Comparison of the Plasma and Urinary Carnitine Profiles between Omnivore and Vegetarian Female College Students

  • Cha, Youn-Soo (Department of Food Science & Human, and Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics, Chonbuk National University) ;
  • Cho, Sang-Woon (Department of Food Science & Human, and Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics, Chonbuk National University) ;
  • Sung, Mi-Kyung (Department of Food & Nutrition, Sookmyung Women′s University)
  • Published : 2002.07.01


This study compared the effect of Korean vegetarian and omnivorous diets on plasma carnitine concentrations and urinary carnitine excretion. Twenty lactoovovegetarian and twenty omnivorous female college students consented to participate in this study. Daily nutritional intake and plasma and urinary nonesterified carnitine (NEC), acid-soluble acylcarnitine (ASAC), acid-insoluble acylcarnitine (AIAC), and total carnitine (TCNE) were determined. Daily protein, fat, retinol, vitamin B$_2$and vitamin B$\_$12/ intakes were significantly lower for vegetarians, however, fiber, carbohydrate, $\beta$-carotene, folic acid and vitamin C consumptions were much higher for vegetarians than omnivores. There were no differences in plasma NEC, ASAC, AIAC and TCNE concentrations between the two groups. Urinary carnitine excretion was lower in vegetarians, but only the differences in ASAC and TCNE excretions were statistically significant. These results suggest that the lower excretion of ASAC in vegetarians may be a reflection of their lipid metabolic state and that Korean vegetarian diets may accommodate lower carnitine intakes through efficient urinary conservation of carnitine.


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