Supplements for heart health: Vitamin E found to have a synergistic effect when combined with the amino acid carnitine, protecting against heart attack
01/18/2018 // Russel Davis // Views

Combining carnitine with vitamin E may effectively reduce the risk of developing myocardial infarction (MI), according to a study published in the African Journal of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicines. A team of health experts at the King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia used animal models of MI to carry out the study.

The rats were divided into five groups, three of which were given either carnitine, vitamin E or both, while one group was given a standard diet and another one served as the control arm. The combination treatment was also given for up to 21 days. The animals were then injected with isoproterenol for three consecutive days to induce MI. The results revealed that the combination treatment helped improve coronary flow in the treated animals.

Likewise, the findings revealed that animals treated with the combination treatment attained significant improvements in the recovery of rate pressure product (RPP) and left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP) compared with their untreated counterparts. The researchers also observed that the levels of cardiac inflammatory markers interleukine-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF- ?) were greatly reduced in treated rats. Moreover, the combination treatment helped reduce the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), which served as a hallmark of MI onset.

"Combination of carnitine with vitamin E pretreatment normalized the levels of malondialdehyde and antioxidant enzymes of cardiac tissue in rats injected with ISO. The histopathological examinations support the biochemical analysis by improving the caridocyte with reduction in infiltration of monocyte in rats supplemented with both carnitine and vitamin E. Further studies are needed to determine signal mediated by which vitamin E and carnitine protective effect against MI," the researchers concluded.


Vitamin E, carnitine may work as stand-alone therapies too

A large number of studies also demonstrated that both vitamin E and carnitine contained powerful cardioprotective properties on their own, which made them ideal stand-alone treatments against a plethora of cardiovascular conditions. (Related: Vitamin E tocotrienols protect the heart and prevent metabolic syndrome.)

For instance, a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Lipid Research demonstrated that vitamin E supplementation might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders and subsequent death in patients with Hp 2-2 genotype diabetes (Hp 2-2 DM). Data from various clinical trials revealed that vitamin e supplementation was associated with a 15 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular deaths. Likewise, the results demonstrated that vitamin E might slash the risk of developing myocardial infarction and stroke in patients.

"Vitamin E has been shown to be cardioprotective in certain patient subgroups under high levels of oxidative stress such as those individuals on hemodialysis or in diabetic individuals with the Hp 2-2 genotype. A plausible biological rational has been provided. The adoption of a pharmacogenomic approach to the use of vitamin E appears to identify a subgroup of individuals for whom vitamin E provides significant clinical benefit," the experts wrote.

Another systematic review carried out by Mayo Clinic researchers found that carnitine intake may lead to a significant decline in cardiovascular risk. The research team pooled data from 13 clinical trials as part of the analysis. The trials examined the effects of carnitine intake on cardiovascular ailments such as ventricular arrhythmias (VAs), angina, heart failure, and reinfarction.

"Compared with placebo or control, L-carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in VAs, and a 40% reduction in anginal symptoms in patients experiencing an AMI. Further study with large randomized controlled trials of this inexpensive and safe therapy in the modern era is warranted," the scientists observed.

However, the scientists acknowledged several limitations of the analysis and concluded that a larger study might be warranted to solidify the findings.

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