Effect of L-Carnitine in Patients With Liver Cirrhosis on Energy Metabolism Using Indirect Calorimetry: A Pilot Study

Yoshiyuki Sakai, Hiroki Nishikawa, Hirayuki Enomoto, Kazunori Yoh, Yoshinori Iwata, Kunihiro Hasegawa, Chikage Nakano, Kyohei Kishino, Yoshihiro Shimono, Ryo Takata, Takashi Nishimura, Nobuhiro Aizawa, Naoto Ikeda, Tomoyuki Takashima, Akio Ishii, Hiroko Iijima, Shuhei Nishiguchi

Abstract


Background: L-carnitine supplementation has been suggested to show several favorable effects on patients with liver cirrhosis (LC). However, there have been no reports regarding the effect of L-carnitine on energy metabolism in patients with LC using indirect calorimetry which is a well-established method for assessing the degree of liver malnutrition. We examined the effect of L-carnitine in patients with LC on energy metabolism using indirect calorimetry.

Methods: A total of 13 LC patients who are scheduled to be treated with L-carnitine (1,800 mg/day) were analyzed in this study. None of the patients previously received L-carnitine. An evaluation of the nutritional status was performed at the initiation of L-carnitine therapy and after 4 weeks of L-carnitine therapy. We evaluated the effect of L-carnitine on the nutritional status and energy metabolism by comparing various clinical variables at these two time points. In addition, the changes in the nutritional status of the patients were also evaluated using indirect calorimetry.

Results: After 4 weeks of L-carnitine treatment, for all cases, the mean substrate oxidation rates of carbohydrate (%C) increased from 37.6% to 48.2%, the mean substrate oxidation rates of fat (%F) decreased from 40.2% to 31.9% and the mean substrate oxidation rates of protein (%P) decreased from 22.2% to 19.9%. In a subgroup analysis of patients with baseline non-protein respiratory quotient (npRQ) < 0.85, the mean %C increased from 15.3% to 34.2%, the mean %F decreased from 59.9% to 45.1%, and the mean %P decreased from 24.8% to 20.6%. After 4 weeks of L-carnitine treatment, for all cases (n = 13), the mean value of npRQ increased in comparison with the baseline levels, although the difference was not significant (0.868 ± 0.060 vs. 0.838 ± 0.097, P = 0.19). Conversely, in patients with baseline npRQ < 0.85, the npRQ value significantly increased after 4 weeks treatment of L-carnitine compared with the baseline levels (0.827 ± 0.030 vs. 0.760 ± 0.043, P = 0.016).

Conclusion: L-carnitine supplementation can be useful for improving energy metabolism, especially in patients who have an advanced LC status and lower baseline npRQ values.




J Clin Med Res. 2016;8(12):863-869
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14740/jocmr2734w

 


Keywords


Liver cirrhosis; L-carnitine; Indirect calorimetry; Non-protein respiratory quotient; Energy metabolism

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