Cardispan is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a dietary supplement, according to Drugs.com, which also notes that it is not available in the United States. The product is primarily sold over the Internet, with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama as source locations. According to Drugs.com, the main ingredient in Cardispan is levocarnitine, which has a number of effects on the body.
Claims of Weight Loss
Though advertisements for Cardispan indicate that it is a weight-loss supplement, prescription guidelines at Drugs.com and the Mayo Clinic do not credit Cardispan with weight-loss effects. Neither Drugs.com nor the Mayo Clinic indicates that Cardispan has metabolic effects on the body that would lead to weight loss.
The Mayo Clinic reports that one side effect of supplements like Cardispan that contain levocarnitine is an increase in body odor. Drugs.com notes that the body odor associated with Cardispan is unpleasant.
Upset Stomach, Nausea and Vomiting
Levocarnitine-based products like Cardispan can cause upset stomachs, nausea and vomiting, according to the Mayo Clinic and Drugs.com. Both consider these symptoms to be common side effects of levocarnitine. The Mayo Clinic notes that taking levocarnitine tablets with food may reduce these effects on the body but that most patients will experience it.
Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea
The Mayo Clinic and Drugs.com list diarrhea as a common side effect of levocarnitine-based supplements. Stomach cramping may also occur in conjunction with the diarrhea, and the Mayo Clinic adds general abdominal pain to the mix along with the cramps as a side effect of levocarnitine use.
Some individuals taking medications containing levocarnitine like Cardispan report allergic reactions. According to Drugs.com, these reactions can include rashes, hives, facial swelling and difficulty breathing. The Mayo Clinic notes that individuals experiencing these symptoms are having a severe reaction to the supplement and require emergency care.
According to the Mayo Clinic, using nutraceutical products such as Cardispan that contain levocarnitine can result in kidney malfunction. The Mayo Clinic reports that levocarnitine can build up in the bodily organs over time as usage continues, which can harm the kidneys. This is especially true if the person in question has a history of kidney disease.
People with a history of seizures will notice that their seizures are more frequent and of greater severity when they take supplements like Cardispan that contain levocarnitine, according to the Mayo Clinic.