Carnitine makes type 2 diabetics healthier
If type 2 diabetics take 2 grams of L-carnitine every day, they may become healthier. Their insulin sensitivity increases, and their cholesterol levels improve. This is suggested by a human study published by Greek researchers at the University of Thessaly in Cureus. It sounds promising, but there is a lot to be said about the design of the study.
The researchers studied 181 subjects aged 50-65. All subjects had type 2 diabetes, and were patients at the private clinic of Dimitrios Karalis, the lead author of the study.
The subjects took 2 grams of L-carnitine every day for 6 months. They took the supplement on an empty stomach, probably just before breakfast.
Fasting glucose levels dropped during the supplementation period. However, this decline was not entirely significant.
Hb1Ac is a marker for long-term exposure to glucose. During the supplementation period, the Hb1AC level dropped - and this decrease was significant.
During the supplementation period, the concentration of triglycerides dropped. That decrease was also significant.
During the supplementation period, the subjects experienced less fatigue after physical activity and became more mentally active. They also slept better.
No placebo group
The researchers didn't use a control group, and that's a shame. It is by no means clear whether the effects found are the result of L-carnitine supplementation.
During the supplementation period, the subjects first received nutritional guidance, the Greeks write. The subjects were stimulated to eat healthier, and also to reach a healthy weight. So they may have lost some weight. Weight loss can help type 2 diabetics control their disease.
During the supplementation period, the subjects walked three times a week. Physical activity not only improves insulin sensitivity, but can also lower triglyceride levels.
The researchers are aware of these limitations, their conclusions show.
"The present study attempted to demonstrate the possible benefits of carnitine administration as a dietary supplement in patients with type II diabetes, under the condition of following the Mediterranean diet as a recommended treatment option, and managed to detect a series of variable changes in the glycemic and lipid profile of these patients", they write.
"However, research in this field is at an early stage and more studies should be made to support our findings."
Cureus. 2020 May 5;12(5):e7982.
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