Acetyl L-carnintine for Seniors?

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.


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.


  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.
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