L-Carnitine & Hypothyroidism
The body can normally manufacture the biochemical carnitine; L-carnitine, one of two types, is present in beef, chicken, fish, dairy products, grains and legumes and is available in supplement form. Carnitine helps the body metabolize fat and may be effective in treating a host of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetic neuropathy and hyperthyroidism, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is not an appropriate treatment for hypothyroidism, however, and may worsen the condition.
The thyroid is a gland at the base of the throat that controls a variety of functions in the human body, including metabolism, body temperature regulation and heart rhythm. It produces two hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, and is regulated by a third hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is produced in the pituitary. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can cause a host of symptoms, including weight gain, fatigue, paleness, dry skin, sensitivity to cold and depression.
Effects of Carnitine
Thyroid Effects on Skin
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, carnitine is successful in treating hyperthyroidism possibly because of its ability to block the effects of thyroid hormones – a potentially dangerous effect for people suffering from an underactive thyroid. The medical center stresses that more study is needed; at the time of publication, there was no definitive proof of the effects of carnitine on hypothyroidism. Those suffering from the condition should allow their physician to monitor their thyroid levels regularly and should not attempt self-medication with any supplements, including L-carnitine, without discussing the issue with their doctor.
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Hypothyroidism, Metformin & Weight Loss
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Importance of Exercise With Thyroid Disease
Side Effects of Guggul and Guggulsterones
What Does Low TSH Level Mean?
Can I Eat Seaweed If I Have Hyperthyroidism?
- National Institutes of Health: Health Information; Carnitine
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Carnitine (L-Carnitine)
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: NEMDIS; Thyroid Function Tests
- MedlinePlus: Hypothyroidism
- Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. 2007 Mar-Apr;25(2):182-8. All rights reserved. "Double-blind, multicenter trial comparing acetyl l-carnitine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients."
- Neuropsychobiology. 1997;35(1):16-23. All rights reserved. "Amantadine and L-carnitine treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."
- Nippon Rinsho. Japanese journal of clinical medicine. 2007 Jun;65(6):1005-10. "Chronic fatigue syndrome and neurotransmitters"
May Fredenburg has been writing for publication for more than 30 years. She has covered topics ranging from education, health and nutrition to business and politics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education and has taken classes in audio engineering and video and film directing and producing.