Effect of Carnitine and herbal mixture extract on obesity induced by high fat diet in rats

Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2009 Oct 16;1(1):17. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-1-17.


Background: Obesity-associated type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing throughout the world. It is generally recognized that natural products with a long history of safety can modulate obesity.

Aim: To investigate the development of obesity in response to a high fat diet (HFD) and to estimate the effect of L-carnitine and an Egyptian Herbal mixture formulation (HMF) (consisting of T. chebula, Senae, rhubarb, black cumin, aniseed, fennel and licorice) on bodyweight, food intake, lipid profiles, renal, hepatic, cardiac function markers, lipid Peroxidation, and the glucose and insulin levels in blood and liver tissue in rats.

Method: White male albino rats weighing 80-90 gm, 60 days old. 10 rats were fed a normal basal diet (Cr), 30 rats fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 14 weeks during the entire study. Rats of the HFD group were equally divided into 3 subgroups each one include 10 rats. The first group received HFD with no supplement (HFD), the 2nd group HFD+L-carnitine and the third group received HFD+HMF. Carnitine and HMF were administered at 10th week (start time for treatments) for 4 weeks.Body weight, lipid profile & renal function (urea, uric acid creatinine) ALT & AST activities, cardiac markers, (LDH, C.K-NAC and MB) the oxidative stress marker reduced glutathione (GSH), and Malondialdehyde (MDA) catalase activity, in addition to glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance in serum & tissues were analyzed.

Results: Data showed that feeding HFD diet significantly increased final body weight, triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol, & LDL concentration compared with controls, while significantly decreasing HDL; meanwhile treatment with L-carnitine, or HMF significantly normalized the lipid profile.Serum ALT, urea, uric acid, creatinine, LDH, CK-NAC, CK-MB were significantly higher in the high fat group compared with normal controls; and administration of L-carnitine or herbal extract significantly lessened the effect of the HFD. Hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and high insulin resistance (IR) significantly increased in HFD in comparison with the control group. The treatment with L-carnitine or HMF improved the condition. HFD elevated hepatic MDA and lipid peroxidation associated with reduction in hepatic GSH and catalase activity; whereas administration of L-carnitine or herbal extract significantly ameliorated these hepatic alterations.

Conclusion: HFD induced obesity associated with a disturbed lipid profile, defective antioxidant stability, and high values of IR parameters; this may have implications for the progress of obesity related problems. Treatment with L-carnitine, or HMF extract improved obesity and its associated metabolic problems in different degrees. Also HMF has antioxidant, hypolipidaemic insulin sensitizing effects. Moreover HMF might be a safe combination on the organs whose functions were examined, as a way to surmount the obesity state; and it has a distinct anti-obesity effect.