- What other names is Acetyl-l-carnitine known by?
- What is Acetyl-l-carnitine?
- How does Acetyl-l-carnitine work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Acetyl-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, and thinking problems related to Lyme disease. It is also used for Down syndrome, poor circulation in the brain, cataracts, nerve pain due to diabetes, nerve pain due to drugs used in the treatment of AIDS, and facial paralysis.
Some men use acetyl-L-carnitine for infertility, symptoms of "male menopause" (low testosterone levels due to aging), and a disease of the penis called Peyronie's disease.
The body can convert L-carnitine to acetyl-L-carnitine and vice versa. But, 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. For now, don't substitute one form of carnitine for another.
Possibly Effective for...
- Improving memory problems in elderly people.
- Improving memory in people who use alcohol excessively. Taking acetyl-L-carnitine seems to improve memory in 30-60 year-old people whose use of alcohol has produced long-term thinking problems.
- Reducing nerve pain (neuropathy) caused by diabetes. Acetyl-L-carnitine reduces pain best in people who have not had diabetes for a long time or who have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.
- Treating Peyronie's disease, a connective tissue disease in men. Acetyl-L-carnitine seems to be more effective than a drug called tamoxifen for reducing pain and slowing worsening of the condition.
- Treating male infertility caused by inflammation of some reproductive organs and tissues (prostate, seminal vesicles, and epididymis). Taking acetyl-L-carnitine by mouth, along with L-carnitine for 6 months, seems to increase sperm count and sperm movement. The carnitines are used following 2 months of treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin.
- Treating symptoms of age-related testosterone deficiency ("male menopause"). 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 testosterone does.
- Improving blood flow to the brain. Administering a single dose of acetyl-L-carnitine intravenously (by IV) seems to produce short-term improvements in blood flow in the brains of people who have poor blood circulation in the brain.
- Treating Alzheimer's disease. Acetyl-L-carnitine is more likely to help those with early-onset Alzheimer's disease who are less than 66 years of age and have a faster rate of disease progression and mental decline.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Depression. Some research suggests acetyl-L-carnitine might improve mood and decrease depression in elderly people.
- Muscle weakness caused by medications taken for HIV disease. Some research suggests acetyl-L-carnitine might help relieve muscle weakness caused by some HIV treatments.
- Down syndrome.
- Thinking problems related to Lyme disease.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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