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Women with PCOS low in L-Carnitine

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L-Carnitine is an amino acid which plays an important role in energy metabolism in three different ways: the metabolism of glucose, the production of energy from stored fats and as an antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative damage as a result of metabolism.

A study by researchers from Pamukkale University, School of Medicine in Turkey, published in the journal Human Reproduction in July 2008 have discovered that women of normal weight who have PCOS have 50% less of the amino acid l-carnitine in their blood serum when compared to healthy women not diagnosed with PCOS.

They also found that here was a correlation between low serum l-carnitine levels and a high free androgen index (FAI) which strongly contributes to the growth of excess facial and body hair, and the loss of head hair in women with PCOS.

Another interesting correlation the researchers found was that higher l-carnitine levels were associated with higher sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is frequently low in women with PCOS.

More Information:

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Fenkci SM et al, Serum total L-carnitine levels in non-obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome, Hum Reprod. 2008 Jul;23(7):1602-6.

Foitzik K et al, L-carnitine-L-tartrate promotes human hair growth in vitro, Exp Dermatol. 2007 Nov;16(11):936-45.

Lakhani K et al, Microvascular dysfunction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, Hum Reprod. 2005 Nov;20(11):3219-24.

Mingorance C et al, Critical update for the clinical use of L-carnitine analogs in cardiometabolic disorders, Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2011; 7: 169–176

Power, RA et al, Carnitine revisited: potential use as adjunctive treatment in diabetes, Diabetologia. 2007 Apr;50(4):824-32.

Rajasekar P et al, L-Carnitine inhibits protein glycation in vitro and in vivo: evidence for a role in diabetic management, Acta Diabetol. 2007 Jun;44(2):83-90.

Rajasekar P et al, Beneficial impact of L-carnitine in liver: a study in a rat model of syndrome X, Amino Acids. 2007 Aug 24 [Epub ahead of print]

Reda E et al, The carnitine system and body composition, Acta Diabetol. 2003 Oct;40 Suppl 1:S106-13.

Sachan DS et al, Decreasing Oxidative Stress with Choline and Carnitine in Women, J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun;24(3):172-6.

Shankar SS et al, L-carnitine may attenuate free fatty acid-induced endothelial dysfunction, Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Nov;1033:189-97.

Stephens FB et al, New insights concerning the role of carnitine in the regulation of fuel metabolism in skeletal muscle, J Physiol. 2007 Jun 1;581(Pt 2):431-44.

Warshaw JB, Curry E. Comparison of serum carnitine and ketone body concentrations in breast and in formula-fed infants. J Pediatr 1980; 97: 122–125

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