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More evidence that acetyl-L-carnitine may promote brain & cognitive health

  [ 20 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By M Malaguarnera • • February 27, 2012

Carnitine Derivatives: Clinical Usefulness
- Source: Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, Mar 2012

By M Malaguarnera

[Note: For more information relating to chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, see also "Breaking Through the Mental Fog," and "L-Carnitine: Typically Low in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS; Promotes Healthy Mood & Energy".]

Purpose of Review: Carnitine [L-Carnitine] and its derivatives are natural substances involved in both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

This review summarizes the recent progress in the field in relation to the molecular mechanisms.

Recent Findings: The pool of different carnitine derivatives is formed by acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC), and isovaleryl-carnitine.

Acetyl-L-carnitine may have a preferential effect on the brain tissue.

Acetyl-L-carnitine represents a compound of great interest for its wide clinical application in various neurological disorders: It may be of benefit in treating:

• Alzheimer's dementia,

• Depression in the elderly,

• HIV infection,

• Chronic fatigue syndrome [ME/CFS],

• Peripheral neuropathies,

• Ischemia [reduced blood flow] and reperfusion of the brain,

• And cognitive impairment associated with various conditions.

Propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC) has been demonstrated to replenish the intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle by the propionyl-CoA moiety, a greater affinity for the sarcolemmal carrier, peripheral vasodilator activity, a greater positive inotropism, and more rapid entry into myocytes. [Note: The complex tricarboxylic acid cycle - aka Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle - involves breakdown of fatty acids, carbs and proteins in the mitochondria to produce cellular energy (ATP).]

Most studies of the therapeutic use of PLC are focused on the prevention and treatment of:

• Ischemic heart disease [heart can’t pump enough blood to rest of body owing to narrowing of small blood vessels supplying the heart],

• Congestive heart failure [heart muscle weakened by narrowed arteries/reduced blood supply],

• Hypertrophilic heart disease [heart muscle thickening],

• And peripheral arterial disease [plaque buildup reduces blood flow to arms & legs].

Acetyl-L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine are considered well tolerated without significant side-effects.

Summary: A number of therapeutic effects possibly come from the interaction of carnitine and its derivatives with the elements of cellular membranes.

Source: Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, Mar 2012;28(2) pp166-176. PMID: 22333562, by Malaguarnera M. Research Centre 'The Great Senescence', University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

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