Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2015; 123(02): 95-100
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1390481
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Risks and Benefits of Carnitine Supplementation in Diabetes

M. Dambrova
1  Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Riga, Latvia
E. Liepinsh
1  Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Riga, Latvia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 08 September 2014
first decision 12 September 2014

accepted 15 September 2014

Publication Date:
24 October 2014 (online)


L-carnitine is a very popular food supplement due to its safety profile, antioxidant-type activity and suggested effects on energy metabolism pathways. L-carnitine participates in both fatty acid transport pathways and the export of acetyl groups out of the mitochondria. However, contradictory data exist concerning the pharmacological outcomes of L-carnitine treatment in diabetes mellitus, which is a highly prevalent metabolic disease characterised by hyperglycemia and associated with severe complications, including cardiovascular disease and dyslipidemia. Recently, the L-carnitine-derived metabolites, acylcarnitines and trimethylamine-N-oxide, have been associated with increased cardio-metabolic risks. This review aims to highlight the possible risks and benefits of L-carnitine supplementation.