Acetyl-L-carnitine is a derivative of the nutrient L-carnitine. L-Carnitine is synthesised by animals and is found mainly in muscle tissue. Acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to possess specific effects on the brain because it may improve brain energy metabolism and may have neuroprotective effects. Studies have investigated the effects of acetyl-L-carnitine on anxiety-like behaviors in animals to understand the potential use of supplements of acetyl-L-carnitine to treat mood disorders. In one study researchers administered acetyl-L-carnitine to a group of rats and then exposed them to experimental stress. The results of the study showed that acetyl-L-carnitine conferred significant anti-anxiety on the rats at some of the doses investigated, but not others. The researchers concluded that there was a U-shaped response curve and that the administered dose was an important factor in the effectiveness of the use of acetyl-L-carnitine to treat anxiety. This supports human studies which suggest acetyl-L-carnitine is an effective anxiolytic.
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