Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 6 (15), 3379-86

Carnitine Function and Requirements During the Life Cycle

Affiliations
  • PMID: 1464372
Review

Carnitine Function and Requirements During the Life Cycle

C J Rebouche. FASEB J.

Abstract

L-Carnitine has been described as a "conditionally essential" nutrient for humans. Segments of the human population suggested as having a requirement for carnitine include infants (premature and full-term), patients on long-term parenteral nutrition, and perhaps children. The evidence to support these claims includes 1) low circulating carnitine concentrations; 2) abnormal (or at least different) circulating metabolite concentrations (free fatty acids, triglycerides, ketone bodies), and 3) very limited and inconsistent growth data. A number of subjective observations and anecdotal case reports have been offered in support of a requirement for carnitine. Exogenous carnitine is required to maintain "normal" (in the epidemiologic sense) plasma or serum carnitine concentrations in humans of all ages. But "functional carnitine deficiency," defined by abnormal clinical presentation correctable by carnitine administration, has not been demonstrated in an otherwise normal (nonpathologic) population. On the other hand, nutritional or pharmacological intervention with carnitine or its esters may be beneficial for very premature infants, infants and children with various clinical conditions associated with low circulating carnitine concentrations, and in some chronic diseases associated with the aging process.

Similar articles

  • Plasma and Urine Carnitine Levels During Development
    PA Battistella et al. Pediatr Res 14 (12), 1379. PMID 7193844.
    Plasma and urine free carnitine concentration during human development was evaluated. A positive correlation was found between plasma level and body weight in premature n …
  • [L-carnitine: Metabolism, Functions and Value in Pathology]
    C Jacob et al. Pathol Biol (Paris) 40 (9), 910-9. PMID 1296165. - Review
    Although L-carnitine is not considered as an essential nutrient, endogenous synthesis may fail to ensure adequate L-carnitine levels in neonates, especially those born pr …
  • Carnitine Deficiency Disorders in Children
    CA Stanley. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1033, 42-51. PMID 15591002. - Review
    Mitochondrial oxidation of long-chain fatty acids provides an important source of energy for the heart as well as for skeletal muscle during prolonged aerobic work and fo …
  • Carnitine Metabolism and Function in Humans
    CJ Rebouche et al. Annu Rev Nutr 6, 41-66. PMID 3524622. - Review
    It is apparent from the foregoing discussion that carnitine plays an essential role in human intermediary metabolism. The question of a dietary requirement for carnitine, …
  • Lack of Effect of L-carnitine Supplementation on Weight Gain in Very Preterm Infants
    S Pande et al. J Perinatol 25 (7), 470-7. PMID 15858602. - Clinical Trial
    Prolonged supplementation of L-carnitine did not improve long-term weight gain in very preterm infants.
See all similar articles

Cited by 58 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback