Acetyl-l-carnitine and Depression.
Doctors may have discovered a new biomarker for depression: acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC). The body naturally produces ALC, which attaches tags to DNA with instructions to turn specific genes on or off.
Doctors measured acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) levels in 71 adult men and women with major depressive disorder (MDD) and in 45 without, and found ALC levels were lower in those with MDD. While there was no link to acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) in those with moderate MDD symptoms, those with severe major depressive disorder (MDD) symptoms, and those diagnosed at a younger age, had lower levels of ALC.
Doctors separately reviewed nine depression studies covering 447 people and found that those who took acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) saw significantly reduced symptoms. In three of the studies that compared ALC to Prozac, Cymbalta, or Solian, acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) was as effective, with far fewer side effects.
(Reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; 2018, Vol. 115, No. 34, 8627-32); Acetyl-l-carnitine and depression symptoms (2) Reference: Psychosomatic Medicine; 2018, Vol. 80, No. 2; 154-9)
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a derivative of the amino acid, L-carnitine. L-carnitine is a non-protein amino acid naturally found in the body. L-carnitine is made from the amino acids lysine and methionine. The main function of L-carnitine is to transfer long-chain fatty acids in the form of their acyl-carnitine esters across the inner mitochondrial membrane before beta-oxidation, This process allows the body to turn fat into energy.
These recent studies support earlier evidence of a role between acetyl-L-carnitine and depression. Some clinical research shows that acetyl-L-carnitine decreases symptoms of dysthymia and depression in elderly people. One analysis of clinical research conducted in Europe showed that acetyl-L-carnitine 1-4 grams daily moderately reduced depressive symptoms compared to placebo, and similarly to conventional antidepressants, in patients with dysthymia and depression. Acetyl-L-carnitine seems to be most effective in older patients and when used at higher dosages.
The pharmacists and nutritionists at Willner Chemists can help you select an acetyl-L-carnitine supplement most appropriate for your specific needs.