L-Carnitine and N-acetyl-cysteine for Reproductive Health

L-carnitine and the closely related acetyl-L-carnitine are both important components of cellular respiration. In these roles they are required for the transport of fatty acids (actually acyl CoA) into the mitochondria in order to allow beta oxidation and energy release to proceed. Evidence suggests that this energy production is important in high energy cells such as those required for sperm production. In addition, N-acetyl-cysteine is an antioxidant that may be required to protect the cells of the testes from free radical damage. Studies that have used supplements of L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine and N-acetyl-cysteine have shown promise at improving male secual reproductive function by supporting correct sperm production. Compared to a placebo N-acetyl-cysteine has been shown to improve sperm production, and compared to a placebo L-carnitine, L-acetyl-carnitine and N-acetyl-cysteine all improved sperm motility. Therefore supplements may be useful in cases of infertility in males. 

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Wei, G., Zhou, Z., Cui, Y., Huang, Y., Wan, Z., Che, X., Chai, Y. and Zhang, Y. 2021. A Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of L-Carnitine/L-Acetyl-Carnitine or N-Acetyl-Cysteine in Men With Idiopathic Asthenozoospermia. American Journal of Men’s Health. 15(2): 15579883211011371

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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