Great find Sharon, thanks for sharing it. I can't resist posting one of the abstracts, even though people can check them out for themselves. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) has been studied for treating MS-related fatigue and has been found to be helpful (here are some old threads started by Sharon
, and Lisabee
). This isn't a big study and doesn't provide any solid numbers, but I'm happy to see ALCAR being studied.
(W25) Blinded Comparitive Case Study Between L-Carnitine and Placebo in Treatment of Muscle Fatigue in MS
Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) is a symptom that affects this population most commonly, with at least two thirds of those suffering from MS experiencing this debilitating and frustrating symptom at some point in their disease. The cause of fatigue is unclear, but the increased effort to get messages through the myelin-damaged nerve fibers may play a major role. MS fatigue can present itself in three different ways: lassitude, an overwhelming sense of tiredness; muscle fatigue, a sense that muscles are too heavy to move; and mental fatigue, a sense of being too tired to think. Treatments for MS fatigue do exist; however, not all individuals benefit from the effects or tolerate the current standard therapy. Carnitine is an essential nutrient for the transfer of fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production at the cellular level. Carnitine is concentrated in tissues that use fatty acids as their primary dietary fuel, such as skeletal and cardiac muscle.
Perform a blinded comparison of carnitine supplements versus placebo on fatigue in MS in one of our MS patients experiencing muscle fatigue.
A case study was performed that compared a 1-month course of L-carnitine 1000 mg twice daily with a 1-month course of placebo twice daily. Both patient and investigator were blinded to which treatment was delivered first. There was a 2-week washout period between treatments. The patient completed a Modified Fatigue Impact Scale before starting treatment, after each course of treatment, and at the end of the washout period. The patient also kept a journal of daily activities and adverse events during the pilot trial.
Results of the testing are presented.
L-Carnitine may be used as an alternative treatment for muscle fatigue in MS.
Jill Nelson, RN, BScN, MSCN; Janene Spring, RN, BScN, MSCN; Galina
Vorobeychik, MD, FRCPC, MSCS
Fraser Health MS Clinic, Burnaby, BC, Canada