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Jornal de Pneumologia

Print version ISSN 0102-3586On-line version ISSN 1678-4642


SILVA, Audrey Borghi et al. Influence of oral L-carnitine supplementation combined with physical training on exercise tolerance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J. Pneumologia [online]. 2003, vol.29, n.6, pp.379-385. ISSN 0102-3586.

BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease usually present intolerance to physical exertion due to ventilatory limitation. L-carnitine has been used to enhance aerobic capacity in patients with chronic diseases, but no study seems to be available for this patient population. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of L-carnitine supplementation (2 g/day) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients undergoing physical training three times a week for six weeks. METHOD: Patients (mean age 69 ± 7 years, n = 30) with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and < 65% of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) were separated into three groups of 10 patients each. Group 1 (G1, n = 10) received physical training and L-carnitine (2 g/day), group 2 (G2, n = 10) received physical training and placebo, and group 3 (G3, n = 10) received only L-carnitine (2 g/day). Spirometry and a 6-minute walking distance test were performed before and after intervention. Plasma levels of free carnitine were measured at the beginning and end of the study. RESULTS: A significant increase in walking distance was found only in G1 and G2 (421 ± 100 to 508 ± 80.7 and 496 ± 78.7 to 526 ± 64.3 respectively). In addition, heart rates during physical training sessions were found to be significantly lower in G1 when compared to G2. There were no significant changes in spirometric variables, oxygen saturation or dyspnea in any group. Plasma levels of free L-carnitine were found to increase only in G3 (59.2 ± 13.8 to 102.3 ± 15.3 mmol/L). CONCLUSION: Oral L-carnitine supplementation combined with physical training may improve tolerance to physical exertion in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.

Keywords : Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Carnitine [therapeutic use]; Spirometry [methods]; Exercise; Walking.

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