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A review of current evidence for acetyl-l-carnitine in the treatment of depression.


Regular Member

J Psychiatr Res. 2014 Feb 15. pii: S0022-3956(14)00045-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.02.005. [Epub ahead of print]
[h=1]A review of current evidence for acetyl-l-carnitine in the treatment of depression.[/h] Wang SM[SUP]1[/SUP], Han C[SUP]2[/SUP], Lee SJ[SUP]1[/SUP], Patkar AA[SUP]3[/SUP], Masand PS[SUP]4[/SUP], Pae CU[SUP]5[/SUP].
[h=3]Author information [/h]

[h=3]Abstract[/h] Despite numerous antidepressants available, many patients with depression do not achieve adequate response rendering needs for novel antidepressants with different mechanism of actions. Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) is a potential antidepressant with novel mechanism of action because of its diverse functions related with neuroplasticity. Animal and cellular models suggest that ALC's neuroplasiticity effect, membrane modulation, and neurotransmitter regulation may play an important role in treatment of depression. Four randomized clinical studies (RCT) demonstrated the superior efficacy of ALC over placebo (PBO) in patients with depression. Two RCTs showed its superior efficacy over PBO in dysthymic disorder, and 2 other RCTs showed that it is equally effective as fluoxetine and amisulpride in treatment of dysthymic disorder. ALC was also effective in improving depressive symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia and minimal hepatic encephalopathy. It was also found to be equally tolerable to PBO and better tolerable than fluoxetine and amisulpride. In conclusion, ALC may be potentially effective and tolerable next treatment option with novel action mechanisms for patients with depression, in particular older population and patients with comorbid medical conditions who are vulnerable to adverse events from antidepressants. However, more clinical trial data with adequately-powered, well-designed and advanced methodology will be mandatory to conclude whether ALC as a monotherapy or augmentation agent may be efficacious and clinically beneficial for depression.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[h=4]KEYWORDS:[/h] Acetyl-l-carnitine, Action mechanism, Antidepressant, Carnitine, Depression

PMID: 24607292 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


Regular Member
Apparentlt the "Acetyl-" version should pass the blood/brain barrier more efficiently than L-carnitine alone. Weird that L-Carnitine is more expensive than Acetyl-l-carnitine.

It should also help with memory loss, and on top of my depression, I am also experience massive organizational problems. The problem is, it's not cheap. I am already wasting a lot on money on SJW, Green Tea Extract, purified fish oils.

I wonder if somebody has tried it or willing to try and then feedback the results. I guess it doesn't work fast.
Apparently our bodies make L-carnitine. It's part of the ATP energy production, including co-q10.

This cardiologist (MD) goes into great detail about methyation and how to support different methyl gene defects. The ones below are in regards to CBS defect. You can read moure about it in the link below:


"Co-Q10 and Carnitine generation will fall off due to impaired methylation, and ATP levels fall, robbing you of energy. "

" Energy Production will falter. To generate ATP energy, you need Co-enzyme Q10 and Carnitine, but to manufacture these co-factors you need methyl groups, which tend to be in short supply in individuals with Methyl Cycle defects. To make matters worse, when energy is in short supply, homocysteine is shunted in to ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and alpha-ketoglutarate, and not in to its one beneficial metabolic product, glutathione. "

I tried l-carnitine before, I don't recall how I felt. I think it was during my semi-bad anxiety/panic etc.... state, so anything I took seemed to make me worse. I see my ND today, so I will ask about this as I'm still low on energy. I now take methyl-b12 due to a methylation defect I have, MTRR, I tried some d-ribose, but I think it gives me stomach cramps. So, I might look at co-q10 and carntitine as an alternative.

Interesting stuff



Staff member
I'm going to see if I can find Acetyl-L Carnitine locally and then try it out. I've actually been taking L-Carnitine periodically for entirely different reasons, mostly due to my exercise routine, so the Acetyl- version sounds interesting. I haven't seen it on the shelves before but to be honest I haven't looked for it either. Thanks for posting this info.


Regular Member
I can vouch for the efficiency of Acetyl-L Carnitine. I've been testing various supplements for years now and this substance is one of the most amazing discoveries that tremendously improves mood, energy and concentration. Some of my friends find it even more efficient treatment for depression than SJW.