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L-Carnitine Supplementation and Cancer Cachexia

In this review, the authors examine the clinical and experimental evidence exploring the use of L-carnitine supplementation in the management of cancer cachexia - a multifaceted syndrome characterized by extensive muscle wasting and chronic systemic inflammation, partly triggered and sustained by cytokines, as well as increased oxidative stress, among other symptoms. In this review, the authors discuss the central role of L-carnitine in the metabolism of fatty acids, and it's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Low serum carnitine levels have been reported in patients with cancer cachexia, and systemic carnitine depletion is characterized by fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased tolerance to metabolic stress. The reviewers conclude, "Based on these data, carnitine supplementation has been tested in preliminary studies concerning human cachexia, resulting in improved fatigue and quality of life."


"L-carnitine and cancer cachexia: Clinical and experimental aspects," Silverio R, Laviano A, et al, J Cachex Sarcopenia Muscle, 2011 March; 2(1): 37-44. (Address: Cancer Metabolism Research Group, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 1524 lab 434, CEP 08800-090 São Paulo, SP, Brazil. E-mail: renatasilverio@usp.br ).

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