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The Potential Functions and Benefits of Acetyl L-Carnitine

Bulk Nutrients Ambassadors Tammie Sarkozy lung with weight

What is Acetyl L-Carnitine?

Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) can aid in several body functions, by transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria, the powerhouses of a cell, and converting it into energy.

Several studies have looked at ALCAR and its potential benefits for people with cognitive impairment, including antioxidant properties that protect nerve cells, and applications in mood enhancement, exercise performance and neurological conditions.

Acetyl L-Carnitine for Energy Metabolism

Studies have shown ALCAR can play a pivotal role in enhancing energy metabolism. It is suggested to aid in the transfer of fatty acids into the mitochondria, where the fats are converted into usable energy. It holds the potential to increase overall energy levels, boosting a person’s daily performance.

L-Carnitine may help increase mitochondrial function, with the burning of energy potentially playing a key role in disease management and healthy ageing.

Acetyl L-Carnitine for Weight Loss

Some people take Acetyl L-Carnitine as a weight loss supplement, due to its energy metabolising powers. Several studies have showed supplementing ALCAR in your diet significantly reduced body weight, body mass index and fat mass – but had no effect on a person’s body fat percentage, or belly fat.

An analysis of nine studies, mostly of people with obesity or of an older age, found that people lost an average of 1.3 kilograms more weight while taking an L-carnitine supplement.

Acetyl L-Carnitine to Improve Exercise Performance

ALCAR can act as a crucial acetyl buffer for active muscles, enhancing exercise tolerance, and offering insights into potential therapeutic approaches to address exercise intolerance.

The benefits of L-Carnitine may be indirect, and take several weeks or months to appear.

Studies have shown it may help improve recovery post exercise, and reducing fatigue post exercise in a group of eighty participants aged between 21 and 65 years old.

Additional exercise related benefits include the capacity for ALCAR to increase oxygen supply to the muscles, as well as helping to reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

Another study found it could help improve high intensity exercise performance when taken 60-90 minutes before working out.

Acetyl L-Carnitine for Cognitive Function

One literature review from 2017 examined the efficacy of Acetyl L-Carnitine on otherwise cognitively health people. Analysing two randomised controlled scientific trials, it looked at the effect of ALCAR and a placebo on young adults. It found no evidence of effect on reaction time, vigilance, immediate memory or delayed recall after three days of treatment. It recommended more, well-designed trials to study the use of the supplement for improving function for cognitive enhancement in healthy adults.

There have however been several studies that suggest the use of Acetyl L-Carnitine could have significant benefits for individuals with impairments including Alzheimer’s and geriatric depression, by positively affecting brain energy.

One study found statistically significant effects of the use of ALCAR over an eight to twelve week period, in improving EEG patterns and alleviating impaired brain functions in elderly patients who had mild to moderate cognitive decline.

A study published early in 2024 suggested ALCAR as a therapeutic target for clinical phenotypes of depression, stemming from childhood trauma. It also found that boosting the mitochondrial metabolism of acetyl l-carnitine protects against oxidative stress and reduces neuroinflammation.

Acetyl l-carnitine has showed benefit towards improving attention for people with down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and migraines, however one study has found it appears safe to use for people with ADHD but has no effect on the overall population, suggesting more studies take place for potential benefits for specific types of the disorder.

How much Acetyl L-Carnitine to Take?

For most people, taking 2 grams or less per day is considered relatively safe, and free from any serious side effects for long-term use. It’s always recommended you get an assessment from a medical professional before adding a new supplement to your diet.

Ryan Bevan Head of Operations TGA

Ryan Bevan

Ryan Bevan works hard to ensure strict TGA compliance, coordinating with external consultants, and managing intricate documentation - all while drawing strength from Bulk Nutrients' exceptional Quality Assurance team.

More about Ryan Bevan


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