The role of carnitine in the treatment of male infertility

What is L-carnitine?

L-carnitine is a natural compound found in the human body. It was isolated from beef in 1905 for the first time. The levorotatory isomer (L) is the only biologically active form of carnitine and an essential element of each cell to obtain energy from the oxidation of fatty acids in mitochondria.

Sources of L-carnitine.

Meat and dairy products are a rich dietary source of L-carnitine and N-acetyl L-carnitine. However, when you plan to have a baby, it is important to consider additional supplementation, because the amount of these substances in your diet may not be sufficient. The research by Prof. Loezi from Rome indicated that men on a carnitine-rich diet, after receiving additional supplementation, were observed to exhibit a significant increase in the total number of motile spermatozoa (from 12 to 31 million) as well as an increase in the number of spermatozoa with progressive motion (from 7.5 to 25 million).

The role of L-carnitine and N-acetyl L-carnitine in male infertility:

  • increases the antioxidative potential of the semen, i.e. protects the sperm cell against damage as a result of contact with free radicals;
  • significantly increases the number of motile spermatozoa;
  • increases the number of spermatozoa in men with ultrasound features of urogenital system inflammation (a study by Vicari and Calogero, entitled “Effects of treatment with carnitines in infertile patients with prostato-vesiculoepididymitis”, Hum Reprod, 2001);
  • increases sperm motility;
  • improves the morphological structure of spermatozoa;
  • increases the chances of natural pregnancy (in the study conducted by Balercia et al., the highest number of pregnancies was observed in a group taking L-carnitine and N-acetyl L-carnitine in combination (33% of men) or with the IVF procedure;
  • has a positive effect on the fertility of patients with varicocele and even on the reduction of oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (Aitken et al. 2010).