[Note: Carnitine (aka L-carnitine) is an amino acid produced in the liver & kidneys, stored in the muscles, heart, and brain, and used by the cells’ mitochondria to turn fatty acids into energy. Deficiencies occur when the body can’t make enough or can’t transport it to the tissues. Hepatitis C is a viral disease involving inflammation of the liver.]
Background: Fatigue is an important determinant of altered quality of life in patients affected by chronic hepatitis C or the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Aim: In this study, we aimed at determining the contributory role of plasma levels of leptin and carnitine on fatigue in chronic hepatitis C and IBS. [Reportedly “the fatigue measured was not post exertional malaise.”]
Methods: We enrolled 70 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 42 with IBS and 44 healthy subjects.
Fatigue was evaluated using the Fatigue Impact Scale questionnaire. Body composition was assessed through impedance analysis. Plasma carnitine and leptin were measured.
• Fatigue scores were significantly more elevated in patients with chronic hepatitis C and IBS than in healthy subjects.
• Patients with chronic hepatitis C but not IBS, had significantly lower plasma levels of total and free carnitine adjusted for fat mass compared with healthy subjects.
• In patients with chronic hepatitis C and not with IBS, fatigue scores were negatively correlated with plasma levels of carnitine. [Those with more severe fatigue, had lower carnitine status & vice versa.]
Levels of free carnitine were significantly and independently associated with the severity of fatigue in patients with chronic hepatitis C [OR=2.019, P=0.02, CI 95% (1.01-1.23)].
Conclusions: In patients with chronic hepatitis C, the severity of fatigue is associated with a low level of carnitine, suggesting that an oral supplementation may be effective to relieve fatigue in chronic hepatitis C. The underlying mechanism of fatigue in IBS does not seem to involve carnitine.
Source: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Mar 2, 2011. PMID: 21366633, by Anty R, Marjoux S, Bekri S, Degalleani L, Dainese R, Gelsi E, Cherikh F, Tran A, Piche T. Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM); Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Nice; Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire de Recherche Biomédicale (IHURB), Rouen, France. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]