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Thiamine and L-carnitine improve diabetic symptoms and quality of life

Thiamine helped restore normal kidney function and L-carnitine lowered cholesterol and damaged fats, two new diabetes studies reveal.

In diabetes, excess blood sugars damage tiny blood vessels in the kidney, allowing useful proteins and red blood cells to escape into the urine. Doctors thought that the B vitamin thiamine, which is essential for the heart, muscles and nervous system, could reverse kidney-filter damage. Forty participants with type 2 diabetes and damaged kidneys took 100 mg of thiamine three times per day or a placebo for three months, then stopped taking thiamine for two more months.

After three months, those in the thiamine group had 41 percent less protein in the urine compared to the start of the study, while the placebo group had not improved. More than one-third in the thiamine group saw kidney function return to normal. The thiamine group also continued to improve slightly during the next two months. There were no side effects.

Diabetics typically have high levels of damaged (oxidized) LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, raising risk for heart trouble. The amino acid L-carnitine is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body and helps turn fat into energy. Doctors wanted to see if L-carnitine could reduce oxidized LDL.

The researchers gave 81 participants with type 2 diabetes 2,000 mg of L-carnitine per day or a placebo. After three months, those in the L-carnitine group had lost five times as much oxidized LDL and about three times as much total LDL as had the placebo group. For the most common fat in the blood, triglycerides, the L-carnitine group had lost more than 10 times the amount of triglycerides compared to placebo.

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