Alternative L-Carnitine

Integrative therapies should not replace antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV patients. Patients should consult their healthcare providers before taking any herbs or supplements because they may interact with treatment. In particular, patients should not take St. John’s wort because it may interact with HIV treatment.

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence


L-Carnitine may be beneficial in AIDS treatment by increasing proliferation of mononuclear cells and increasing CD4 counts.

Additional study is needed to make a firm recommendation.

  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to carnitine.
  • Use cautiously with peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure, alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis, and diabetes.
  • Use cautiously in low birth weight infants and individuals on hemodialysis.
  • Use cautiously if taking anticoagulants(blood thinners), beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers.
  • Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Selected References Accessed March 29, 2009.
    American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). Accessed March 29, 2009.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accessed March 29, 2009.
    Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Accessed March 29, 2009.
    Halperin DT, Steiner MJ, Cassell MM, et al. The time has come for common ground on preventing sexual transmission of HIV.Lancet. 2004 Nov 27-Dec 3;364(9449):1913-5.
    Loutfy MR, Antoniou T, Shen S, et al. Virologic and immunologic impact and durability of enfuvirtide-based antiretroviraltherapy in HIV-infected treatment-experienced patients in a clinical setting. HIV Clin Trials. 2007Jan-Feb;8(1):36-44.
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). Accessed March 29, 2009.
    Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Copyright © 2009. Accessed March 29, 2009.
    Rigopoulos D, Gregoriou S, Paparizos V, et al. AIDS in pregnancy, part II: Treatment in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy and management of obstetric, anesthetic, and pediatric issues. Skinmed. 2007 Mar-Apr;6(2):79-84.
    The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. Accessed March 29, 2009.
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Accessed March 29, 2009.
    Vrouenraets SM, Wit FW, van Tongeren J, et al. Efavirenz: a review. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Apr;8(6):851-71.