Common uses for supplemental Acetyl-L Carnitine:
- Studies demonstrate that ALC treatment is efficacious in alleviating symptoms, particularly pain, and improving nerve fiber regeneration and vibration perception in patients with established diabetic neuropathy*
- Involved in the metabolism of food into energy.*
- Mild mental impairment in the elderly showed a significant improvement of several performances during and after Acetyl-l-carnitine treatment.*
- Reports indicate that Acetyl-l-carnitine may be effective in the treatment of dementia.*
- Treated Down syndrome patients showed statistically significant improvements of visual memory and attention both in absolute terms and in comparison with the other groups.*
- To significantly reduce severity of depression symptoms in the elderly.*
- To significantly improve items measuring quality of life. Overall health.*
- Improve both spatial and temporal memory, and reduce the amount of oxidative damage to RNA in the brain's hippocampus, an area important in memory. Acetyl-l-carnitine is widely used as an energy supplement.*
- Increase sperm mobility in men, and improves overall virility in men.*
- Acetyl-L Carnitine has been shown to improve the condition of essential mitochondria in animals. These are the vital source of energy production in the body.*
Acetyl-L Carnitine - Shown to support healthy cognition, memory and emotional well being. This amino acid is the acetylated form of l-carnitine, providing an important energy supporting metabolite. Acetyl-l-carnitine is supportive for the cardiovascular system, as well as healthy brain cognition.*
Acetyl-L Carnitine is the acetylated form of l-carnitine, and the two compounds share similar energy and metabolism promoting properties. Found naturally in the body, acetyl l-carnitine supports the availability of acetyl-CoA, an important energy generating metabolite. In addition, it supports healthy mitochondrial function and cell membrane stability.*
What is it?
Acetyl-L Carnitine is the acetylated form of l-carnitine. The two compounds share similar energy and metabolism promoting properties. Found naturally in the body, acetyl L-carnitine supports the availability of acetyl-CoA, an important energy generating metabolite. In addition, it supports proper mitochondrial function and cell membrane stability. The acetyl group from acetyl-l-carnitine is also responsible for the production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for optimal mental functioning.*
Uses For Acetyl-L Carnitine*
Support For Cognitive Function, Memory, And Emotional Well-Being: The efficacy of long-term acetyl L-carnitine supplementation was determined in a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial involving 130 elderly individuals for a one-year period. In this trial, acetyl-l-carnitine demonstrated the ability to slow negative cognitive changes, and supported memory and attention. In another randomized double blind study, three-month acetyl-l-carnitine supplementation provided statistically significant support for mental function, including memory and attention, compared to placebo. A multicenter trial of 481 volunteers showed significant memory, behavioral and emotional support with acetyl L-carnitine supplementation. In an evaluation of 28 elderly individuals using acetyl l-carnitine or placebo, the supplemented group experienced enhanced emotional well-being.*
Acetyl L-Carnitine has shown to help with brain function, cognitive function, and healthy aging, as well as overall nervous system health. Creates optimally healthy energy levels, helps muscles use fat as an energy source, and also stimulates the mind and body while promoting a healthy cardiovascular system.
What are the Scientific Evidence and Facts for Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR?)
L-Carnitine - ALCAR Angina*
Carnitine might be a good addition to standard therapy for angina. In one controlled study, 200 individuals with angina (the exercise-induced variety) took either 2 g daily of L-Carnitine or were left untreated. All the study participants continued to take their usual medication for angina. Those taking Carnitine showed improvement in several measures of heart function, including a significantly greater ability to exercise without chest pain.70 They were also able to reduce the dosage of some of their heart medications (under medical supervision) as their symptoms decreased.
Another trial that did use a double-blind, placebo-controlled design tested L-Carnitine in 52 individuals with angina, and found evidence of benefit. In addition, several small studies (some of them double-blind) tested Propionyl-L-Carnitine for the treatment of angina, and also found evidence of benefit.
ALCAR and Hardening of The Arteries*
People with advanced hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, often have difficulty walking due to lack of blood flow to the legs. Pain may develop after walking less than half a block. Although Carnitine does not increase blood flow, it appears to improve the muscle's ability to function under difficult circumstances.
A 12-month double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 485 patients with intermittent claudication evaluated the potential benefits of Propionyl-L-Carnitine. Participants with relatively severe disease showed a 44% improvement in walking distance as compared to placebo. However, no improvement was seen in those with mild disease. Another double-blind study followed 245 people and also found benefit.
Similar results have been seen in most but not all other studies of L-Carnitine or Propionyl-L-Carnitine. Propionyl-L-Carnitine may be more effective for intermittent claudication than plain Carnitine.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR Congestive Heart Failure*
Several small studies have found that Carnitine, often in the form of propionyl-L-carnitine, can improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. In one trial, benefits were maintained for 60 days after treatment with Carnitine was stopped.
ALCAR After a Heart Attack*
Carnitine may help reduce death rate after a heart attack. In a 12-month placebo-controlled study, 160 individuals who had experienced a heart attack received 4 g of L-Carnitine daily or placebo, in addition to other conventional medication. The mortality rate in the treated group was significantly lower than in the placebo group, 1.2% versus 12.5%, respectively. There were also improvements in heart rate, blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and blood lipids. A larger double-blind study of 472 people found that Carnitine may improve the chances of survival if given within 24 hours after a heart attack. Note: Carnitine is used along with conventional treatment, not as a substitute for it.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)*
Evidence from three double-blind placebo-controlled studies enrolling a total of 49 individuals suggests that L-Carnitine can improve exercise tolerance in COPD, presumably by improving muscular efficiency in the lungs and other muscles.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR and Alzheimer's Disease*
Numerous double- or single-blind studies involving a total of more than 1,400 people have evaluated the potential benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Early studies found some evidence of benefit, although it was generally quite modest. However, the two most recent and best-designed studies found no benefit.
A double-blind placebo-controlled trial that enrolled 431 participants for 1 year found no significant improvement at all in the group treated with Acetyl-L-Carnitine. A close look at the results appeared to suggest some benefit in individuals who developed Alzheimer's disease at a particularly young age. However, when this possibility was tested in a 1-year double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 229 patients with early-onset Alzheimer's, no benefits were seen.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR and Mild Depression*
A double-blind study of 60 seniors with mild depression found that treatment with 3 g of Carnitine daily over a 2-month period significantly improved symptoms as compared to placebo. Positive results were seen in another study as well.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR and Hyperthyroidism*
Enlargement of the thyroid (goiter) can be due to many causes, including cancer and iodine deficiency. In some cases, thyroid enlargement occurs without any known cause, so-called benign goiter.
Treatment of benign goiter generally consists of taking thyroid hormone pills. This causes the thyroid gland to become less active, and the goiter shrinks. However, there may be undesirable effects as well. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) can develop, including heart palpitations, nervousness, weight loss, and bone breakdown.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found evidence that use of L-Carnitine could alleviate many of these symptoms. This 6-month study evaluated the effects of L-Carnitine in 50 women who were taking thyroid hormone for benign goiter. The results showed that a dose of 2 or 4 g of Carnitine daily protected participants' bones and reduced other symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Carnitine is thought to affect thyroid hormone by blocking its action in cells. This suggests a potential concern: Carnitine might be harmful for people who have low or borderline thyroid levels to begin with. This possibility has not been well explored as yet.
ALCAR and Peyronie's Disease*
Peyronie's disease is an inflammatory condition of the penis that develops in stages. In the first stage, penile pain occurs with erection; next, the penis becomes curved; finally, erectile dysfunction may occur. Many medications have been tried for Peyronie's disease, with some success. One such drug is tamoxifen (better known as a treatment to prevent breast cancer recurrence.) A 3 month, double-blind study compared the effectiveness of Acetyl-L-Carnitine (1 gram twice daily) against tamoxifen; the study enrolled 15 men in the first stage of Peyronie's disease and 33 men in the second stage. The result indicated that Acetyl-L-Carnitine reduced penile curvature while tamoxifen did not; the supplement also reduced pain and slowed disease progression to a greater extent than the drug. Furthermore, while the drug caused various side effects, the supplement caused none.
ALCAR and Athletic Performance Enhancement*
A 1996 review of clinical studies concluded that no scientific basis exists for the belief that Carnitine supplements enhance athletic performance. A few studies have found some benefit, but most have not.
ALCAR Safety Issues
L-Carnitine in its three forms appears to be quite safe. However, individuals with low or borderline-low thyroid levels should avoid Carnitine because it might impair the action of thyroid hormone.
Individuals on dialysis should not receive this (or any other supplement) without a physician's supervision. The maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
L-Carnitine - Interaction Drug Side Effects You Should Know About
If you are taking;
- Anti-seizure medications, particularly valproic acid (Depakote, Depakene) but also phenytoin (Dilantin): You may need extra Carnitine.
• Thyroid medication: Do not take Carnitine except under a physician's supervision.
Acetyl L-Carnitine can help support healthy cognition, memory, emotional well being, as well as helping muscles use fat as an energy source. Acetyl L-Carnitine also promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.
Interactions. Check with your doctor first if you're taking:
- Blood-thinning drugs
- Calcium-channel blockers
Carnitine may interact with drugs or supplements that lower blood sugar. It may affect how your body breaks down certain drugs and supplements.
Carnitine may increase the effects of or have other interactions with many drugs. It may also interact with a number of herbs and supplements. Avoid using this supplement with D- or DL-carnitine.
Tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking, even if they're natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with any medications.
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