Acetyl L-carnintine for Seniors?

To follow up with my series of dietary supplements that may help to improve athletic performance, I considered a topical series on dietary supplements for presidential candidates. Not wanting to stray into the political arena, I quickly changed my mind about this idea. However, I have decided to continue writing an article on acetyl l-carnitine treatment for elderly persons with fatigue. Let’s leave the politicians and political pundits out of this debate…

Acetyl-l-carnitine for seniors?

Fatigue is a very common complaint among elderly persons. Unfortunately, there are few effective conventional treatment options for this particular complaint. A recent study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, suggests that supplementation with Acetyl L-carnitine in subjects over the age of 70, may help to relieve both physical and mental fatigue (Malaguarnera et al, 2008).
What is acetyl L-carnitine (ALC)?

Important! Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid that can be purchased as a dietary supplement without a prescription.

How does acetyl L-carnitine work?

It facilitates the uptake of acetyl-coenzyme-A into the mitochondria during fatty acid oxidation which results in enhanced acetylcholine production and the stimulation of protein and membrane phospholipid synthesis.

Dosage (used in this study): 2g of acetyl l-carnitine taken twice per day

Results (p values less than .05 are statistically significant):

  • muscle pain -27% versus -3% (p<0.05)
  • prolonged fatigue after exercise: 51% versus -4% (p<0.0001)
  • sleep disorders: 28% versus 4% (p<0.05)
  • physical fatigue: 7 versus -0.5 (p<0.0001)
  • mental fatigue: -3.3 versus 0.6 (p<0.0001)
  • fatigue severity scale: -22.5 versus 1.2 (p<0.0001)
  • mini mental state examination (MMSE) improvements: 3.4 versus 0.5 (p<0.0001)

Tolerability: No adverse events or lab abnormalities were reported in this study for subjects in either placebo of ALC groups.

Summary:

The results of this particular study suggest that subjects who consumed Acetyl L-carnitine had statistically significant reductions in:

  • muscle pain
  • physical and metal fatigue
  • sleep disorders.

Additionally, the results of this study suggest that ALC supplementation resulted in statistically significant improvement in cognitive status in persons over 70 years of age.

Reference:

  1. Malaguarnera M, Gargante MP, Cristaldi E, Colonna V, Messano M, Koverech A, Neri S, Vacante M, Cammalleri L, Motta M. Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) treatment in elderly patients with fatigue. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2008 Mar-Apr;46(2):181-90. Epub 2007 Jul 20.