The research for combining fish oil and carnitine is growing. I have recommended the use of both fish oil and carnitine for a long time, espousing the many cardiovascular and fat loss benefits of both, especially when combined. As is often the case, clinical functional medicine is often many years ahead of the presence of placebo-controlled, double-blind studies. Recently, as in April of 2011, the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism published a study online from the Medical University of Vienna in which the researchers combined carnitine, omega-3s, and polyphenols and examined the effect on blood lipids and markers of energy production. This was a 12 week, 42 person, placebo-controlled study that examined the effects of a combination of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, and L-carnitine (which they coincidentally labeled PPC) on markers such as triglycerides, free-fatty acids, PPARα (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors), and the genes that control much of the cellular energy production processes. While there are journals whose sole purpose is to examine and explain the roles of PPAR function, suffice it to say that activating these receptors—especially the alpha receptors—can help improve energy production and fat-burning.
As expected, the research revealed this nutrient combination to be very effective. Triglycerides were lowered by 24% and free fatty acids decreased by 29% in the treatment group with the placebo group showing no changes. The researchers also showed that there was a significant increase in PPARα activation and a significant increase in the carnitine-dependent PPAR genes. The researchers conclusion was that the combination of omega-3s, carnitine, and polyphenols can markedly lower lipids and also showed “nutrition-related metabolic changes.” It’s always nice to see the scientific journals validate what we’ve seen in clinical practice for years—that fish oil and carnitine are a nutrient-combination powerhouse for fat loss. What I’ve seen work best is a 5:1 ratio of fish oil to carnitine, and if you drink coffee or tea you’re probably getting a sufficient amount of polyphenols. If the client is quite obese, and the BioSignature indicates issues with insulin managemen, I bump up the carnitine to 1 gram per 3 grams of fish oils.
Ann Nutr Metab. 2011 Apr 29;58(2):133-140. [Epub ahead of print] A Combination of (ω-3) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Polyphenols and L-Carnitine Reduces the Plasma Lipid Levels and Increases the Expression of Genes Involved in Fatty Acid Oxidation in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells and HepG2 Cells.Radler U, et al. SourceCenter for Pathobiochemistry and Genetics, Institute of Medical Chemistry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Copyright ©2011 Charles Poliquin