Reader's Mail: L-Carnitine for Migraines

Q. What do you know about L-Carnitine for migraines? Is it safe? Is it better to use it with magnesium? I just heard about this for 1st time!

A. L-carnitine is an amino acid which is involved in energy production and is important for normal functioning of the brain, muscles and other organs.

A study by Iranian doctors compared the effect of supplementation with magnesium alone, L-carnitine alone, magnesium with L-carnitine and a control group. All four groups improved, but those who received magnesium did better. So, this study did not show that L-carnitine helps prevent migraines. Another report by researchers in Madison, WI described 6 children with cyclic vomiting syndrome, which is a condition related to migraines. All six children improved with L-carnitine supplementation.

There are no serious side effects of taking L-carnitine (stomach upset, nausea, and diarrhea can happen), but at the same time we do not know if taking it helps prevent migraines.

Mauskop-EventAlexander Mauskop, MD
Director, New York Headache Center
New York, NY



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