The review comes shortly after a study by Koeth et al. in Nature Medicine suggested L-Carnitine may contribute to cardiovascular disease risk. See HERE.
Systemic review and meta-analysis
The Mayo Clinic reviewed 13 controlled trials involving 3629 people and concluded that L-Carnitine had multiple cardiovascular benefits for heart attack sufferers.
“Compared with placebo or control, L-carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in anginal symptoms in patients experiencing an acute myocardial infarction.
“Further study with large randomized controlled trials of this inexpensive and safe therapy in the modern era is warranted,” said the researchers.
L-Carnitine is a compound found in red meat such as beef and is used in supplements.
While the researchers found multiple benefits in their review, they failed to find an association between the compound and a reduced risk of heart failure and myocardial reinfarction (repeat heart attacks).
How were the studies chosen
Studies published between 1973 and 2012 were identified through searches on three scientific journal databases: Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed and Embase.
The researchers chose those which were comparative trials of adults (over 18) receiving L-Carnitine compared with a placebo or control with outcomes of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events (including myocardial reinfarction), and development of heart failure and ventricular arrhythmias, which are abnormal heart rhythms.
The literature review yielded 153 studies, but only 18 were reviewed in full and 13 were deemed eligible for inclusion.
Mayo Clinic (in press available here)
‘L-Carnitine in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis’
Authors: James J. DiNicolantonio, Carl J. Lavie, Hassan Fares, Arthur R. Menezes, and James H. O’Keefe