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Acylcarnitines Increase During Aging, And Are Associated With Poor Health

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Heather Chandler says, if free carnitine is normal, although very bottom of normal range, but total carnitine is low, is that worth supplementing? Supplementation does increase the acylcarnitine fraction and total carnitine to near normal levels. But I'm not clear about whether it's worth worrying about.

So, if the total carnitine is low, but the free carnitine is normal, then total carnitine is low because the acylcarnitines are low. I wouldn't be too worried about the acylcarnitines being low. I would be very worried if the acylcarnitines were very high and overwhelming the total pool of carnitine, 'cause that would suggest a metabolic problem. But, what I mainly hear is that everything is on the low side. So, I would judge it by empirical results. I mean, a situation like that is very ripe for trying to see if carnitine helps. And I'm not a big fan of treating numbers when there's no perceptible benefit to it.


The acylcarnitine profile represents detoxification products of metabolic intermediates where carnitine brings those intermediates out of the cell, into the blood, for excretion into the urine precisely because their metabolism inside the cell is impaired. The reason the normal range for propionylcarnitine includes zero is because it is normal, and, almost certainly optimal, for the concentration of this substance to be zero.

Thus, the acylcarnitine profile does not really “confirm” my hypothesis but it is very consistent with the high-normal odd-chain fatty acids and alpha-ANB, and the flagged high valine metabolite from the ION. The NutrEval confirmed the elevations of odd-chain fatty acids (even flagging several in the red), flagged my valine as yellow, and showed most branched-chain amino acid metabolites as high-normal, this time flagging only the leucine metabolite isovalerylglycine as yellow. Thus, there is broad agreement across tests of a moderate backup in propionyl CoA carboxylase.

chris masterjohn

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