Modern medicine has vastly improved the various methods of cancer treatment that are now available to patients. While cancer survival rates have been on the rise in the past few years, the fact that cancer treatments such as radiology and chemotherapy take a severe toll on a patient’s body still remains the same. One of the main side effects that patients experience with these therapies is fatigue. So without going through more invasive therapy, what solution can cancer survivors turn to? According to a new study, it turns out that carnitine may hold some promise in the battle against cancer-caused fatigue.
According to a new study out of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, and published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, researchers have found that supplementing with carnitine can help cancer patients deal with cancer-related fatigue. The researchers deemed that a dose of three grams per day was both safe and effective.
Now, before we get into the study, let’s look at what carnitine is all about, exactly. Carnitine, which is also known as L-carnitine or levocarnitine, is a compound that is borne from the fusion of two very helpful amino acids known as methionine and lysine. It works in your body to move fatty acids around in your cells; namely, it transports these acids from the cytosol to the mitochondria. Vitamin C also plays a role in the synthesis of this nutrient.
Basically, what all this means is that carnitine takes those fatty acids and moves them around in your cells in way that helps them to be oxidized for energy. Carnitine helps boost your energy levels in this way, which is why it is sold as a supplement. You can also glean carnitine from many healthy, all-natural sources as well, such as the following foods:
— Beef, pork, and other lean red meats — Nuts and seeds such as sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin — Legumes and pulses such as peanuts, peas, lentils, and beans — Veggies such as artichokes, broccoli, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, okra, mustard greens, parsley, asparagus, and beet greens — Natural selections such as bee pollen, brewer’s yeast, kale, and carob — Fruits such as apricots and bananas — Grains such as millet, buckwheat, corn, rice bran, oatmeal, rye, whole wheat, wheat germ, and wheat bran
As you can see, there are many diverse and healthy sources of carnitine available to you. While supplementation is always an option, going the all-natural route will give you many added benefits, such as a wide variety of other nutrients as well.
Let’s get back to the study. Researchers looked at 27 cancer patients who were not getting enough carnitine. The participants were randomly selected to receive either a seven-day course of carnitine supplements (at three grams per day) or placebo. The participants were also asked to fill out questionnaires that detailed their fatigue and also asked about their sleeping patterns and any possible symptoms of depression that they may have been experiencing. This questionnaire was administered before and after the carnitine supplementation.
The findings? It turned out that the participants who were given the carnitine supplements saw their fatigue decrease significantly, as opposed to those taking placebo. There were no side effects to taking the supplements, even at the highest dose.
More studies are underway to help bolster this finding, but for now, if you do have cancer and dealing with fatigue, then consider adding natural sources of carnitine to your diet or speak to your doctor about supplementation.