Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) has been proposed as a risk marker and risk factor of cardiovascular disease. There have been a number of clinical reports suggesting that supplementation with L-carnitine can modulate systemic inflammation and lower circulating CRP concentrations, but the results have not been consistent.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search in Medline, Scopus and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was performed in December 2012 to identify clinical trials investigating the impact of oral L-carnitine supplementation on serum/plasma CRP concentration. A random effect method was used to calculate the combined effect size.
Results: Six studies comprising 541 cases and 546 controls met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis of included trials revealed a significant reduction of circulating CRP concentrations in subjects under L-carnitine intervention compared to the control treatment. The calculated combined weighted mean reduction in CRP concentrations was -0.39 mg/L [95% CI (-0.62 - -0.16)]. This effect size estimate was found to be robust and remained unaffected by the removal of each single study.
Conclusions: The overall findings of the present metaanalysis support the clinically relevant benefit of L-carnitine supplementation in lowering the circulating levels of CRP.