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Acetyl-L-carnitine is similar in form to the amino acid L-carnitine and also has some similar functions, such as being involved in the metabolism of food into energy.

Where is it found?

Acetyl-L-carnitine is a molecule that occurs naturally in the brain, liver, and kidney. It is also available as a dietary supplement.

Research has shown this supplement to help with these conditions:

  • Age-related cognitive decline
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression (for elderly people)
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Erectile dysfunction (in combination with L-carnitine)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Macular degeneration (in combination with fish oil and coenzyme Q10)
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

Who is likely to be deficient?

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

How much is usually taken?

Most research involving acetyl-L-carnitine has used 500 mg three times per day, though some research has used double this amount.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Side effects from taking acetyl-L-carnitine are uncommon, although skin rash, increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and body odor have been reported in people taking acetyl-L-carnitine.

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