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Researchers used a technique called meta-analysis to combine 13 controlled clinical trials to evaluate the effects of carnitine dietary supplements on health after a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction). The studies included 3,629 adults, and all were trials of carnitine compared with placebo or control (no carnitine), immediately following a heart attack. The study participants were followed for between three weeks and 12 months.
Compared with no carnitine (placebo), risk of death due to all causes was reduced by 27% in adults who were selected to take carnitine supplements after a heart attack, For this same group, risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm was reduced by 65%, and likelihood of developing angina (pain in the chest, shoulders, neck, and arms due to inadequate blood supply to those areas) was reduced by 40%.
There was a trend toward reduced risk of both heart failure and a second heart attack in those taking carnitine supplements, though these results weren’t statistically significant. The researchers did not note side effects or negative outcomes in people taking carnitine supplements.
The study found that taking a carnitine supplement may reduce the odds of dying or developing other cardiovascular problems, including abnormal heart rhythms and angina, after a heart attack, though the authors note that further study is needed.
Our tips can help you create your own cardiovascular wellness plan, with or without carnitine:
(Mayo Clin Proc 2013; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.02.007)