L carnitine supplements may benefit certain patients with fatigue if there are no obvious causes for the fatigue, such iron deficiency anemia, a serious medical condition, etc.
Even a hundred year old may benefit from carnitine supplements. Italian researchers at the University of Catania gave sixty-six centenarians 2 grams l carnitine daily for six months. At the end of the study period, the l carnitine treated centenarians showed significant improvements in total fat mass and total muscle mass. They were also less likely to have physical and mental fatigue. LDL-cholesterol levels fell among the individuals taking the supplement. L-carnitine takers gained 3.8 kilograms (8.4 pounds) of muscle mass, on average, and lost 1.8 kg (4 pounds) of fat mass. People given L-carnitine were also able to walk 4 meters further during a 6-minute walking test after treatment than those given placebo.
Comments: This study shows how much we still can learn about the benefits of supplements in the aged. My preference would be to use a lower amount of carnitine, such as 250 mg or 500 mg. Sometimes when high dosages of energy enhancing pills are taken for prolonged periods, they can accumulate and interfere with sleep.
L-Carnitine treatment reduces severity of physical and mental fatigue and increases cognitive functions in centenarians: a randomized and controlled clinical trial
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 6, 1738-1744, December 2007. Mariano Malaguarnera, Lisa Cammalleri, Maria Pia Gargante, Marco Vacante, Valentina Colonna and Massimo Motta. From the Department of Senescence, Urological, and Neurological Sciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
Sixty-six centenarians with onset of fatigue after even slight physical activity were recruited to the study. The 2 groups received either 2 grams l carnitine once daily or placebo. Efficacy measures included changes in total fat mass, total muscle mass, serum triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol. The l carnitine treated centenarians, compared with the placebo group, showed significant improvements in total fat mass, total muscle mass, and plasma concentrations of total carnitine. Significant differences were also found in physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Our study indicates that oral administration of l carnitine produces a reduction of total fat mass, increases total muscular mass, and facilitates an increased capacity for physical and cognitive activity by reducing fatigue and improving cognitive functions.L carnitine administration in elderly subjects with rapid muscle fatigue: effect on body composition, lipid profile and fatigue.
Drugs Aging. 2003;20(10):761-7.
L carnitine is an important contributor to cellular energy metabolism. This study aims to evaluate the effects of carnitine supplementation on body composition, lipid profile and fatigue in elderly subjects with rapid muscle fatigue. Eighty-four elderly subjects with onset of fatigue following slight physical activity were recruited to the study. One group received carnitine 2g twice daily and the other placebo. At the end of the study, compared with placebo, the carnitine-treated patients showed significant improvements in the following parameters: total fat mass, total muscle mass, total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, apoA1, and apoB. There was improvement in physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Administration of carnitine to healthy elderly subjects resulted in a reduction of total fat mass, an increase of total muscle mass, and appeared to exert a favourable effect on fatigue and serum lipids.