Carnitine is an amino acid. Actyl L-carnitine is one form of carnitine. The body is naturally able to manufacture enough carnitine to meet its needs. However, some conditions can hinder its production. These conditions include genetic defects, certain medications that reduce carnitine levels (such as Depakene and Dilantin) as well as diseases that affect the liver, kidneys or brain. Actyl L-carnitine may be taken as a dietary supplement; however, check with your doctor before adding this supplement.
Acetyl L-carnitine plays an important role in the body’s normal function. It is responsible for transporting fatty acids into the heart’s mitochondria, so that they can produce energy. In individuals who have deficient amounts of carnitine, the cells’ mitochondria may not be able to receive fatty acids as well.
Neuropathy refers to nerve damage. It can affect the limbs and organs. Neuropathy can arise as a complication of diabetes in individuals with poorly controlled blood sugar. According to a study published in Diabetes Care from the American Diabetes Association, acetyl L-carnitine may help relieve diabetic neuropathy pain and may help regenerate nerve fibers. This study was done at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
According to researchers at the Geriatric Research Group in Italy, acetyl L-carnitine may be slightly helpful for those with alzheimer’s disease, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments. Researchers do not conclusively know how it works for these patients. However, it may work by being a mimic of the brain chemical acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s patients typically have lower than normal levels of acetylcholine. More research in this area is needed to provide conclusive proof.
You may experience side effects from acetyl L-carnitine. If you have an allergic reaction such as hives, itching, swelling of the hands, throat, or face, difficulty breathing or chest tightness, stop taking it immediately and see your doctor. Other possible side effects include aggression, depression, confusion, feeling overly active or excited (mania), nausea or vomiting.
Before you add an acetyl L-carnitine supplement to your daily regimen, it’s best to discuss it with your doctor, especially if you have certain factors, such as high blood pressure and heart or blood vessel disease. In addition, check with your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or breastfeeding. You also need to tell your doctor about any current medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines or supplements as well as any allergies to medicines.