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Efficacy and Effectiveness of Carnitine Supplementation for Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis

School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia
Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4226, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1224;
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 29 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Supplements)
Background: Carnitine deficiency has been implicated as a potential pathway for cancer-related fatigue that could be treated with carnitine supplementation. The aim of this systematic literature review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the literature regarding the use of supplemental carnitine as a treatment for cancer-related fatigue. Methods: Using the PRISMA guidelines, an electronic search of the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and reference lists was conducted. Data were extracted and independently assessed for quality using the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics evidence analysis by two reviewers. In studies with positive quality ratings, a meta-analysis was performed using the random-effects model on Carnitine and cancer-related fatigue. Results: Twelve studies were included for review with eight reporting improvement in measures of fatigue, while four reported no benefit. However, many studies were non-randomized, open-label and/or used inappropriate dose or comparators. Meta-analysis was performed in three studies with sufficient data. Carnitine did not significantly reduce cancer-related fatigue with a standardized mean difference (SMD) of 0.06 points ((95% CI −0.09, 0.21); p = 0.45). Conclusion: Results from studies with lower risk of bias do not support the use of carnitine supplementation for cancer-related fatigue. View Full-Text
Keywords: carnitine; fatigue; cancer; dietary supplement; systematic review carnitine; fatigue; cancer; dietary supplement; systematic review
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Marx, W.; Teleni, L.; Opie, R.S.; Kelly, J.; Marshall, S.; Itsiopoulos, C.; Isenring, E. Efficacy and Effectiveness of Carnitine Supplementation for Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1224.

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