Carnitine, produced in our bodies and a natural component of meat and dairy protein, is a very interesting nutrient. Carnitine participates in many cell activities in the brain, muscles, and heart. Carnitine is well known for helping move fatty acid molecules (fats) from the blood to the inside of cells into mitochondria where they can be metabolized into useful energy.
Acetyl L-Carnitine is a particular type of carnitine that is highly absorbable and useful to the body.
- Nutrient that moves fats into cells for energy use.
- Improves energy, muscle mass and muscle function.
- Studies show improved mental function.
- Fights high glucose levels.
- Has been used successfully for treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Research involving Acetyl L-Carnitine shows promise in…
- Degenerative brain diseases (dementia, alzheimer’s)
- Muscle decline from aging (sarcopenia), with 8.4 pound muscle gain in one study on 2 grams/day
- Enhanced fat reduction (about 4 pounds of fat lost on 2 grams/day in elderly individuals)
- Angina, heart attack, heart failure
- Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Sexual dysfunction, like erectile problems
- Fatigue, especially muscle fatigue, with improved endurance
- Insulin resistance and high blood sugars
- Lower cholesterol levels
Mitochondria are your cell “power plants” – and every cell has one, at least one. Cells that require lots of energy have many mitochondria, e.g. muscle cells. Mitochondria produce ATP, which are the energy currency of all cells. L-Carnitine transports fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are metabolized into ENERGY (i.e. fat is “burned”). So, L-Carnitine helps fats metabolize into energy, which also means it makes the mitochondria better at energy production. This may mean improvements in physical energy, mental capacity, muscle function (esp. heart muscle function), and blood circulation.
Fights Mental Decline and Aging
Research suggests Acetyl L-Carnitine plays an important role in the function of neurons (brain cells). It does this through mechanisms such as improving transmission of healthy brain messenger compounds, supporting energy production, preventing brain cell death, reducing oxidative stress and protecting brain cells from toxic medications. Studies, in the elderly especially, have shown supplemental L-Carnitine to improve mental function, improve muscle mass and increase physical ability, e.g. walking capacity.
Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are two conditions that need to be fought aggressively. The consequences of poor control of these conditions can result in serious consequences such as nerve damage (neuropathy), vision loss, and kidney failure. These complications are due to high blood sugar levels that damage blood vessels over time. Researchers have used Acetyl L-Carnitine to help reverse peripheral nerve damage. Acetyl L-Carnitine does this by improving blood and oxygen supply throughout the body and enhancing the function of mitochondria.
Awakens Cells to Glucose (Blood Sugar)
A 2007 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that supplemental L-Carnitine improved insulin sensitivity in persons with and without type 2 diabetes! L-Carnitine seems to stimulate glucose (blood sugar) uptake into cells, so there is less sugar floating outside cells in the blood. In that sense it can help protect blood vessels from damage caused by high blood sugar levels.
Why “Acety L-Carnitine” and Not Just Carnitine?
Acetyl L-Carnitine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Translation: it is highly absorbed and transported. There are a couple forms of carnitine available, but Acetyl L-Carnitine is recommended and is the form used for Dr. Tague’s Nutrition Solutions. “Another form of carnitine, D-carnitine, should not be used as it may compete with other forms of carnitine and cause symptoms of carnitine deficiency.”
Those with low or borderline low thyroid levels, that are not treated and controlled, should not take Acetyl L-Carnitine, as L-Carnitine supplementation may block the function of thyroid hormone.
Acetyl L-Carnitine has been used in large doses in research studies, ranging from 500 mg to 6,000 mg daily. Levels decrease in the body with age, especially after age 70. For those aged 70 and older, it is recommended to take 2,000 mg daily. For adults under 70, seeking metabolic benefits from Acetyl L-Carnitine, 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily is recommended, i.e. 1-2 capsules of 500 mg each, twice daily. Up to 4,000 mg per day of L-Carnitine has been used successfully for erectile dysfunction.