L-Carnitine and Narcolepsy

L-Carnitine: Carnitine is is an important essential nutrient, and has been demonstrated to be therapeutic for individuals with narcolepsy.

Carnitine and Narcolepsy. A recent study investigated the contribution of a gene polymorphism found in narcolepsy called CPT1B, which is important in fatty acid oxidation. They discovered that individuals File:Acyl-CoA from cytosol to the mitochondrial matrix.svgwith narcolepsy had very low levels of serum acylcarnitine (see right for the relationship between acylcarnitine and carnitine).

Reduced acylcarnitine means impaired fatty acid oxidation.

In addition, carnintine-deficient mice display phenotypes similar to narcolepsy, included impaired sleep regulation and reduced orexin cell functioning.

Oral supplementation of L-carnitine restores β-oxidation (fatty acid oxidation) and mitochondrial ATP generation from fatty acids.

Carnitine also has marked effects on proper intestinal development and function. 

Specifically, it has been shown that carnitine deficiencies lead to severe intestinal and immune phenotypes in mice. In addition to intestinal atrophy, the mice also displayed marked intestinal apoptosis, lymphocyte infiltration and inflammation.  There was an increase in CD45-B220(+) lymphocytes [CD45 perturbances have been linked with autoimmune disease], with increased production pro-inflammatory cytokines in immune cells. In addition, carnitine deficiency also causes a down-regulation of TGF-β-induced gene expression [ TGF-β is considered anti-inflammatory]. Carnitine supplementation may reduce intestinal inflammation and improve intestinal (and therefore systemic) health.

Carnitine and the immune system.

Carnitine has also been linked to proper immune cell functioning and improved antioxidant properties of cells. In the intestine, carnitine deficiency causes hyperactivation of CD4+ T cells and enhanced cytokine production.  Naive, memory, and regulatory T cells (Tregs; T cells which suppress inflammatory functions of other cells) rely on fatty acid oxidation, while “effector” T cells and pathogenic/inflammatory T cells (as seen in autoimmunity) rely on high rates of glycolysis. Furthermore, inihibiting glycolysis (or improving fatty acid oxidation?) in pathogenic Th17 (autoimmune T cells) will promote Treg development.

Carnitine supplementation can also improve obesity, glucose tolerance and energy expenditure

 

Anti-Narcoleptic Vitamin Regimen

BIG FAT DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. The following is not advice or medical recommendation. Please see the official disclaimer here.

 

I have been off of conventional narcolepsy treatments for 3 years, and gluten free for 4 years. Over time, I have found a host of vitamins and non-prescription nutritional supplements that have greatly increased my wakefulness and helped with other aspects of daily functioning. Please note that this is my personal log. What they are, and how I think they are helping are below.

L-tyrosine :

I began taking L-tyrosine about a year ago following a blog post concerning “Narcolepsy, dopmine and tyrosine“. I started the tyrosine regimen (between six and nine grams a day, broken up into two doses [1 at breakfast, 1 at lunch]) following reading a paper in the Lancet that reported total remission of daytime sleep attacks and cataplexy after six months of treatment. The military has also used L-tyrosine in sleep-deprived pilots to improve performance during long flights. Another report which included more rigorous controls noted that only 3 of 10 patients noted a positive effect, and so L-tyrosine could not be considered therapeutically relevant. Personally, I noticed that at the 9 gm dose I experienced a great deal of anxiety – particularly in the evenings. However, lowering the dose to 3-5 gm per day and them in the morning and early afternoon gives me the benefits of wakefulness during work hours without increased evening anxiety. A summary of how I think it’s working is below:

L-carnitine: I take 1000 mg of L-carnitine per day (500 mg in the morning, 500 mg at night). Carnitine is is an important essential nutrient, and has been demonstrated to be therapeutic for individuals with narcolepsy. Click here for my long blog post on L-carnitine and narcolpesy.

In short, individuals with narcolepsy have very low levels of serum acylcarnitine. Reduced acylcarnitine means impaired fatty acid oxidation, disturbed sleep, and impaired orexin cell functioning.

Oral supplementation of L-carnitine restores β-oxidation (fatty acid oxidation) and mitochondrial ATP generation from fatty acids.

Carnitine also has marked effects on proper intestinal development and function and reduces intestinal inflammation.   Carnitine is also necessary for proper immune functioning and promotes regulatory cell function (think: anti-autoimmune). Carnitine supplementation can also improve obesity, glucose tolerance and energy expenditure

 

 

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