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Understand Acetyl L-Carnitine in 5 Minutes

What is L-Carnitine?

In order to understand Acetyl L Carnitine, it’s important to first understand L-Carnitine. L-Carnitine is primarily known for its ability to produce energy by transporting fatty acids into your cell’s mitochondria, where they can be converted and used as a source of energy. There are different types of L-Carnitine, including:

  • D-Carnitine: This form is suggested to cause potential carnitine deficiency in your body by blocking the absorption of other more beneficial forms. 
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine: More commonly referred to as ALCAR, this form of L-Carnitine is suggested to be most beneficial for your brain. 
  • Propionyl-L-Carnitine: This form is beneficial for circulatory issues i.e. high blood pressure and peripheral vascular disease. It’s said to help nitric oxide production, improving blood flow. 
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate: This form is most commonly seen in the sports supplement space, due to its fast absorption rate. It’s benefits include supporting muscle soreness and exercise recovery. 

So, what is Acetyl L-Carnitine?

Natural to the body, Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is primarily known for its ability to help the body convert fat into energy. Made in the human brain, kidneys, and liver, L-Carnitine can be converted into Acetyl L-Carnitine and vice versa according to the cell's metabolic needs. The primary difference between L-Carnitine and ALCAR is that the latter is more easily absorbed from the gut, and more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier (hence its cognitive benefits).  

 

ALCAR Benefits

Offering a variety of health benefits, while ALCAR is naturally made within the body, it is also available in supplement form and recommended by health professionals to support health, aging, and overall performance. Let's take a look at the benefits below!

1. Cognitive Function

As we age, our Carnitine levels have been shown to decrease significantly, leading to a natural decline in memory loss and cognitive ability. There is substantial evidence proving that ALCAR supplements can improve memory function and cognition. 

Recently, several reports have been conducted on older adults who suffer from Depression. These reports indicate the supplementation of ALCAR may also improve the effects of depression in the elderly with and without brain diseases like dementia (Mandelson 2008).

A 90-day study on individuals who suffered from alcohol abuse indicated that supplementing with 2g of ALCAR per day experienced significant improvements in all areas of brain function (Tempesta).

2. Heart Health

Sufficient energy production is vital for healthy heart function. One study demonstrated that supplementing with 2g of ALCAR per day resulted in an almost 10 point drop in systolic blood pressure, the top number when reading blood pressure results. A vital indication of heart health and risk of disease (Ruggenenti 2009).


3. Weight Management

One of the most well-known and compelling benefits of Acetyl L-Carnitine is its ability to support weight loss goals. It is a vital nutrient for fat burning as it takes the fat from the bloodstream and pushes it through the mitochondria to be burnt as energy. So not only does ALCAR aid in fat burning, it also provides more energy, giving you the boost you need to work towards those body goals (Examine 2022).

A nine-study analysis of most overweight and obese people found that people dropped an average of 1.3kg more weight while supplementing with L-Carnitine. (Pooyandjoo 2016)

Low risk and highly effective, Acetyl L-Carnitine is an extensively researched and widely used supplement offering many significant health benefits to brain health, mood, mental health, heart health, weight loss, and more. 

 

Reference List

Arsenian, M 1997, ‘Carnitine and its derivatives in cardiovascular disease’. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9406679/


Fisher, J 2002, ‘Activation of AMP kinase enhances sensitivity of muscle glucose transport to insulin’. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11739078/


L-Carnitine 2022, Examine, viewed 20 Jan 2021, <https://examine.com/supplements/carnitine/


Iliceto, S et al., 1995, ‘Effects of L-carnitine administration on left ventricular remodeling after acute anterior myocardial infarction: the L-Carnitine Ecocardiografia Digitalizzata Infarto Miocardico (CEDIM) Trial’. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7608438/


Pooyandjoo, M et al. 2016, 'The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials'. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27335245/>


Rahbar, A 2005, ‘Effect of L-carnitine on plasma glycemic and lipidemic profile in patients with type II diabetes mellitus’. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15741989/


Ruggenenti, P 2009, ‘Ameliorating hypertension and insulin resistance in subjects at increased cardiovascular risk: effects of acetyl-L-carnitine therapy’. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19620516/


Ruggenenti, P 2013, ‘Acetyl-L-Carnitine in Type 2 Diabetes (DIABASI)’. Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00984750


Tempesta, E et al., ‘Role of acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of cognitive deficit in chronic alcoholism’. National Library of Medicine, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2201652/>


Mendelson, S 2008,  ‘Metabolic Syndrome and Psychiatric Illness’. Metabolic Syndrome and Psychiatric Illness, accessed 20 Jan 2021, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123742407500061>

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