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Dietary carnitine supplementation to prevent hepatic lipidosis in cats
Hepatic lipidosis in obese cats is a common and potential life-threatening problem. This interesting study tries to find out whether the fat metabolism in obese cats could be changed by carnitine and if it may reduce the risk for hepatic lipidosis. A very important study which shows that carnitine supplementation should be considered as a prevention in cats `at risk`!

This study was designed to determine whether dietary carnitine supplement could protect cats from ketosis and improve carnitine and lipid metabolism in experimental feline hepatic lipidosis (FHL).

Lean spayed queens received a diet containing 40 (CL group, n = 7) or 1000 (CH group, n = 4) mg/kg of L-carnitine during obesity development.

Plasma fatty acid, beta-hydroxybutyrate and carnitine, and liver and muscle carnitine concentrations were measured during experimental induction of FHL and after treatment.

In control cats (CL group), fasting and FHL increased the plasma concentrations of fatty acids two- to threefold (P < 0.0001) and beta-hydroxybutyrate > 10-fold (from a basal 0.22 +/- 0.03 to 1.70 +/- 0.73 after 3 wk fasting and 3.13 +/- 0.49 mmol/L during FHL).

In carnitine-supplemented cats, these variables increased significantly (P < 0.0001) only during FHL (beta-hydroxybutyrate, 1.42 +/- 0.17 mmol/L). L-Carnitine supplementation significantly increased plasma, muscle and liver carnitine concentrations.

Liver carnitine concentration increased dramatically from the obese state to FHL in nonsupplemented cats, but not in supplemented cats, which suggests de novo synthesis of carnitine from endogenous amino acids in control cats and reversible storage in supplemented cats.

These results demonstrate the protective effect of a dietary L-carnitine supplement against fasting ketosis during obesity induction.

Increasing the L-carnitine level of diets in cats with low energy requirements, such as after neutering, and a high risk of obesity could therefore be recommended.


Source: Blanchard G, Paragon BM, Milliat F, Lutton C. (2002): Dietary L-carnitine supplementation in obese cats alters carnitine metabolism and decreases ketosis during fasting and induced hepatic lipidosis. In: J Nutr. 2002 Feb;132(2):204-10.



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