Propionyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine are also amino acids, and they are chemically related to propionyl-L-carnitine. In fact, the body can convert L-carnitine to propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine. But, no one knows whether the benefits of carnitines are interchangeable. Until more is known, don't substitute one form of carnitine for another.
Propionyl-L-carnitine is used for treating leg pain (intermittent claudication) due to poor blood circulation (peripheral vascular disease, PVD). PVD is often caused by diabetes or “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). Propionyl-L-carnitine is also used to treat congestive heart failure (CHF).
Men with sexual performance problems (erectile dysfunction, ED) due to diabetes or poor circulation sometimes use propionyl-L-carnitine along with prescription medications. Older men who have symptoms of low testosterone levels sometimes use propionyl-L-carnitine in combination with acetyl-L-carnitine.
The propionyl-L-carnitine/acetyl-L-carnitine combination is also used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Healthcare providers give propionyl-L-carnitine intravenously (by IV) for treating PVD and intermittent claudication; to improve wound healing in people with PVD; and to treat heart disease, including congestive heart failure, and chest pain (angina).
How it works
Propionyl-L-carnitine helps the body produce energy. It is important for heart function, muscle movement, and many other body processes. It also seems to help increase circulation.
Possibly EffectivePoor circulation (peripheral vascular disease) that causes leg pain while walking (intermittent claudication)
Propionyl-L-carnitine taken by mouth or given by IV seems to help people with severe leg pain walk farther than they otherwise could. But propionyl-L-carnitine doesn't seem to help milder peripheral vascular disease.
Taking propionyl-L-carnitine seems to improve heart function and exercise tolerance in people with mild to moderate congestive heart failure.
Taking propionyl-L-carnitine by mouth in combination with acetyl-L-carnitine for six months seems to improve sexual performance, depression, and fatigue in older men. Taking this combination seems to work about as well as taking testosterone.
Taking propionyl-L-carnitine along with sildenafil (Viagra) may work better than taking sildenafil alone.
The combination of propionyl-L-carnitine and injection of a medication called verapamil seems to improve sexual performance, slow disease progression, and reduce the need for surgery.
Propionyl-L-carnitine is safe for most people when taken by mouth or given intravenously by a healthcare professional. It can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, weakness, and chest pain (angina). It can also cause a "fishy" odor of the urine, breath, and sweat.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of propionyl-L-carnitine duringpregnancyandbreast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?
“Underactive thyroid” (hypothyroidism): There is a concern that propionyl-L-carnitine might make hypothyroidism worse or thyroid hormone treatment less effective. This is because a related chemical, L-carnitine, seems to interfere with thyroid hormone. If you have hypothyroidism, don't take propionyl-L-carnitine.
Seizures: Some people who have a history of seizures have reported an increase in the number and severity of seizures after taking L-carnitine by mouth or intravenously (by IV). There is a concern that this might also occur with propionyl-L-carnitine, because it is a similar chemical.
Acenocoumarol (Sintrom) is used to slow blood clotting. Propionyl-L-carnitine might increase the effects of acenocoumarol (Sintrom). Increasing the effects of acenocoumarol (Sintrom) might slow blood clotting too much and cause bruising and bleeding. The dose of your acenocoumarol (Sintrom) might need to be changed.Warfarin (Coumadin)
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Propionyl-L-carnitine might increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin) and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.