L-Carnitine is a compound produced by the body from lysine and methionine. It can be acetylated to produce Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), which is similar but crosses the blood-brain barrier more efficiently. L-Carnitine is best known for its involvement in the mitochondrial oxidation of long-chain fatty acids.
WHAT IS ACETYL-L-CARNITINE? In the body, acetyl-L-carnitine is made from L-carnitine.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is used for a variety of mental disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory loss, late-life depression, thinking problems related to alcoholism, thinking problems related to Lyme disease, and thinking problems related to very poor liver function.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is used for tiredness related to getting older, tiredness related to a disease called multiple sclerosis, a muscle wasting disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, high levels of activity in children with the genetic condition fragile-X syndrome, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
Some men use acetyl-L-carnitine for infertility, symptoms of “Male menopause”, and a disease of the penis called Peyronie’s disease.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is given intravenously for alcohol withdrawal, nerve pain caused by antiviral drugs used to treat HIV, dementia, and reduced blood flow in the brain.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is injected into the muscle for a pain condition called fibromyalgia as well as nerve pain that typically affects the hands and feet.
The body can convert L-carnitine to acetyl-L-carnitine and vice versa.
No one knows whether the effects of acetyl-L-carnitine are from the chemical itself, from the L-carnitine it can make, or from some other chemical made along the way.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine improves memory and mental function in older people with some memory loss.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine improves feelings of mental and physical tiredness in older people.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine by mouth along with propionyl-L-carnitine seems to help symptoms related to declining male hormone levels.
This combination taken for 6 months seems to improve sexual dysfunction, depression, and fatigue in much the same way the male hormone testosteronedoes.
When given intravenously for 10 days then taken by mouth for 80 days, acetyl-L-carnitine helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and increase the amount of timebefore another alcoholic drink is consumed.
It’s not clear if taking acetyl-L-carnitine orally offers further benefit following IV treatment.
Acetyl-L-carnitine might slow the rate of disease progression, improve memory, and improve some measures of mental function and behavior in some patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Administering a single dose of acetyl-L-carnitine intravenously seems to produce short-term improvements in blood flow in the brains of people who have poor blood circulation in the brain.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine seems to improve memory in 30-60 year-old people whose use of alcohol has produced long-term thinking problems.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine seems to improve symptoms in people with nerve pain caused by diabetes.
Acetyl-L-carnitine seems to work best in people who have not had diabetes for along time or who have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.
Doses of 1000 mg taken two or three times daily seems to work better than doses of 500 mg three times daily.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine improves physical function and may improve mental function in people with poor brain function due to liver failure.
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine by mouth, along with L-carnitine, seems to increase sperm motion and may increase the rate of pregnancy in infertile men.
Taking acetyl-l-carnitine and l-carnitine after treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs seems to improve sperm count and sperm movement in men with infertility caused by a swelling of the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and epididymis.
Taking a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, L-carnitine, L-arginine, and Panax ginseng appears effective in increasing sperm movement in men with infertility caused by immobile sperm.
It is being investigated for severe nerve pain intensity caused by chemotherapy which might be reduced by small dosages.
Early research suggests that taking acetyl-L-carnitine along with the drug riluzole reduces the number of people with ALS who lose self-sufficiency compared to taking riluzole alone.
Early research suggests that taking acetyl-L-carnitine by mouth might reduce nerve pain caused by anti-retroviral treatment.
Applications Currently Being Researched
Early research suggests that acetyl-L-carnitine might improve mood anddecrease depression in elderly people.
When injected into the muscle or taken by mouth, acetyl-L-carnitine appears to reduce some symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Early research suggests that taking acetyl-L-carnitine might reduce feelings oftiredness in people with multiple sclerosis.
Early research suggests that taking acetyl-L-carnitine reduces the need for pain medication in people with sciatica.