweight adults.
After oral administration of the labelled fatty acids and the amino acid glycine, the enrichment of 15N- and 13C- in the patients' breath was measured by isotope ratio mass spectrometry.
The researchers observed a significant increase in 13CO2 exhalation after L-Carnitine supplementation, which indicated an increase in fatty acid oxidation.
L-Carnitine, a vitamin-like nutrient, occurs naturally in the human body and is essential for turning fat into energy. The dietary supplement is generally used by physically active people to help with post-exercise recovery. Lonza, which claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of L-Carnitine, said that extensive scientific research shows L-Carnitine to promote cardiovascular health and studies also suggest the nutrient may be useful in weight management.
L-Carnipure L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (US Patent 5,073,376 and other international patents) consists of 68 per cent L-Carnitine and 32 per cent L-tartaric acid. The supplement was GRAS in 2002, along with L-Carnitine L-Tartrate. Both products are crystalline, white, water-soluble and heat stable and can therefore be used in food and drink applications.
The research was carried out in conjunction with the University of Rostock, Germany, under the leadership of Prof. Klaus Wutzke, and is published in the journal Metabolism (vol 53, no 8:1002-1006, 2004).
Lonza generatedsales of CHF 2.24 billion in 2003 - down 11.6 per cent on the previous year.
Profits also fell at Lonza during 2003, down 59 per cent on the previous year, despite a number of cost-cutting measures undertaken during the period. While sales of L-Carnitine remained at the 2002 level, despite increased competition from Asian countries, the company faced overcapacities in its major business of custom manufacturing and a lack of new drug approvals.