June 2018

Can acetyl-L-carnitine help beat the blues?

New research shows that taking 1-4 grams of acetyl-L-carnitine per day can reduce depression symptoms compared to placebo or no intervention. It seems to work best in older people and when taken at higher doses. Acetyl-L-carnitine also seems to reduce depression symptoms in people with persistent mild depression or fibromyalgia similarly to some commonly used antidepressants including duloxetine and fluoxetine. But acetyl-L-carnitine seems to have fewer side effects than antidepressants. So for people not benefiting from other treatments, this might be a good option since it’s generally well-tolerated. In fact, the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) recently published guidelines recommending acetyl-L-carnitine as a third line treatment for mild to moderate depression.

Many other natural medicines, including SAMe and St. John’s wort have also been studied for use in depression. Check out our comparative effectiveness chart to see others that might help.

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