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Acetyl-L-carnitine relieves symptoms of fibromyalgia

Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC), an amino acid, reduced muscle pain and improved both general health and mental health in people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), according to findings from a new study.

Researchers from the University of Verona, Italy, recruited 102 participants with confirmed FMS who took a placebo or 1,000 mg of ALC per day in two 500 mg doses for two weeks, plus one intramuscular injection of placebo or 500 mg of ALC during that time. For the next eight weeks, participants took 1,500 mg of ALC per day in three 500 mg doses. Doctors examined participants at two, six and 10 weeks, and followed up four weeks after treatment stopped.

In order to qualify for the study, participants had to meet the FMS criteria set by the American College of Rheumatology, which includes at least a three-month history of widespread pain on both sides of the body, above and below the waist and in the spine and chest. Until the sixth week of the study, both the ALC and placebo groups had equally significant declines in self-reported muscle-pain scores and in the number of painful points on the body. By week 10, those in the ALC group had lower muscle-pain scores and fewer painful body points compared to those in the placebo group, whose scores had not changed from week six.

Participants in the ALC group also reported significantly less mental depression than those in the placebo group. Neither the ALC or placebo group reported any significant side effects. The doctors concluded that ALC may improve pain, general and mental health in those with FMS. 

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