I hope this is the Vitamin Supplement thread.
Long post, but I thought interesting info
In my quest to try and figure out how best to manage MS, I’ve discovered more interesting research on ALCAR. In addition to potentially helping with the fatigue, it seems ALCAR may have a neuroprotective role in MS, a very speculative peripheral nerve regeneration role (based on a non EAE rat study) and, in other research also unrelated to MS, improve symptoms of male aging. (Guys, you have to read this, it’s too good!)
ALCAR and Neuroprotective Role ?
Italian researchers conducted a study of 10 patients with MS and 12 control patients (non MS). The MS patients were given a daily oral dose of ALCAR for six months. (In one place the article states the oral dose of ALCAR administered was 2 g/day and in another 2 g/kg per day ???.)
While there is no way I could begin to understand the chemistry involved, recent discussions that MS may not be an autoimmune disease made the concluding remarks even more interesting:
“…. despite increasing research efforts and although several explanations have been proposed for destruction of myelin and oligodendrocytes in MS, there is still no proven mechanism of injury. The possibility of manipulating these complex glial cell functions and controlling their pathologic interactions with immune cells probably will illuminate how myelin damage can be contained and how the injured tissue can be repaired. In conclusion, our data sustain the hypothesis that nitrosative stress is a major consequence of NO (nitric oxide) produced in MS-affected CNS and implicate a possible important role for acetylcarntine in protecting brain against nitrosative stress, which likely underlies the pathogenesis of MS.”
Reference: Calabrese, et al, Disruption of Thiol Homeostatsis and Nitrosative Stress in the CSF of Patients with Active MS: Evidence for a Protective Role for Acetylcarnitine, Neurochemical Research, Vol. 28, No. 9, Sept. 2003, pp. 1321-1328.
(Also note, the March 2004 MS Society Research Bulletin (#32) contained the following statement, among others in its summary of a Russian research study on NO: “NO production in the bloodstream appears to be ongoing in people with MS, and may contribute to fluctuation of MS symptoms, rather than disease activity.”)
ALCAR and Peripheral Nerve Regeneration in Rats (Not EAE Rats)
Select lines from an abstract by McKay, et al (PMID: 12453625) are intriguing. “Peripheral nerve trauma remains a major cause of morbidity, largely due to the death of approximately 40% of innervating sensory neurons, and to slow regeneration after repair. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is a physiological peptide that virtually eliminates sensory neuronal death, and may improve regeneration after primary nerve repair.”
The abstract concludes ”…ALCAR significantly enhances the regenerative capacity of neurons that survive peripheral nerve trauma, in addition to its known neuroprotective effects.” The study reports statistically significant increases in rat nerve fiber areas (229% increase) and Schwann cell areas (86% increase) when compared to no treatment.
Carnitine and Male Aging (Not an MS Study Either but Fascinating and Fun Information
This was just too good not to include!
Taken from an online article “Carnitine Improves Symptoms of Male Aging” by Laurie Barclay and Charles Vega.
130 guys, mean age 64 years, completed the study and randomly received 1 of 3 treatments: testosterone, propionly-L-carntine 2g/day plus acetyl-L-carntine 2g/day, or placebo for 6 months. Selective quotes:
“Carnitine is more active than testosterone for improving symptoms of male aging…according to the results of a randomized study published in the April issue of Urology.”
“Both male and female sex hormones increase L-carnitine levels…Carnitines act as antioxidant… while also decreasing apoptosis via a reduction in ceramide levels along with insulin-like growth factor.”
A few punch lines from the findings:
“Carnitine was superior to testosterone in the 3- and 6- month erectile function domain, the 6-month orgasm domain, and the 6-month general sexual well being domain.”
“Both carnitine and testosterone improved depression scores compared with placebo, but carnitine was superior to testosterone in this variable.”
“Fatigue was improved to a similar degree in both active treatment groups compared to placebo.”
So, now we know, Viagra didn’t help women with MS, but ALCAR for men with MS? Who knows!
Looks like lots of possibilities here….
And, just so everyone knows, according to the online article, two of the authors of the study are patent inventors for the use of carnitines in treating symptoms of male aging.
Carnitine Improves Symptoms of Male Aging, April 14, 2004.
All in all, it’s starting to look like ALCAR is a supplement for people with MS to consider. While it’s over the counter in the US. and from what I’ve seen on the internet, some stores ship it to the UK and other countries (? Finland), but not to Canada. So, unfortunately, ALCAR may not be available over the counter there.
My pharmacist originally recommended ALCAR, so I’m taking it. Has anyone else tried it?