En Español
Health Encyclopedia

Nutritional Supplement

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

  • Healthy Aging/Senior Health

    Age-Related Cognitive Decline

    Several clinical trials suggest that this supplement delays onset of ARCD and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly
    Age-Related Cognitive Decline
    ×
     

    Several clinical trials suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine delays onset of ARCD and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly. In a controlled clinical trial, acetyl-L-carnitine was given to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment. After 45 days of acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation at 1,500 mg per day, significant improvements in cognitive function (especially memory) were observed.1 Another large trial of acetyl-L-carnitine for mild cognitive impairment in the elderly found that 1,500 mg per day for 90 days significantly improved memory, mood, and responses to stress. The favorable effects persisted at least 30 days after treatment was discontinued.2 Controlled3,4,5 and uncontrolled6 clinical trials on acetyl-L-carnitine corroborate these findings.

    Macular Degeneration

    In one study, supplementing with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 improved visual function in people with macular degeneration.
    Macular Degeneration
    ×
     

    In a double-blind study, supplementation with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 for 12 months resulted in an improvement in both visual function and in objective findings on eye examination (a decrease in the drusen-covered area on the retina).7

    Alzheimer’s Disease

    Short-term studies have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease who supplement with acetyl-L-carnitine experience improved memory, enhanced overall performance, and delayed disease progression.
    Alzheimer’s Disease
    ×
     

    Several clinical trials have found that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation delays the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,8 improves memory,9,10,11 and enhances overall performance in some people with Alzheimer’s disease.12,13 However, in one double-blind trial, people who received acetyl-L-carnitine (1 gram three times per day) deteriorated at the same rate as those given a placebo.14 Overall, however, most short-term studies have shown clinical benefits, and most long-term studies (one year) have shown a reduction in the rate of deterioration.15 A typical supplemental amount is 1 gram taken three times per day.

  • Brain Health

    Age-Related Cognitive Decline

    Several clinical trials suggest that this supplement delays onset of ARCD and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly
    Age-Related Cognitive Decline
    ×
     

    Several clinical trials suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine delays onset of ARCD and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly. In a controlled clinical trial, acetyl-L-carnitine was given to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment. After 45 days of acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation at 1,500 mg per day, significant improvements in cognitive function (especially memory) were observed.16 Another large trial of acetyl-L-carnitine for mild cognitive impairment in the elderly found that 1,500 mg per day for 90 days significantly improved memory, mood, and responses to stress. The favorable effects persisted at least 30 days after treatment was discontinued.17 Controlled18,19,20 and uncontrolled21 clinical trials on acetyl-L-carnitine corroborate these findings.

  • Stress and Mood Management

    Depression

    Acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown in several studies to significantly reduce depression symptoms in seniors.
    Depression
    ×
     

    Acetyl-L-carnitine may be effective for depression experienced by the elderly. A preliminary trial found that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation was effective at relieving depression in a group of elderly people, particularly those showing more serious clinical symptoms.22 These results were confirmed in another similar clinical trial.23 In that trial, participants received either 500 mg three times a day of acetyl-L-carnitine or a matching placebo. Those receiving acetyl-L-carnitine experienced significantly reduced symptoms of depression compared to those receiving placebo. At least two other clinical studies of acetyl-L-carnitine for depression in the elderly have reported similar results.24,25 The amount typically used is 500 mg three times daily, although one trial used twice that amount.

  • Men's Health

    Erectile Dysfunction

    In one study, supplementing with the combination of propionyl-L-carnitine (a form of L-carnitine) and acetyl-L-carnitine significantly improved erectile function in elderly men.
    Erectile Dysfunction
    ×

    In a double-blind study, supplementing with the combination of propionyl-L-carnitine (a form of L-carnitine) and acetyl-L-carnitine (2 grams of each per day) for six months significantly improved erectile function in elderly men with erectile dysfunction associated with low testosterone levels. Propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine were significantly more effective than testosterone treatment.26

    Male Infertility

    Acetylcarnitine may be a useful for treatment of male infertility caused by low quantities of immobile sperm.
    Male Infertility
    ×
     

    L-carnitine is a substance made in the body and also found in supplements and some foods (such as meat). It appears to be necessary for normal functioning of sperm cells. In preliminary studies, supplementing with 3–4 grams per day for four months helped to normalize sperm motility in men with low sperm quality.27,28 While the majority of clinical trials have used L-carnitine, one preliminary trial found that acetylcarnitine (4 grams per day) may also prove useful for treatment of male infertility caused by low quantities of immobile sperm.29

  • Eye Health Support

    Macular Degeneration

    In one study, supplementing with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 improved visual function in people with macular degeneration.
    Macular Degeneration
    ×
     

    In a double-blind study, supplementation with a proprietary blend of acetyl-L-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 for 12 months resulted in an improvement in both visual function and in objective findings on eye examination (a decrease in the drusen-covered area on the retina).30

  • Pain Management

    Fibromyalgia

    Supplementing with acetyl-L-carnitine may improve musculoskeletal pain, depression, and general health in people with fibromyalgia.
    Fibromyalgia
    ×
     

    In a double-blind trial, supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine in the amount of 1,500 mg per day for ten weeks was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving musculoskeletal pain, depression, and general health in people with fibromyalgia.31

  • Sexual Health

    Erectile Dysfunction

    In one study, supplementing with the combination of propionyl-L-carnitine (a form of L-carnitine) and acetyl-L-carnitine significantly improved erectile function in elderly men.
    Erectile Dysfunction
    ×

    In a double-blind study, supplementing with the combination of propionyl-L-carnitine (a form of L-carnitine) and acetyl-L-carnitine (2 grams of each per day) for six months significantly improved erectile function in elderly men with erectile dysfunction associated with low testosterone levels. Propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine were significantly more effective than testosterone treatment.32

  • Blood Sugar and Diabetes Support

    Type 1 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy

    Taking acetyl-L-carnitine may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
    Type 1 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy
    ×
    In a double-blind study of people with diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy), supplementing with acetyl-L-carnitine was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving subjective symptoms of neuropathy and objective measures of nerve function.33 People who received 1,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine three times per day tended to fare better than those who received 500 mg three times per day.

    Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy

    Taking acetyl-L-carnitine may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
    Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy
    ×

    In a double-blind study of people with diabetic neuropathy, supplementing with acetyl-L-carnitine was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving subjective symptoms of neuropathy and objective measures of nerve function.34 People who received 1,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine three times per day tended to fare better than those who received 500 mg three times per day.

  • Menstrual and PMS Support

    Amenorrhea

    Acetyl-L-carnitine may help restore menstruation in some amenorrheic women.
    Amenorrhea
    ×
     

    Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid that may have effects on brain chemicals and hormones that control female reproductive hormones. In a preliminary trial, 2 grams daily of acetyl-L-carnitine was given to amenorrheic women who had either low or normal blood levels of female hormones. Hormone levels improved in the women with low initial levels, and half of all the women resumed menstruating within three to six months after beginning supplementation.35 Controlled trials are needed to confirm these promising results.

  • Women's Health

    Amenorrhea

    Acetyl-L-carnitine may help restore menstruation in some amenorrheic women.
    Amenorrhea
    ×
     

    Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid that may have effects on brain chemicals and hormones that control female reproductive hormones. In a preliminary trial, 2 grams daily of acetyl-L-carnitine was given to amenorrheic women who had either low or normal blood levels of female hormones. Hormone levels improved in the women with low initial levels, and half of all the women resumed menstruating within three to six months after beginning supplementation.36 Controlled trials are needed to confirm these promising results.

What Are Star Ratings?
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

Temp Title
×
Temp Text

References

1. Cipolli C, Chiari G. [Effects of L-acetylcarnitine on mental deterioration in the aged: initial results.] Clin Ter 1990;132(6 Suppl):479-510 [in Italian].

2. Salvioli G, Neri M. L-acetylcarnitine treatment of mental decline in the elderly. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1994;20:169-76.

3. Genazzani E. [A controlled clinical study on the efficacy of L-acetylcarnitine in the treatment of mild to moderate mental deterioration in the aged. Conclusions.] Clin Ter 1990;132(6 Suppl):511-2.

4. Garzya G, Corallo D, Fiore A, et al. Evaluation of the effects of L-acetylcarnitine on senile patients suffering from depression. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1990;16:101-6.

5. Bonavita E. Study of the efficacy and tolerability of L-acetylcarnitine therapy in the senile brain. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:511-6.

6. Passeri M, Iannuccelli M, Ciotti G, et al. Mental impairment in aging: selection of patients, methods of evaluation and therapeutic possibilities of acetyl-L-carnitine. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1988;8(5):367-76.

7. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, et al. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica2005;219:154-66.

8. Pettegrew JW, Klunk WE, Panchalingam K, et al. Clinical and neurochemical effects of acetyl-L-carnitine in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging 1995;16:1-4.

9. Salvioli G, Neri M. L-acetylcarnitine treatment of mental decline in the elderly. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1994;20:169-76.

10. Rai G, Wright G, Scott L, et al. Double-blind, placebo controlled study of acetyl-l-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Curr Med Res Opin 1990;11:638-47.

11. Sano M, Bell K, Cote L, et al. Double-blind parallel design pilot study of acetyl levocarnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Arch Neurol 1992;49:1137-41.

12. Cucinotta D et al. Multicenter clinical placebo-controlled study with acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) in the treatment of mildly demented elderly patients. Drug Development Res 1988;14:213-6.

13. Bonavita E. Study of the efficacy and tolerability of L-acetylcarnitine therapy in the senile brain. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:511-6.

14. Thal LJ, Carta A, Clarke WR, et al. A 1-year multi-center placebo-controlled study of aceyl-L-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1996;47:705-11.

15. Calvani M, Carta A, Caruso G, et al. Action of acetyl-L-carnitine in neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease. Ann NY Acad Sci 1992;663:483-6.

16. Cipolli C, Chiari G. [Effects of L-acetylcarnitine on mental deterioration in the aged: initial results.] Clin Ter 1990;132(6 Suppl):479-510 [in Italian].

17. Salvioli G, Neri M. L-acetylcarnitine treatment of mental decline in the elderly. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1994;20:169-76.

18. Genazzani E. [A controlled clinical study on the efficacy of L-acetylcarnitine in the treatment of mild to moderate mental deterioration in the aged. Conclusions.] Clin Ter 1990;132(6 Suppl):511-2.

19. Garzya G, Corallo D, Fiore A, et al. Evaluation of the effects of L-acetylcarnitine on senile patients suffering from depression. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1990;16:101-6.

20. Bonavita E. Study of the efficacy and tolerability of L-acetylcarnitine therapy in the senile brain. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:511-6.

21. Passeri M, Iannuccelli M, Ciotti G, et al. Mental impairment in aging: selection of patients, methods of evaluation and therapeutic possibilities of acetyl-L-carnitine. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1988;8(5):367-76.

22. Tempesta E, Casella L, Pirrongelli C, et al. L-acetylcarnitine in depressed elderly subjects. A cross-over study vs placebo. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1987;13:417-23.

23. Garzya G, Corallo D, Fiore A, et al. Evaluation of the effects of L-acetylcarnitine on senile patients suffering from depression. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1990;16:101-6.

24. Guarnaschelli C, Fugazza G, Pistarini C. Pathological brain ageing: evaluation of the efficacy of a pharmacological aid. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1988;14:715-8.

25. Bella R, Biondi R, Raffaele R, Pennisi G. Effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on geriatric patients suffering from dysthymic disorders. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1990;10:355-60.

26. Cavallini G, Caracciolo S, Vitali G, et al. Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging. Urology2004;63:641-6.

27. Costa M, Canale D, Filicori M, et al. L-carnitine in idiopathic asthenozoospermia: a multicenter study. Andrologia 1994;26:155-9.

28. Vitali G, Parente R, Melotti C. Carnitine supplementation in human idiopathic asthenospermia: clinical results. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1995;21:157-9.

29. Moncada ML, Vicari E, Cimino C, et al. Effect of acetylcarnitine treatment in oligoasthenospermic patients. Acta Europaea Fertilitatis 1992;23:221-4.

30. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, et al. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica2005;219:154-66.

31. Rossini M, Di Munno O, Valentini G, et al. Double-blind, multicenter trial comparing acetyl l-carnitine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2007;25:182-8.

32. Cavallini G, Caracciolo S, Vitali G, et al. Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging. Urology2004;63:641-6.

33. Sima AA, Calvani M, Mehra M, Amato A. Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials. Diabetes Care 2005;28:89-94.

34. Sima AA, Calvani M, Mehra M, Amato A. Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials. Diabetes Care 2005;28:89-94.

35. Genazzani AD, Petraglia F, Algeri I, et al. Acetyl-l-carnitine as possible drug in the treatment of hypothalamic amenorrhea. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1991;70:487-92.

36. Genazzani AD, Petraglia F, Algeri I, et al. Acetyl-l-carnitine as possible drug in the treatment of hypothalamic amenorrhea. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1991;70:487-92.

37. No authors listed. Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Altern Med Rev 1999;4:438-41 [review].

38. Thal LJ, Carta A, Clarke WR, et al. A 1-year multi-center placebo-controlled study of aceyl-L-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1996;47:705-11.

39. Rai G, Wright G, Scott L, et al. Double-blind, placebo controlled study of acetyl-l-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Curr Med Res Opin 1990;11:638-47.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

Learn more about TraceGains, the company.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.