Alzheimers Home > Acetyl-L-Carnitine Side Effects

Although it is considered a "natural" substance, acetyl-L-carnitine can cause side effects. Some of the possible adverse reactions include nausea, vomiting, and fishy-smelling breath and body odor. There are also some potentially serious side effects of acetyl-L-carnitine supplements. Make sure to notify your healthcare provider immediately if you develop depression, confusion, or aggression while taking the supplement.

Does Acetyl-L-Carnitine Cause Side Effects?

Even though it is a substance found naturally in the human body, acetyl-L-carnitine may cause side effects. People often assume that dietary supplements are always safe and free of problems. However, this is simply not the case. It is reasonable to assume that any product with the capability to have medicinal properties may also have side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with acetyl-L-carnitine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of acetyl-L-carnitine side effects with you.)

Possible Side Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine is a dietary supplement, and dietary supplements are not as thoroughly studied as prescription and nonprescription medications. Therefore, information about possible adverse reactions to dietary supplements is often sparse and incomplete.
Some of the reported side effects of acetyl-L-carnitine include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Fishy-smelling breath, urine, and body odor.

Serious Side Effects

Some acetyl-L-carnitine side effects are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Manic behavior (such as unusual risky behavior)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash or hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling, especially of the mouth, lips, or throat
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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