L-carnitine for fatigue in patients with hypothyroidism

L-carnitine supplementation for the management of fatigue in patients with hypothyroidism on levothyroxine treatment: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial– Endocrine Journal – 2016 – free full-text

Hypothyroid patients experience fatigue-related symptoms despite adequate thyroid hormone replacement.

Thyroid hormone plays an essential role in carnitine-dependent fatty acid import and oxidation.

We investigated the effects of L-carnitine supplementation on fatigue in patients with hypothyroidism.  

In total, 60 patients (age 50.0 ± 9.2 years, 3 males, 57 females) who still experienced fatigue (fatigue severity scale [FSS] score ≥ 36) were given L-carnitine (n = 30, 990 mg L-carnitine twice daily) or placebo (n = 30) for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks, although neither the FSS score nor the physical fatigue score (PFS) changed significantly, the mental fatigue score (MFS) was significantly decreased by treatment with L-carnitine compared with placebo (from 4.5 ± 1.9 to 3.9 ± 1.5 vs. from 4.2 ± 1.8 to 4.6 ± 1.6, respectively; P < 0.01)

In the L-carnitine group, 75.0%, 53.6%, and 50.0% of patients showed improvement in the FSS score, PFS, and MFS, respectively, but only 20.0%, 24.0%, and 24.0%, respectively, did so in the placebo group (all P < 0.05).

Both the PFS and MFS were significantly improved in patients younger than 50 years and those with free T3 ≥ 4.0 pg/mL by treatment with L-carnitine compared with placebo.

Additionally, the MFS was significantly improved in patients taking thyroid hormone after thyroid cancer surgery.

These results suggest that L-carnitine supplementation may be useful in alleviating fatigue symptoms in hypothyroid patients, especially in those younger than 50 years and those who have hypothyroidism after thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01769157).

And here’s what WebMD has to say:

L-CARNITINE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For L-carnitine deficiencies in adults: 990 mg two to three times per day in tablets or as an oral solution.
  • For preventing side effects caused by valproic acid (Depacon, Depakene, Depakote, VPA): 50 to 100 mg/kg/day in three or four divided doses, to a maximum of 3 grams/day.
  • For chest pain and congestive heart failure (CHF): 1 gram twice daily.
  • Following heart attack: 2 to 6 grams daily.
  • For symptoms of overactive thyroid: 1-2 grams twice daily.
  • For male infertility: 2 grams of L-carnitine plus 1 gram of L-acetyl-carnitine daily.

L-carnitine is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth and when used as an injection, with the approval of a healthcare provider. It can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, heartburn, diarrhea, and seizures. It can also cause the urine, breath, and sweat to have a “fishy” odor.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of using L-carnitine if you are pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
  • Taking L-carnitine is POSSIBLY SAFEin breast-feeding women when taken by mouth in the amounts recommended. Small amounts of L-carnitine have been given to infants in breast milk and formula with no reported side effects. The effects of large amounts taken by a breast-feeding mother are unknown.
  • Children: L-carnitine is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately by mouth or intravenously (by IV), short-term.
  • Under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism): Taking L-carnitine might make symptoms of hypothyroidism worse.
  • Kidney failure: Using DL-carnitine has been reported to cause symptoms such as muscle weakness and eye drooping when administered intravenously (by IV) after dialysis. L-carnitine does not seem have this effect.
  • Seizures: L-carnitine seems to make seizures more likely in people who have had seizures before. If you have had a seizure, do not use L-carnitine.

L-carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the body.

L-carnitine supplements are used to increase L-carnitine levels in people whose natural level of L-carnitine is too low because they have a genetic disorder, are taking certain drugs (valproic acid for seizures), or because they are undergoing a medical procedure (hemodialysis for kidney disease) that uses up the body’s L-carnitine.

It is also used as a replacement supplement in strict vegetarians, dieters, and low-weight or premature infants.

L-carnitine is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including

Some people use L-carnitine for

The body can convert L-carnitine to other amino acids called acetyl-L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine. But, no one knows whether the benefits of carnitines are interchangeable. Until more is known, don’t substitute one form of carnitine for another.

How does it work?

L-carnitine helps the body produce energy. It is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes.

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2 thoughts on “L-carnitine for fatigue in patients with hypothyroidism

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I tried it decades ago to enhance athletic performance and didn’t notice a difference in that respect, but I haven’t tried it for pain.

      From the late 70’s to the early 2000’s I tried all kinds of nutritional supplements and spent a whole lot of money for just slight improvements. I’m angry that ALL alternative medicine has failed me – I really believed in it.

      My body is so odd that even many medical Tx don’t give the results they’re supposed to. Luckily, opioids do relieve my pain, but I have wait 2 hours for the effect. You can imagine how long 2 hours are when I’m at pain level 9 with a headache.

      That’s when I’ve resorted to banging my head against my solid wood door. The shock of it freaks my system out and I get a few minutes of different pain that feels like a relief. Desperate times call for desperate measures :-)

      Like

      Reply

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