Science Update

L-carnitine supplementation improves pregnancy outcomes according to new study

Infertility affects approximately 7.3 million couples in the US. One of seven couples will
experience difficulty conceiving. In approximately 40-50% of these cases, the cause is unknown.
It may be related to toxicity, oxidative damage, poor nutritional status or nutritional
deficiencies, heavy metal or environmental toxicity, systemic disorders, hormonal imbalances,
xenobiotic exposure, age-related decline, or obesity.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) methods have existed for over four decades; however, pregnancy
success rates are still relatively low, with live births per transfer at approximately 30%.

Antioxidants have been shown to be effective in improving embryo qualities from in vitro
fertilization. L-carnitine (LC) has been mostly studied for improving male infertility and oocyte
or embryo quality. L-carnitine has been known to reduce reactive oxygen species and enhance
ATP production, which can contribute to the development of a high-quality embryo.

According to a study published last Wednesday, researchers demonstrated that L-carnitine
supplementation improves human embryo quality and achieves better pregnancy outcomes.
Supplementation with L-carnitine during in vitro maturation of oocytes improve their nuclear
maturation and subsequent embryo development after IVF.

In this human embryo study, researchers demonstrated improved embryo quality and
significantly better implantation, clinical pregnancy, and ongoing pregnancy rates. For every
embryo development stage, L-carnitine in culture media was demonstrated to be beneficial in
producing a higher number of good quality embryos compared to the control. Recommended
dosing of L-carnitine for male infertility is typically between 3 to 4 grams daily.

There was also a study published last Saturday that demonstrated myo-inositol’s effectiveness
in reducing gonadotropins and reducing the length of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in
women undergoing IVF. Other nutrients that may be beneficial to support fertility include
vitamin D, fish oil, and CoQ10.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Kim MK, Park JK, et al. Effects and pregnancy outcomes of L-carnitine supplementation
in culture media for human embryo development from in vitro fertilization. J Obstet Gynaecol
Res. 2018 Aug 1. doi: 10.1111/jog.13763.