Acetyl-L-carnitine

1. What is it and where does it come from?

Acetyl-L-carnitine is a dietary supplement, and the acetyl ester of L-carnitine is used to improve memory. It occurs naturally in animal products. Chemically, acetyl-L-carnitine is known as beta-acetoxy-gamma-N, N, N-trimethylaminobutyrate. Other names for acetyl-Lcarnitine include acetyl-levocarnitine, acetylcarnitine, l-acetylcarnitine, levacecarnine, and ST-200.

2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Acetyl-L-carnitine may have cardioprotective activity and may beneficially affect cardiac function. It may enhance sperm motility, have cytoprotective, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic activity.

3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Acetyl-L-carnitine levels may decrease with advancing age. However, because it is not an essential nutrient, true deficiencies do not occur.

4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

Most research involving acetyl-L-carnitine has used 500 mg three times per day, though some research has used double this amount. You should consult with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about how much acetyl-L-carnitine you should take. The dosage depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking acetyl-L-carnitine. If you are using acetyl-L-carnitine without first consulting your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more acetyl-L-carnitine or take it more often than what is written on the directions.

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