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What other names is Propionyl-l-carnitine known by?

Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine HCl, Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine Hydrochloride, L-carnitine Propionyl, LPC, PLC, Propionil-L-Carnitina, Propionylcarnitine.

What is Propionyl-l-carnitine?

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).

Possibly Effective for...

  • Poor 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.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). Taking propionyl-L-carnitine seems to improve heart function and exercise tolerance in people with mild to moderate congestive heart failure.
  • Treating symptoms of "male menopause," low levels of testosterone due to aging. 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.
  • Sexual performance problems (erectile dysfunction, ED) in men with diabetes. Taking propionyl-L-carnitine along with sildenafil (Viagra) may work better than taking sildenafil alone.
  • An increase in fibrous tissue in the penis (Peyronie's disease). 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.
  • Chest pain (angina).
  • A type of heart disease called chronic ischemic heart disease, when given by IV.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Developing research suggests that propionyl-L-carnitine might improve general fatigue in patients with CFS. Interestingly, the combination of propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine appears to be less effective than either supplement alone.
  • Circulatory problems caused by diabetes.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of propionyl-L-carnitine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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