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Introduction: Currently, there are no fully reliable biomarkers to identify individuals suffering from depression, and conventional antidepressant treatment has its limitations. The potential influence of acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) on the treatment of mental disorders, including depressive disorders, was noted already in the 1980s.
Goal and method: The literature on the role of LAC in the treatment of mental disorders, in particular depressive disorders, was reviewed using the Google Scholar and Pub Med databases. Two lines of research were considered:
1the role of LAC in the therapy of various mental disorders and
2the role of LAC in the treatment of depression and dysthymia
Conclusions: Because LAC is safe to use and has a very good tolerance profile, authors have explored its role in the treatment of many neurological and psychiatric diseases. There are studies showing that LAC supplementation has a positive effect on ADHD treatment outcomes in boys diagnosed with fragile X syndrome and plays a role in the treatment of dementia. Research has also been conducted on the impact of LAC on the treatment of depressive and dysthymic disorders. Positive outcomes of such therapy have been reported. An important correlation has been observed between LAC concentrations and the severity and onset of depressive symptoms. For instance, reduced levels of LAC have been found in people with treatment-refractory depression. It has also been proposed that LAC could decrease vulnerability to depression.
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