L-carnitine supplementation to diet: a new tool in treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis--a randomized and controlled clinical trial

Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jun;105(6):1338-45. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.719. Epub 2010 Jan 12.


Objectives: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a known metabolic disorder of the liver. No treatment has been conclusively shown to improve NASH or prevent disease progression. The function of L-carnitine to modulate lipid profile, glucose metabolism, oxidative stress, and inflammatory responses has been shown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of L-carnitine's supplementation on regression of NASH.

Methods: In patients with NASH and control subjects, we randomly dispensed one 1-g L-carnitine tablet after breakfast plus diet and one 1 g tablet after dinner plus diet for 24 weeks or diet alone at the same dosage and regimen. We evaluated liver enzymes, lipid profile, fasting plasma glucose, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)-IR, body mass index, and histological scores.

Results: At the end of the study, L-carnitine-treated patients showed significant improvements in the following parameters: aspartate aminotransferase (P=0.000), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (P=0.000), gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase (gamma-GT) (P=0.000), total cholesterol (P=0.000), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (P=0.000), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (P=0.000), triglycerides (P=0.000), glucose (P=0.000), HOMA-IR (P=0.000), CRP (P=0.000), TNF-alpha (P=0.000), and histological scores (P=0.000).

Conclusions: L-carnitine supplementation to diet is useful for reducing TNF-alpha and CRP, and for improving liver function, glucose plasma level, lipid profile, HOMA-IR, and histological manifestations of NASH.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carnitine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use*


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Carnitine