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Adverse effects of high dose carnitine supplementation of total parenteral nutrition on protein and fat oxidation in the critically ill.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of continuous and acute L-carnitine supplementation of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) on protein and fat oxidation in severe catabolism. A critically ill and severely malnourished male patient received TPN (non protein energy = 41 kcal/kg/day, provided equally as fat and glucose) over 38 days, without L-carnitine for 23 days and with carnitine supplements (15 mg/kg/day) for the following 15 days. Subsequently, he was given carnitine-free enteral nutrition for 60 more days. A four-hour infusion of 100 mg L-carnitine was given on day 11 of each TPN period. Indirect calorimetry was carried out after 11 days of either carnitine-free or supplemented TPN and at the initiation of enteral nutrition. Additional measurements were performed 4 hours and 24 hours after the acute infusions of carnitine. The rate of protein oxidation and the respiratory quotient were found to be higher, and the rate of fat oxidation to be lower, with carnitine-supplemented TPN, than with either carnitine-free TPN or enteral nutrition. Acute infusion of carnitine resulted in an increased rate of protein oxidation and a reduced rate of fat oxidation on both TPN-regimens. These unfavourable effects on protein metabolism may be due to an impairment of fat oxidation by excess amounts of carnitine.
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