Acetyl L-Carnitine Benefits and Information

Acetyl-L-carnitine is a molecular compound found in the brain, kidneys, and liver. This substance is also artificially produced as a dietary supplement.

Acetyl L-Carnitine Uses

Acetyl-L-carnitine is very similar in composition and somewhat in function to the amino acid L-carnitine which is involved in the metabolism of food into energy. The acetyl component of acetyl-L-carnitine is reported to be associated with the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetyl-L-carnitine contributes to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a compound that is believed to affect mental function. Acetylcholine metabolism malfunction in the brain, leading to deficiency, is believed to be associated with age-related dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease.

It has been suggested that acetyl-L-carnitine may play a part in delaying the progression of Alzheimer's disease and enhance performance in some Alzheimer's patients. In a placebo-controlled study of 30 patients whose mild-to-moderate dementias were believed to be symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, there were positive results as measured by some of the neuropsychological tests employed in the study. Most Alzheimer's research relating to the Acetyl-L group has been performed with the acetyl-L-carnitine form rather than the L-carnitine form of this compound.

Based on successful studies, some scientists claim that acetyl-L-carnitine may be a helpful supplement for people with degenerative cerebellar ataxia, a loss of muscular coordination caused by disease in the cerebellum.

Acetyl-L-carnitine has also been suggested as a possible neuroprotective agent that may also be useful for strokes, Down's syndrome and for the management of various neuropathies. Acetyl-L-Carnitine may have certain anti-aging properties and there is promising research to support the beneficial effect acetyl-l-carnitine on sperm motility.

Recommended Dosage

Studies suggest to use 500 mg acetyl-L-carnitine three times per day, though some research has doubled this amount.

Supporting Literature

Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Alternative Medicine Review 1999;4:438-440
Chuang WW, Lin WW, Lamb DJ, and Lipshultz LI. Effect of acetylcarnitine on sperm motility. J Urol. 2000; 163(4).
Lolic MM and Fiskum G. Neuroprotective effects of acetyl-L-carnitine after stroke in rats. Annot Emergency Medicine. 1997; 29:758-765.
Pettegrew JW, Klunke WE, Panchalingam K. Clinical and biochemical effects of acetyl-L-carnitine in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiolical Aging. 1995; 16:1-4.
Sano M, Bell K, Cote L, et al. Double-blind parallel pilot study of acetyl levocarnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Arch Neurol. 1992; 49:1137-1141.