While traditional medicine hardly recognizes the Connection between Congestive Heart Failure and Carnitine Deficiency, this lack of knowledge may be hurting a LOT of people who could really benefit from correction of carnitine deficiency.
Carnitine is an amino acid that is 'conditionally essentially', meaning that it is USUALLY made from two other amino acids, but that under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to get it in the diet. But the 'conditional' part of that is mostly ignored by those in medicine who mostly would barely be able to tell you that carnitine is an amino acid- let alone recognize carnitine deficiency symptoms or order a test for it. But research shows that carnitine may be more important to Congestive Heart Failure Nutrition than most people give it credit for.
While Carnitine for Fatigue has been particularly well studied, heart failure and carnitine has had some MAJOR research studies done as well. Not only as a helpful addition to standard treatment, but as a completely stand-alone CHF treatment in certain cases as well.
Along with Coenzyme Q10 for Heart Failure, Carnitine is responsible for getting fatty acids inside of cells to be burned for energy. It can be likened to the guy who shovels coal on a steam engine. You can have plenty of coal and a working engine, but without carnitine to 'shovel' the fats into the cell- you have no way to make energy. And this includes energy to HEART cells as well. Most doctors assume that carnitine deficiency is rare, and this may be true in people who are WELL, but it seems that people who have chronic health problems- particularly if there is fatigue- either:
One particularly large and high quality study on heart failure and carnitine showed that, across the board, patients with congestive cardiac failure improved more taking carnitine than those who did not. And this was regardless of the causes of congestive heart failure.
Other studies showed that carnitine was able to:
Most cases of Pediatric Congenital Heart Failure are called 'idiopathic', meaning that doctors can't find a cause of the heart failure. But there are several nutritional causes that doctors just simply don't look for:
can not only be the PRIMARY causes, but the CURE for these terrible cases of heart failure as well. There are certain children that get heart failure soon after birth. These children are EXTREMELY sick and many don't survive. In most of these cases, the cause of this heart failure is unknown, but in certain cases of this 'Congential' heart failure, these children may simply have an inability to make carnitine. In these cases of heart failure carnitine is the only way to get these children well. WITH carnitine they go on to have normal lives- without carnitine- they die.
"Dilated cardiomyopathy caused by nutritional deficiencies
seems to have a better prognosis than idiopathic
dilated cardiomyopathy… Thus, in an infant with cardiac
failure, a nutritional cause deserves early consideration"
Vitamin D deficiency and cardiac failure in infancy
Unfortunately, these children are not usually CHECKED for carnitine deficiency or given this amino acid to make sure that this is not the problem. No, these children are usually identified as needing carnitine because they have already had one or more siblings die from heart failure at a young age- which is how doctors diagnose these cases as 'familial' and begin to look for this carnitine and heart failure connection
Well, there must be serious side effects of Carnitine administration, otherwise it seems like everyone with heart failure should be getting this nutrient, right?
Nope, not at all!
This amino acid seems almost universally safe with virtually no side effects having been reported even at fairly high doses. If you think that doctors would have take notice of something that seems to have such beneficial effects for such a devastating chronic illness with almost no side effects, you'd be wrong.
"Most published data on carnitine... are favorable…
In currently used doses, these substances are
virtually devoid of significant side effects."
Carnitine and its derivatives in cardiovascular disease
Doctors are simply not the least bit aware of the use of carnitine in theory or in practice and this ignorance is keeping people from the benefits of this potentially beneficial nutrient- and infants are even dying from this widespread ignorance.
There are blood tests for Carnitine, but blood testing does not seem to reliably indicate the need for it. In tests with people who had fatigue, many of those who responded extremely well to carnitine supplementation had completely normal blood carnitine levels and simply did a 4 to 6 week trial of Carnitine Supplements to see if they worked. And indeed, the research DOES support just giving Carnitine a try in the case of Heart Failure and Carnitine as well.
But there IS also a urine 'Organic Acid' test that checks for the buildup of waste products associated with a lack of carnitine in the body as well as for the waste products of Coenzyme Q10 for Heart Failure. Since this test only checks for the EFFECTS that lack of carnitine and CoQ10 have on the body, it seems to be a more accurate measure of the NEED for these nutrients.
Congestive Heart Failure and Carnitine Deficiency is a serious issue, it's too bad that doctors are simply NOT paying attention. Find out what other Causes of Congestive Heart Failure doctors are ignoring.
Click below to see already answered questions about heart failure here....
Carnitine Linked to Heart Problems?
I have read about some studies recently linking Carnitine with heart disease. Could you comment on that? By the way, love your very educational and well-informed …
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