Slimming aid linked to heart disease

Capsules of L-carnitine are widely available in health food stores and online.

They are advertised as a fat-burning slimming aid and powerful muscle builder – and are also said to help people with heart conditions.

But new research indicates a link between L-carnitine and heart disease. It may be a key reason why eating too much red meat can damage the heart, separate from the effects of saturated fat or cholesterol, experts say.

The studies show that L-carnitine is broken down by certain gut bacteria to produce a potentially harmful compound,