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Study of carnitine activity as marker for ME/CFS mitochondrial dysfunction, recruiting in Australia

  [ 11 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ] • October 19, 2012

The ME/CFS Society of South Australia ( has announced a clinical research study being conducted with its assistance by the University of South Australia’s School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences.

Study title:
"Assessment of Fatty Acid/Carnitine Homeostasis in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)" Protocol # LC/12.8

The researchers are “in urgent need of volunteers” - both ME/CFS patients and controls - for this investigation to follow up on their previous research “suggesting that ME/CFS is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and an impairment in the way that specific types of fats are processed for energy.”

The team will investigate “possible disturbances in the levels of fatty acids and carnitines" in ME/CFS patients. Fatty acids and carnitines are naturally occurring compounds that are found in all mammals and have an important role in energy production. Previous research has suggested that the levels of omega-3 fatty acids and carnitines in the blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are different from those in healthy people.” (For background, see 'Administration of Omega-3 fatty acids plus L-carnitine would improve ME/CFS symptomology' by supporting efficient mitochondrial function, groundbreaking study suggests.")

The objective of this follow-up study - which involves taking a blood sample and breath testing - is to identify simple measures that might be used “as a diagnostic criterion for chronic fatigue syndrome.”

Volunteers can choose to take part in the blood test (Part A) only, or in both the blood test and the breath testing (Part B).

Part A of the study (a single blood sample) “is being conducted to investigate if the blood levels of fatty acids and carnitines are different in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome compared to healthy subjects.” Blood samples for Part A can be collected at any local IMVS collection centre (located throughout South Australia) at any time that is convenient for the volunteer.

And part B of the study (breath testing) “will investigate how fats are processed by patients with chronic fatigue syndrome compared to healthy subjects.” This testing will be conducted at the University of South Australia, City East Campus after all of the blood samples in Part A have been collected. (They will try to arrange assessment days for the convenience of participants).

Study participants will be reimbursed ($20 for Part A and $100 for Part B) for out-of-pocket expenses, inconvenience and time involved.

Participants must be at least 18 years of age and not be taking any medications or have any medical conditions that would affect the levels that will be measured (“note that most conditions and medications are fine”).

For more information, please contact Dr. Stephanie Reuter Lange via email ( or call +61 8 8302 1872.

To read a PDF Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form click here.

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Levocarnitine and Omegas
Posted by: PaulineB
Oct 24, 2012
I find this extremely fascinating as my son with CFS is doing much better since being on Levocarnitine supplement (Rx) + Vayarin (Rx Omega). We are in the U.S. Not a cure, but definitely helps a lot! Hopefully this study will help many other people.
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