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Home > Anti-aging Research > Acetyl-l-carnitine

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Specific Recommendations:

News & Research:

  • Commonly used supplement may improve recovery from spinal cord injuries - Science Daily, 9/28/11 - "in experimental models, severe spinal cord injury can be treated effectively by administering the supplement acetyl-L-carnitine or ALC, a derivative of essential amino acids that can generate metabolic energy, soon after injury ... following spinal cord injury, the mitochondria, or energy-generation components of cells, are overwhelmed by chemical stresses and lose the ability to produce energy in the form of the compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). [1,2] This leads to cell death at the injury site and, ultimately, paralysis of the body below the injury level ... ALC can preserve the vitality of mitochondria by acting as an alternative biofuel providing energy to cells, thus bypassing damaged mitochondrial enzymes and promoting neuroprotection"
  • Effect of Oral Acetyl L-Carnitine Arginate on Biomarkers in Pre-Diabetics - Medscape, 10/28/09 - "3 g.day−1 of ALCA (n = 14; 31 +/- 3 yrs) or placebo (n = 15; 35 +/- 3 yrs) in a double-blind design, to consume for eight weeks ... slight improvements in glucose (109 +/- 5 to 103 +/- 5 mg.dL−1), HbA1c (6.6 +/- 1.1 to 6.2 +/- 1.2%), and HOMA-IR (3.3 +/- 1.3 to 2.9 +/- 1.2) ... slight improvement in glucose metabolism, as evidenced by minor decreases in blood glucose, insulin, and HbA1c (which may have been more pronounced with longer treatment, as HbA1c has a half-life equal to approximately 12 weeks" - See propionyl-l-carnitine products at Amazon.com.
  • Protecting the Brain from Aging? - Dr. Weil, 6/22/09 - "Dr. Khalsa is president and medical director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Foundation International and author of the book "The Better Memory Kit" to be published later this year. He tells me that supplemental acetyl-L-carnitine can increase energy in the mitochondria, the power plants of all cells, and thereby helps generally boost physical and mental energy. He describes acetyl-L-carnitine as a superior antioxidant that promotes the production in cells of glutathione, perhaps our most potent free radical scavenger. If you decide to try it, Dr. Khalsa recommends taking 500 to 1,500 mg per day along with 100 mg of Coenzyme-Q-10"
  • L-Acetylcarnitine Curbs ADHD Associated With Fragile X Syndrome - Medscape, 3/12/08 - "L-acetylcarnitine (LAC) may be considered an alternative to stimulants for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with fragile X syndrome, based on results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study"
  • Lipoic acid and carnitine combo show diabetes potential - Nutra USA, 2/18/08 - [Abstract] - "the combination of LA and LCAR increased the mass, oxygen consumption, mitochondrial DNA expression, and fatty acid oxidation in the fat cells ... However, the treatments with LA or ALC alone at the same concentrations showed little effect on mitochondrial function and biogenesis ... Lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine have become very hot after our reports on the complementary effects on improving memory and ambulatory activity in old rats"
  • Complementary and Integrative Approaches to Dementia - Medscape, 7/5/05 - "There have been several controlled clinical trials suggesting that ALc slows the progression of AD"
  • Jarrow Formulas’, Inc. Introduces ALCA 500(TM) (Acetyl-L-Carnitine Arginate Dihydrochloride) - NPI Center, 3/8/05 - "Acetyl-l-carnitine arginate (ALCA) represents an advancement in the carnitine and arginine fields as this new dietary supplement offers potential benefits in affecting levels of nitric oxide over and above the traditional benefits of carnitine" - See acetyl l-carnitine products at Amazon.com.
  • Common Nutrient May Ease Diabetic Pain - WebMD, 1/6/05 - "1,000 milligrams three times a day of acetyl-L-carnitine was effective in relieving pain caused by nerve damage associated with the condition"
  • Supplemental Carnitine May Be Helpful in Diabetic Neuropathy - Medscape, 1/3/05 - "Pain as the most bothersome symptom significantly improved with ALC"
  • New uses for carnitine - Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, 11/04 - "Because L-carnitine is central to the formation of energy from fat, the heart is therefore dependent on L-carnitine for most of its energy production ... L-Carnipure carries long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are oxidised for energy. Its ability to generate energy from fat makes carnitine useful as part of a weight management program ... L-carnitine plus its metabolite, acetyl-L-carnitine, can treat symptoms of male ageing, including sexual dysfunction, depressed mood and fatigue"
  • Carnitine Improves Symptoms of Male Aging - Medscape, 4/14/04 - "Carnitine is more active than testosterone for improving symptoms of male aging such as sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue ... In this trial, 120 patients were randomized to receive testosterone undecanoate 160 mg/day, propionyl-L-carnitine 2 g/day plus acetyl-L-carnitine 2 g/day, or placebo for six months"  - [Abstract] - See acetyl l-carnitine at Amazon.com.
  • Do Anti-aging Supplements Really Work? - Life Extension Magazine, 6/02 - "The National Academy of Sciences has published three new reports showing that aging may be partially reversible with currently available supplements"
  • The Wizard is Oz - Life Extension Magazine, 11/01 - "Best-selling author and nutritional guru to the rich and famous, Oz Garcia is singing the praises of the Life Extension Foundation and its products in his newest book, The Healthy High Tech Body, published in September 2001 ... Supplements at the top of Garcia's list of recommendations ... DHA ... NADH ... Alpah Lipoic Acid ... Acetyl-L-Carnitine ... An expanded list of his recommendations includes lycopene, gamma tocopherol, vinpocetine, SAMe, folic acid, carnosine, glutathione, DMAE, Huperzine A, probiotics, MSM, secretagogues, arginine pyroglutamate, IP-6, bioflavonoid formulas and grape skin/seed extracts"
  • Sustain the Brain - Nutrition Science News, 2/01 - "By enhancing membrane stability, energy production, and neurotransmission, ALC may improve mental function. In addition, it may also have anti-inflammatory effects that reduce free radical generation. . . ALC's ability to bind cortisol and increase nerve growth factor production within the hippocampal region may explain its positive effects on neurons."
  • Sperm Booster? - WebMD, 1/1/01
  • The Anti-Aging Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine - Life Extension Magazine, 5/00 - "When acetyl-L-carnitine was administered, their heart rates became almost completely restored to the metabolic function level of young control rats . . . acetyl-L-carnitine is critical to youthful cellular function in the brain, heart, liver, peripheral nerve and immune system.  Supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine becomes an even greater consideration when we realize the potential antiaging effects this amino acid may produce when taken in combination with coQ10 and alpha lipoic acid"
  • Staying Young Forever, Putting new research findings into practice - Life Extension Foundation, 12/99 - "acetyl l-carnitine significantly reversed age-associated mitochondrial decay. It increased cellular respiration, membrane potential and cardiolipin levels"
  • Lower AGE with Acetyl L-Carnitine - Life Enhancement Magazine, 8/99 - "Diabetics and others who become susceptible to high levels of glucose in blood serum as they age suffer from the formation of deleterious hybrid protein-sugar complexes known as advanced glycation end products (AGE) ... ALC decreased the glycation by 42%"
  • Anti-Cortisols May Offer New Hope For Retinitis Pigmentosa - Doctor's Guide, 11/17/97 - "According to Sapse, RP can be treated initially with a cocktail of anti-cortisol nutritional compounds including vitamin A, zinc, ginkgo biloba and acetyl-L-carnitine . . ."
  • Top Ten Life Extension Drugs - Life Extension Magazine, 9/95

Abstracts:

  • Acetyl-l-carnitine supplementation reverses the age-related decline in carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) activity in interfibrillar mitochondria without changing the l-carnitine content in the rat heart - Mech Ageing Dev. 2012 Feb 1 - "The aging heart displays a loss of bioenergetic reserve capacity partially mediated through lower fatty acid utilization. We investigated whether the age-related impairment of cardiac fatty acid catabolism occurs, at least partially, through diminished levels of l-carnitine, which would adversely affect carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), the rate-limiting enzyme for fatty acyl-CoA uptake into mitochondria for β-oxidation. Old (24-28 mos) Fischer 344 rats were fed+/-acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR; 1.5% [w/v]) for up to four weeks prior to sacrifice and isolation of cardiac interfibrillar (IFM) and subsarcolemmal (SSM) mitochondria. IFM displayed a 28% (p<0.05) age-related loss of CPT1 activity, which correlated with a decline (41%, p<0.05) in palmitoyl-CoA-driven state 3 respiration. Interestingly, SSM had preserved enzyme function and efficiently utilized palmitate. Analysis of IFM CPT1 kinetics showed both diminished V(max) and K(m) (60% and 49% respectively, p<0.05) when palmitoyl-CoA was the substrate. However, no age-related changes in enzyme kinetics were evident with respect to l-carnitine. ALCAR supplementation restored CPT1 activity in heart IFM, but not apparently through remediation of l-carnitine levels. Rather, ALCAR influenced enzyme activity over time, potentially by modulating conditions in the aging heart that ultimately affect palmitoyl-CoA binding and CPT1 kinetics"
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine, L-arginine and niacin in sexual medicine: a nutraceutical approach for erectile dysfunction - Andrologia. 2011 Oct 4 - "In a group of 54 unselected men (35-75 years), consecutively presenting to our ED clinic and naive to other ED treatments, we carried out a single-blind, one-arm study to evaluate the effects of a 3-month supplementation with propionyl-L-carnitine, L-arginine and niacin on their sexual performance ... Analyses on GAQs revealed that treatment improved erections in 40% of cases, with a partial response occurring in up to 77% of enrolled subjects. These preliminary findings indicate that the favourable cardiovascular effects of nutraceuticals might also reflect on male sexual function with possible implication in the treatment and prevention of ED. This study documents a considerable patients' interest toward nutritional supplementation - as first-line or adjunctive treatment to PDE5 inhibitors - that goes beyond the measurable increment in penile rigidity" - See propionyl-l-carnitine products at Amazon.com, niacin at Amazon.com and L-arginine products at Amazon.com.
  • Oral acetyl-L-carnitine therapy reduces fatigue in overt hepatic encephalopathy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study - Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb 10 - "Fatigue is frequently reported in hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and may be related to hyperammonemia. Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) offers neuroprotective benefits and improves mitochondrial energetics and function ... At the end of the study period, the ALC-treated patients in the HE1 group showed significantly better improvement than did the placebo group in mental fatigue score (-1.7 compared with -0.3; P < 0.05), the fatigue severity scale (-6.4 compared with 2.3; P < 0.001), 7-d Physical Activity Recall questionnaire score (17.1 compared with -2.5; P < 0.001), and Short Physical Performance Battery (2.1 compared with 0.2; P < 0.001); the HE2 group showed significantly better improvement in the fatigue severity scale (-8.1 compared with -5.1; P < 0.001) and 6-min walk test (19.9 compared with 2.3; P < 0.05). Significant decreases in NH(4)(+) were observed in both groups (P < 0.001)"
    • Hepatic encephalopathy - NIH - "Hepatic encephalopathy is a worsening of brain function that occurs when the liver is no longer able to remove toxic substances in the blood"
  • Effects of acetyl-L-carnitine and oxfenicine on aorta stiffness in diabetic rats - Eur J Clin Invest. 2010 Jul 29 - "Oxfenicine, but not acetyl-L-carnitine, increased total peripheral resistance in diabetes, which paralleled its elevation in plasma levels of free fatty acids. By contrast, acetyl-L-carnitine, but not oxfenicine, resulted in a significant increase in wave transit time and a decrease in wave reflection factor, suggesting that acetyl-L-carnitine may attenuate the diabetes-induced deterioration in systolic loading condition for the left ventricle. This was in parallel with its lowering of MDA/TBARS content in plasma and aortic walls in diabetes. Acetyl-L-carnitine therapy also prevented the diabetes-related cardiac hypertrophy, as evidenced by the reduction in ratio of the left ventricular weight to body weight. Conclusion Acetyl-L-carnitine, but not oxfenicine, attenuates aortic stiffening and cardiac hypertrophy, possibly through its decrease of lipid oxidation-derived MDA/TBARS in the rats with insulin deficiency"
  • Ameliorating Hypertension and Insulin Resistance in Subjects at Increased Cardiovascular Risk. Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine Therapy - Hypertension. 2009 Jul 20 - "glucose disposal rate (GDR) ... Systolic blood pressure decreased from 144.0+/-13.6 to 135.1+/-8.4 mm Hg and from 130.8+/-12.4 to 123.8+/-10.8 mm Hg in the lower and higher GDR groups, respectively (P<0.05 for both; P<0.001 overall) and progressively recovered toward baseline over 8 weeks posttreatment. Total and high molecular weight adiponectin levels followed specular trends. Diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased only in those with higher GDRs. Treatment was well tolerated in all of the patients. Acetyl-L-carnitine safely ameliorated arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and hypoadiponectinemia in subjects at increased cardiovascular risk"
  • Efficacy of a Vitamin/Nutriceutical Formulation for Early-stage Alzheimer's Disease: A 1-Year, Open-Label Pilot Study With an 16-Month Caregiver Extension - Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2008 Dec 1 - "We examined the efficacy of a vitamin/nutriceutical formulation (folate, vitamin B6, alpha-tocopherol, S-adenosyl methionine, N-acetyl cysteine, and acetyl-L-carnitine) in a 12-month, open-label trial with 14 community-dwelling individuals with early-stage Alzheimer's disease. Participants improved in the Dementia Rating Scale and Clock-drawing tests (Clox 1 and 2). Family caregivers reported improvement in multiple domains of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and maintenance of performance in the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Sustained performance was reported by caregivers for those participants who continued in an 16-month extension. Performance on the NPI was equivalent to published findings at 3 to 6 months for donepezil and exceeded that of galantamine and their historical placebos. Participants demonstrated superior performance for more than 12 months in NPI and ADL versus those receiving naproxen and rofecoxib or their placebo group. This formulation holds promise for treatment of early-stage Alzheimer's disease prior to and/or as a supplement for pharmacological approaches"
  • Role of Acetyl-L-Carnitine in the Treatment of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (November) - Ann Pharmacother. 2008 Oct 21 - "acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) in the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) ... Data on treatment of DPN with ALC support its use. It should be recommended to patients early in the disease process to provide maximal benefit. Further studies should be conducted to determine the effectiveness of ALC in the treatment and prevention of the worsening symptoms of DPN"
  • R-alpha-Lipoic acid and acetyl-L: -carnitine complementarily promote mitochondrial biogenesis in murine 3T3-L1 adipocytes - Diabetologia. 2008 Jan;51(1):165-74 - "Treatments with the combination of LA and ALC at concentrations of 0.1, 1 and 10 mumol/l for 24 h significantly increased mitochondrial mass, expression of mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial complexes, oxygen consumption and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3L1 adipocytes. These changes were accompanied by an increase in expression of Pparg, Ppara and Cpt1a mRNA, as well as increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma coactivator 1 alpha (Ppargc1a), mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) and nuclear respiratory factors 1 and 2 (Nrf1 and Nrf2). However, the treatments with LA or ALC alone at the same concentrations showed little effect on mitochondrial function and biogenesis" - See alpha lipoic acid at Amazon.com and acetyl l-carnitine at Amazon.com.
  • Effect of L-carnitine and/or L-acetyl-carnitine in nutrition treatment for male infertility: a systematic review - Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl:383-90 - "the administration of LC and/or LAC may be effective in improving pregnancy rate and sperm kinetic features in patients affected by male infertility"
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine Improves Pain, Nerve Regeneration, and Vibratory Perception in Patients With Chronic Diabetic Neuropathy: An analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials - Diabetes Care. 2005 Jan;28(1):89-94 - "ALC treatment is efficacious in alleviating symptoms, particularly pain, and improves nerve fiber regeneration and vibration perception in patients with established diabetic neuropathy"
  • Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging - Urology. 2004 Apr;63(4):641-6 - "Carnitines proved significantly more active than testosterone in improving nocturnal penile tumescence and International Index of Erectile Function score. Testosterone significantly increased the prostate volume and free and total testosterone levels and significantly lowered serum luteinizing hormone; carnitines did not"
  • Memory loss in old rats is associated with brain mitochondrial decay and RNA/DNA oxidation: Partial reversal by feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid - Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2356-2361 - "Electron microscopic studies in the hippocampus showed that ALCAR and/or LA reversed age-associated mitochondrial structural decay"
  • Mitochondrial decay in aging. Reversal through supplementation of acetyl-L-carnitine and N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenyl-nitrone - Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1998 Nov 20;854:214-23 - "ALCAR supplementation (1 month) resulted in significant increases in cellular respiration, mitochondrial membrane potential, and cardiolipin values"
  • Acetyl L-carnitine slows decline in younger patients with Alzheimer's disease: a reanalysis of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study using the trilinear approach - Int Psychogeriatr. 1998 Jun;10(2):193-203 - "ALC slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease in younger subjects, and the use of the trilinear approach to estimate the average rate of change may prove valuable in pharmacological trials"
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine in Alzheimer disease: a short-term study on CSF neurotransmitters and neuropeptides - Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 1995 Fall;9(3):128-31 - "beta-endorphins significantly decreased after treatment; plasma cortisol levels matched this reduction. Since both CSF beta-endorphins and plasma cortisol decreased, one possible explanation is that ALCAR reduced the AD-dependent hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis hyperactivity"
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