The Importance of the Fatty Acid Transporter L-Carnitine in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
Savic D., Hodson L., Neubauer S., Pavlides M.
L-carnitine transports fatty acids into the mitochondria for oxidation and also buffers excess acetyl-CoA away from the mitochondria. Thus, L-carnitine may play a key role in maintaining liver function, by its effect on lipid metabolism. The importance of L-carnitine in liver health is supported by the observation that patients with primary carnitine deficiency (PCD) can present with fatty liver disease, which could be due to low levels of intrahepatic and serum levels of L-carnitine. Furthermore, studies suggest that supplementation with L-carnitine may reduce liver fat and the liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) in patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). L-carnitine has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and elevate pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) flux. Studies that show reduced intrahepatic fat and reduced liver enzymes after L-carnitine supplementation suggest that L-carnitine might be a promising supplement to improve or delay the progression of NAFLD.