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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2005  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-22
L-Carnitine Supplementation in Hemodialysis Patients

1 Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, King Khalid University Hospital, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Khalid University Hospital, Saudi Arabia
3 Genetic and Metabolic Laboratory, King Faissal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed Hassan Mitwalli
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine (38), King Khalid University Hospital, P O Box 2925, Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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PMID: 18209454

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L-Carnitine supplementation has shown beneficial effects in patients on hemodialysis. We studied 36 ESRD adult patients with a mean age of 47.5 ± 15 years to evaluate the effect of L­Carnitine supplementation on hemoglobin, lipid levels and physical performance in patients on hemodialysis. The study group consisted of 18 randomly selected patients who received L-Carnitine 15 mg/kg and the control group consisted of 18 randomly selected patients who received equal volume of normal saline as a placebo three times a week for six months. Laboratory tests were performed at baseline, then monthly until the end of the study. A significant increase in the hemoglobin (Hb) and hematocrit (HCT) in the presence of unchanged doses of erythropoietin hormonal supplementation was observed (pre 79 ± 7.5 gm/l, post 103 ± 10.6 gm/l) P<0.001 (pre 24± 2 %, post 33 ± 4%) P<0.001 respectively) in the L-Carnitine treated group. Similarly total serum cholesterol (TCL) and serum triglyceride (TG) levels showed a statistically significant decrease in the study group, TCL (pre 4.6 ± 1.2, post 3.7 ± 1.1 mmol/L), P <0.03 and TG (pre 3.1 ± 1.7, post 1.8 ± 0.6 mmol/L) P < 0.004. The physical performance as assessed by mild and moderate exercise showed a trend towards improvement. There was a significant increase in free carnitine and total carnitine levels in the L­Carnitine treated group. In conclusion, these results demostrate positive effect of L-Carnitine supplementation in the hemodialysis patients marked by an increase in Hb, HCT, a decrease in TCL and TG and improved physical performance in comparison to the control group.

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