Effects of l-carnitine supplementation on weight loss and body composition: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 randomized controlled clinical trials with dose-response analysis

  • Nasir Talenezhad
    Affiliations
    Nutrition and Food Security Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

    Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
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  • Mohammad Mohammadi
    Affiliations
    Nutrition and Food Security Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

    Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
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  • Nahid Ramezani-Jolfaie
    Affiliations
    Nutrition and Food Security Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

    Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
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  • Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

    Yazd Diabetic Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
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  • Amin Salehi-Abargouei
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Sahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran, Fax: +98-35-38209119.
    Affiliations
    Nutrition and Food Security Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

    Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
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      Highlights

      • L-carnitine supplementation might affect body weight and composition in adults.
      • 37 RCTs were eligible to be included in the current systematic review and meta-analysis.
      • L-carnitine supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, and fat mass.
      • No significant effect was seen for waist circumference and body fat percent.
      • The meta-analysis of high-quality RCTs only confirmed the effect on body weight.

      Summary

      Background and aim

      Clinical evidence which investigated the effects of l-carnitine, a vitamin-like substance, on weight loss had led to inconsistent results. This study therefore aimed to examine the effect of l-carnitine supplementation on body weight and composition by including the maximum number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and to conduct a dose-response analysis, for the first time.

      Methods and results

      Online databases were searched up to January 2019. In total, 37 RCTs (with 2292 participants) were eligible. Meta-analysis showed that l-carnitine supplementation significantly decreased body weight [Weighted mean difference (WMD) = −1.21 kg, 95% confidence interval (CI): −1.73, −0.68; P < 0.001], body mass index (BMI) (WMD = −0.24 kg/m2, 95% CI: −0.37, −0.10; P = 0.001), and fat mass (WMD = −2.08 kg, 95% CI: −3.44, −0.72; P = 0.003). No significant effect was seen for waist circumference (WC) and body fat percent. The meta-analysis of high-quality RCTs only confirmed the effect on body weight. A non-linear dose-response association was seen between l-carnitine supplementation and body weight reduction (P < 0.001) suggesting that ingestion of 2000 mg l-carnitine per day provides the maximum effect in adults. This association was not seen for BMI, WC and body fat percent.

      Conclusions

      l-carnitine supplementation provides a modest reducing effect on body weight, BMI and fat mass, especially among adults with overweight/obesity.

      Keywords

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