Serum carnitine levels in children with iron-deficiency anemia with or without pica.Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2006 Jul-Aug; 23(5):381-5PH
Carnitine is ingested through animal-derived foods as well as synthesized in vivo. It plays an important role in the energy metabolism of many tissues. Iron acts as a co-factor for the synthesis of carnitine. However, the importance of iron deficiency as a cause of secondary carnitine deficiency is not well established. The aim of this study was to investigate the serum levels of carnitine in children with iron-deficiency anemia compared to those of healthy children and to determine if serum carnitine levels in with or without pica differ. The mean serum carnitine concentration in the iron-deficiency group was significantly lower than that in healthy children (12.44+/- 5.09 and 32.48 +/- 7.92 micromol/L, respectively, p < .001). In the iron-deficient group, serum carnitine levels, ferritin levels, and other hematological parameters were lowest in patients with pica (p < .001). Pearson correlation test indicated a positive correlation between serum carnitine and ferritin levels in iron-deficient patients. Based on the evidence about the effect of low iron on carnitine stores in animal studies, the authors propose that low serum carnitine levels in these children may be secondary to iron-deficiency anemia. However, further large-scale studies are needed to establish the frequency of carnitine deficiency in children with iron-deficiency anemia.