Acetyl-L-Carnitine to Treat Depression in the Elderly

Acetyl-L-carnitine may be a useful treatment for mood disorders including depression. The exact reason for this is not known but it is thought that the nutrient acts to stabilise brain function by conferring neuroprotection from the disruptive influence of chronic stress. In addition, acetyl-L-carnitine may also improve energy metabolism in the tissues of the brain. The antidepressant effects of acetyl-L-carnitine have been investigated in elderly subjects with depression. In one study, researchers administered supplements of acetyl-L-carnitine to elderly subjects for between 1 and 2 months while their depression was monitored. The results of the study showed that the acetyl-L-carnitine was significantly effective at reducing the depressive symptoms in the elderly subjects and this was apparent in the subjects with the most severe depression. Therefore acetyl-L-carnitine may be a useful supplement to use for those individuals with depression, particularly if the depression is considered more severe. 

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Tempesta, E., Casella, L., Pirrongelli, C., Janiri, L., Calvani, M. and Ancona, L. 1987. L-acetylcarnitine in depressed elderly subjects. A cross-over study vs placebo. Drugs under Experimental and Clinical Research. 13(7): 417-423

About Robert Barrington

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