The Healthy Nook - UAF Student Health & Counseling

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Student Health and Counseling Center provides medical and counseling services to the UAF campus students. Our articles are written by staff members and are to help keep students informed about good physical, mental and emotional health.

Other updates will help keep students informed of our outreaches and events they may be interested in participating in.

Ask our medical or counseling professionals anything related to medical or mental health
Get Your Flu Shot Now!!!

Get Your Flu Shot Now!!!

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What does L-Carnitine have to do with Fatigue & Nerves

                                                         CARNITINE, FATIGUE, AND NERVE FUNCTION

A substance needed for cellular energy production is L- carnitine. This quasi amino acid is normally found in the body, and is easily interconverted from one form to another. Some is obtained from eating red meat and dairy products, and the body can also synthesize it from other dietary amino acids. A few people with specific medical conditions have actual deficiencies which are alleviated by supplementation; for this reason it is sometimes called vitamin B(t). It has been tried as treatment for many other situations. It is sometimes touted as beneficial for body building; unfortunately, there is no evidence that it helps athletes or otherwise healthy people perform better when exercising, nor with weight loss. There is some evidence that some (not all) people with fatigue due to hepatitis, celiac disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, advanced age, multiple sclerosis or cancer can obtain modest relief when taking a supplement. One cause of male infertility may also be improved, as could some persons with certain types of heart disease, and those taking the seizure medication valproic acid. One small study (ie, statistically not very significant) indicated slight benefit in diabetic weight loss when combined with orlistat, an over the counter medication that blocks fat absorption.

 Larger studies need to be done to provide more solid evidence of benefit from L-carnitine supplementation.  Supplementation has been reported for fatigue in vegans, persons with ADHD, anorexia or Lyme disease; no studies have been performed in persons with these issues except with ADHD due to the fragile X syndrome, in which case it may be helpful.

Consumption can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, heartburn, gastritis, diarrhea, and a fishy body odor. L-carnitine should not be consumed as a supplement by persons with thyroid disorders or a history of seizures without consulting their medical provider.

Another form of L-carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine, is used for several nerve-related conditions. There is some evidence of improved cognition in those with mild age-related (over 65) or chronic alcoholic-related cognitive impairment, and in depression in the elderly. Doses tested ranged from 1500 to 4000 mg daily, divided into 2-3 doses.  Pain from diabetic neuropathy may be decreased with the higher doses of this form of carnitine.

Although these two forms of carnitine can be interconverted by the body, because research has been done on one substance or the other, that product should be used. The cost of these products can vary wildly; comparison shopping is recommended. In addition, and as is true with all supplements, the FDA does not regulate these products for purity or to ensure they contain what they claim.


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, accessed 9/24/2012

Up-to-Date, accessed 10/9/2012

Tagged: L-carnitineFatigueNervesJune ThomassonUAF CHCChcUAF


check out upcoming events: Lose to Win, Food Bites, Say Ahh columns, NEW Arctic Rock Therapy Radio broadcast 91.5 KSUA and so much more →

Check out your UAF Student Health and Counseling Center serving students across the UAF campus and providing quality medical care and professional counseling services.  474-7043 for an appt.

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NEW RADIO SHOW: Arctic Rock Therapy, the official radio show of the UAF Student Health and Counseling Center, and the ONLY heavy metal mental health radio show in the arctic!

The show will be on Fridays from 2-3pm.

If you ever have any events/services for UAF students that you would like announced on our show, please email them to Jessica McKay at   We will announce them on the air.  We are open to announcing any events/services for UAF students.
The show will be on Fridays from 2-3pm, starting this Friday.

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Fall Semester - Classes and Services begin Thursday, August 30.

The UAF Student Health and Counseling Center will be in full swing on Thursday, August 30th, when classes begin.  This is our official start date for medical and counseling services.  If you need an appt. please call 474-7043.

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Could it be Food Poisoning? by Donna Patrick, ANP

Say Ah by Donna Patrick, ANP


Food Poisoning


Q:  I think I may have gotten food poisoning.  How can I know for sure?

A:  Food poisoning is usually diagnosed based on the person’s physical symptoms and the history of what led to the symptoms.  It is not always possible to figure out the particular food or microorganism which may have caused the illness, especially if symptoms have been mild and resolve within a few days.

The symptoms of food poisoning depend on which nasty microbe you may have ingested.  There are several! Symptoms may occur anytime from within minutes of eating the bad food to days and even weeks.  The most common symptoms associated with food poisoning are:



Abdominal pain

Diarrhea, which may be watery or bloody


Q:  I have a lot of the symptoms.  What can I take?


Drink lots of fluids.

Eat small, low fat meals.


Over the counter antidiarrheal medications such as Imodium and Pepto Bismol are generally NOT recommended and may actually prolong your illness.

Q:  Should I come to the clinic?

A: You should come to the clinic if you have:

Symptoms which are persistent or severe.

An underlying medical condition such as diabetes

Temperature greater than 100.4 F

Severe abdominal pain

Inability to eat or drink

Bloody stool or vomit

Q:  Am I contagious?

A:  A person is considered infectious for at least as long as the vomiting and diarrhea continues, and sometimes longer, depending on the causative organism.  These microorganisms are usually spread by hand to mouth contact.  Hand washing and staying out of work and school can help prevent transmission.

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UAF Student Health and Counseling Holiday Schedule

Happy Holidays!!  Our revised Holiday schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, Dec 13 we will be closed from 11:00 am - 1:15 pm

Friday, Dec 16 we will close at 1:00 pm.

The week of December 19 - 22 our office will be open from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

We will be providing limited services during this week.  We will close on Dec 23 for the Holiday break and will remain closed from December 26 through January 2nd. (subject to change)

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Migraine Headaches, by Donna Patrick, ANP

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Food Bites tonight at Lola Tilly from 5 -7 pm with Nancy Bayer, ANP

December: “Snacks: America’s FOURTH Meal”.  Learn about the pros and cons of snacking and ways to “Snack Smart and Think Outside the Bag”.

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