How Acetyl-L-Carnitine prevents Alzheimer's disease and dementia while boosting brain function.
Acetyl-L-carnitine may offer unprecedented hope for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease or the aftereffects of a stroke. The human brain is uniquely powerful and complex, but it is sometimes difficult for it to fully recover from damage. People who have been affected by stroke, traumatic brain damage or age-associated dementia know this all too well. Fortunately, research studies suggest that the vitamin-like nutrient L-carnitine may be able to slow down, or even reverse, brain deterioration. Plus, it may give people the ability to think clearer and remember things like, "Where did I put my keys?"
If you're worried about developing Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or age-associated dementia, studies suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) may delay the onset of the disease, according to Prescription for Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A. Balch. Furthermore, if you've already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, ALC can help slow down its progression and improve your mental functioning. In fact, experimental and clinical studies demonstrate that ALC may have a "significant capacity to slow, and even reverse, the effects of aging on the brain," writes Dr. Russell L. Blaylock in Health and Nutrition Secrets.
The results of numerous research studies support Dr. Sahelia's theory, including electron microscope analysis of the hippocampus region of the brain, which demonstrated ALC's ability to reverse the age-related deterioration of mitochondria. Furthermore, according to Professor Gary Null, autopsies show that people who had Alzheimer's experienced 25 to 40 percent less ALC transferase activity than people without Alzheimer's. In other words, perhaps the reason why ALC supplementation is so beneficial to Alzheimer's patients is because they are deficient in L-carnitine in the first place.
Of course, the benefits of ALC's ability to regenerate lost brain function extends far beyond Alzheimer's disease, making it a promising treatment for victims of stroke as well. If it is administered to stroke victims soon after the stroke occurs, ALC may actually reduce the level of brain damage caused by the interrupted blood flow, according to an Italian animal study reported in Dr. Russell L. Blaylock's Health and Nutrition Secrets. But even if it was not possible to give a patient ALC soon after the stroke first occurred, ALC supplementation may help the patient improve memory, task performance and cognition during his or her road to recovery.
Furthermore, ALC may even be able to help people with Down's Syndrome, even though it is a congenital disease, rather than an age- or trauma-related one. In one 90-day study, ALC supplementation improved both the visual memory and attention of test subjects with Down's Syndrome. Further research into this scope of ALC's benefits should be promising.
Can Acetyl-L-Carnitine boost brain function?
If ALC supplements can help normalize the mental activity of people with neurological damage or deterioration, can it boost the brainpower of anyone? Many experts have asked the same question.
In Mind Boosters, Dr. Sahelia writes: "Acetyl-L-carnitine is an antioxidant involved in energy utilization within cells. A dose of 500 mg in the morning before breakfast works within two to three hours to induce a pleasant visual and mental clarity." Similarly, Bottom Line Personnel's 2004 Bottom Line Yearbook reports that ALC can "jump-start" the brain, and Dr. Blaylock believes that ALC improves spatial learning, long-term memory and discriminatory learning.
Given the fact that the acetyl component of ALC is an important neurotransmitter and L-carnitine itself helps increase cell energy, it isn't illogical to believe that ALC may offer mental-boosting effects, but experts' opinions are not unanimous. For example, Textbook of Natural Medicine authors Joseph E. Pizzorno and Michael T. Murray report that ALC supplementation may only be beneficial to people who are actually deficient in L-carnitine, such as people with age-associated mental deterioration.
Because scientists do not know the long-term health effects of ALC in large doses, Dr. Elson Haas cautions, "This is basically safe and can be taken over an extended period, although it probably should be stopped for one week each month, until its long-term safety as a supplement is more clearly established." Based on the opinions of Dr. Haas and other experts, this may be a safe way to see if ALC works for you.
So, how much ALC should you take? According to the PDR for Nutritional Supplements, a typical dose is 500 milligrams to two grams, taken daily in two divided doses. If you currently suffer from age-associated mental impairment, such as poor memory, Professor Null recommends that you take one to two grams of ALC daily for no more than 90 days in order to see improvement without any possible long-term health risks. When taken in these controlled doses, ALC supplementation may prove helpful, especially if you are currently experiencing dementia or even just "brain fog." Vitamin guru Earl Mindell says, "[ALC supplements] will not make you an Einstein, but they can help you remember where you put your car keys."