Acetyl-L-Carnitine benefits during and after chemotherapy

Acetyl-L-Carnitine benefits during and after chemotherapy

Acetyl-L-carnitine, also known as ALC, is produced in the body from the amino acid L-carnitine and is known to help the body produce energy; it has research in aiding dementia patients and with fatigue;  potential uses for cancer patients include reducing neuropathy, brain fog and healthy cell damage.

What is carnitine?

Carnitine is an antioxidant and is present in almost every cell of the body and plays a role in providing fats to the mitochondria and clearing away waste products. Muscles have high levels of carnitine. Carnitine is produced by the liver and kidneys. It is made from the amino acids lysine and methionine.

Because of its fat carrying abilities, some people take it for weight loss.

Food sources and almost exclusively animal – chicken, beef, dairy.

Vascular benefits of carnitine from research

It may help in angina, arrhythmias, and may also help in blood vessel function especially the type linked to congenital heart failure. Where claudication occurs (declining vascular health, research indicates it reduces decline. And it helps people with peripheral arterial disease walk more comfortably with less pain. Research also indicates it can improve the efficacy of Viagra and even slowly increase testosterone levels.

Benefits of acetyl-L-carnitine for cancer patients

  1. With patients on chemotherapy it may reduce neuropathy risk and even repair damage

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is used in Diabetic neuropathy following 1996 research showing diabetics with neuropathy exhibited low levels of carnitine in their bodies. It was also observed as beneficial in non-diabetic neuropathy (1).

Research with chemotherapy drugs showed that ALC could play a role in neuropathy prevention here too (2).

It also may help regeneration of nerves and reduce damage in neuropathy (3)

  1. It may improve energy levels, especially during and after chemo

Many cancer patients develop fatigue during or after chemotherapy and this is associated with low levels of carnitine in the body. In one study (4) supplementation with ALC improved albumin, lymphocyte and energy levels in people undergoing chemo.

Back in 2002, Italian Scientists showed that supplementing with a Levocarnitine drink improved energy levels in 90% of patients on chemo after just 1 week. Dr. Francesco Graziano of Urbino Hospital noted that people on chemotherapy tended to have low blood levels of carnitine and this was associated with fatigue (5). All patients were non-anaemic. Another study on children shoed that over three months of Chemotherapy, their carnitine levels declined significantly.

Carnitine is a popular compound with athletes helping post exercise fatigue, recovery and restoration.

  1. Chemo brain? Research shows that ALC has an effect in reducing brain fog. ALC also seems to reduce the speed of mental decline in Alzheimer's and Demerntia. It has even been shown to play a role in brain damage and strokes. Three studies suggest it reduces the build up of amyloid plaque in the brain.  

Go to: Acetyl-L-Carnitine and dementia

  1. Research suggests carnitine can prevent mail fertility damage from chemotherapy

Research has shown that carnitine can protect male fertility from damage by drugs such as cyclophosphamide. Carnitine can protect the Sertoli calls of the testes (6).

  1. L- Carnitine supplementation improved nutritional status and quality of life in patients with pancreatic cancer

Sloane Kettering state that Carnitine on its own or with CoQ10 can improve nutritional status and fatigue in cancer patients (7). In breast cancer patients a combination of the two reduced fatigue and cytokine levels.




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