L-Carnitine improves gastrointestinal disorders and altered the intestinal microbiota in hemodialysis patients

Junichiro Irie, Yoshihiko Kanno, Rieko Kikuchi, Tadashi Yoshida, Seizo Murai, Miwako Watanabe, Hiroshi Itoh, Matsuhiko Hayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Patients receiving hemodialysis also manifest gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, caused by restriction of water intake and the loss of body water balance. Because dietary carnitine deficiency is considered to cause smooth muscle dysmotility of the gastrointestinal tract similarly to that in skeletal muscles, carnitine deficiency in hemodialysis patients may be one cause of gastrointestinal discomfort and dysfunctions. We performed a multicenter nonrandomized single-arm prospective clinical trial. Fifteen Japanese patients receiving hemodialysis were administered L-carnitine tablets (900 mg) for 3 months, and clinical and biochemical analyses were performed before and after treatment. The serum total carnitine level was increased significantly by supplementation with L-carnitine for 3 months (from 40.9 ± 2.6 μmol/l to 172.3 ± 19.0 μmol/l, p < 0.05). The myasthenia score was decreased significantly by the supplementation (from 1.3 ± 0.3 to 0.8 ± 0.2, p < 0.05). The frequency of passing stool tended to increase with the treatment for 3 months (from 4.2 ± 0.5 times/week to 4.8 ± 0.5 times/week). A phyla-level analysis of the microbiota showed that the composition of the individual microbiota was not different between before and after supplementation. A genus-level analysis, however, revealed that the relative abundance of genus Clostridium subcluster 4 was significantly decreased by the supplementation (from 7.7 ± 1.9% to 4.7 ± 1.3%, p < 0.05). Oral supplementation of L-carnitine to the patients receiving hemodialysis improved not only their muscle discomfort but also their gastrointestinal disorders and microbiota, although its effect on the prognosis of hemodialysis patients should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalBioscience of Microbiota, Food and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Carnitine
  • Clostridium
  • Constipation
  • Microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Gastroenterology


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