Home > Carnitine in alcohol use disorders: a scoping review.

Bota, A Brianne and Simmons, John Graydon and DiBattista, Alicia and Wilson, Kumanan (2021) Carnitine in alcohol use disorders: a scoping review. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 45, (4), pp. 666-674. doi: 10.1111/acer.14568.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.1...

Recent studies in alcohol use disorders (AUDs) have demonstrated some connections between carnitine metabolism and the pathophysiology of the disease. In this scoping review, we aimed to collate and examine existing research available on carnitine metabolism and AUDs and develop hypotheses surrounding the role carnitine may play in AUD. A scoping review method was used to search electronic databases in September 2019. The database search terms used included "alcohol, alcoholism, alcohol abuse, alcohol consumption, alcohol drinking patterns, alcohol-induced disorders, alcoholic intoxication, alcohol-related disorders, binge drinking, Wernicke encephalopathy, acylcarnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine, acetylcarnitine, carnitine and palmitoylcarnitine." The inclusion criteria included English language, human-based, AUD diagnosis and measured blood or tissue carnitine or used carnitine as a treatment. Of 586 studies that were identified and screened, 65 underwent abstract review, and 41 were fully reviewed. Eighteen studies were ultimately included for analysis. Data were summarized in an electronic data extraction form.

We found that there is limited literature available. Alcohol use appears to impact carnitine metabolism, most clearly in the setting of alcoholic cirrhosis. Six studies found carnitine to be increased in AUD, of which 5 were conducted in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Only 3 placebo-controlled trials were identified and provide some support for the use of carnitine in AUD to decrease cravings, anhedonia, and withdrawal and improve cognition. The increase in plasma carnitine in alcoholic cirrhosis may be related to disordered fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stress that occurs in AUD. The multiple possible therapeutic effects carnitine could have on ethanol metabolism and the early evidence available for carnitine supplementation as a treatment for AUD provide a foundation for future randomized control trials of carnitine for treating AUD.

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