A new meta-analysis has found that L-carnitine does not significantly increase hemoglobin or decrease the required erythropoietin dose in patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD), contrary to a previous meta-analysis. L-cartinine, however, significantly decreases serum levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

Yizhi Chen, MD, of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Medical Academy in Beijing, and collaborators analyzed data from 49 randomized controlled trials examining the effects of L-carnitine in adult MHD patients. L-carnitine decreased the mean LDL level by 5.82 mg/dL and mean CRP level by 3.65 mg/L, the investigators reported online ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. L-carnitine had no significant effect on triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, hemoglobin, hematocrit, albumin, or the required erythropoietin dose.