Weight loss with sibutramine goes faster when L-carnitine is added
Doctors are no longer allowed to prescribe sibutramine [structural formula shown below], but this slimming aid, a distant relative of amphetamine, is still available on the black market. Researchers at the University of Pavia in Italy recently reported in Metabolism that sibutramine works better when combined with L-carnitine.
Sibutramine boosts metabolism and therefore also calorie burning, and suppresses appetite. It used to go by the trade name Meridia. Sibutramine was fairly effective, but was banned after studies indicated that its use led to cardiovascular disease. When the Italians did their experiment, in which they gave 254 men and women with diabetes-2 a daily 10 mg sibutramine for a year, sibutramine was still a legal substance.
Because L-carnitine has theoretically purely beneficial effects for diabetes sufferers, the researchers wanted to learn about the effects of a combination of sibutramine and carnitine. So they gave half of their subjects sibutramine only, and the other half 2 g L-carnitine a day in addition.
In the course of the year the sibutramine group lost 9.1 kg; the carnitine-sibutramine group lost 10.9 kg. The combined group not only lost more weight, they also appeared to become more sensitive to insulin.
HbA1c = glycated haemoglobin, a marker for diabetes; FPG = fasting plasma glucose; PPG = postprandial plasma glucose; HOMA-IR = homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index fasting plasma insulin.
L-carnitine supplementation resulted in an increased production of the 'good' fat cell hormone adiponectin, and reduced the production of the inflammatory factor TNF-alpha. This would suggest that L-carnitine reduced the inflammatory reactions that diabetes-2 causes.
There were no side effects among the group that were given L-carnitine.
For the record: the research was not funded by an L-carnitine manufacturer, but by the university that employs the researchers.
Metabolism. 2011 Mar;60(3):421-9.
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