Produced in the liver and kidneys, and stored in the heart, brain, muscles and sperm, carnitine is a nutrient that helps the body turn fat into energy. Some people take carnitine pills because their bodies, for whatever reason, do not produce enough of the nutrient. Among its other benefits, several studies suggest that carnitine helps reduce the symptoms of angina, a medical condition in which a lack of blood to the heart causes severe chest pains [source: University of Maryland Medical Research Center].
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a type of carnitine. It has been touted as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease and as an anti-aging supplement because it improves memory function. Carnitine is also used to help relieve depression related to senility and dementia. Several studies suggest that L-carnitine supplements may increase sperm count in men, too [source: University of Maryland Medical Research Center].
The recommended dosage for the supplement varies depending on what ailment is being treated. The usual dose is between 1 to 3 grams per day. Those suffering from heart disease should take between 600 to 1,200 mg three times a day. According to the University of Maryland Medical Research Center, other common dosages include the following:
- Angina and heart failure: 1.5 to 2 grams per day
- Peripheral vascular disease: 2 to 4 grams per day
- Diabetic neuropathy: 3 grams per day
- Male infertility: 300 to 1,000 mg 3 times daily
- Chronic fatigue syndrome: 500 to 1,000 mg 3 to 4 times per day