Acetyl-l-carnitine alpha lipoic
acid benefits side effects dosage 300 mg and 500 mg supplement capsules
Does it work for anti-aging, weight loss?
Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, HIV, nerve health, sexual health
April 22 2014
The mind boosting effect of acetyl-l-carnitine is often noticed within a few hours, or even within an hour. Most people report feeling mentally sharper, having more focus and being more alert. Some find a mild mood enhancement. This nutrient may be used as an overall mind booster.
Combining with other supplements
and brain enhancers
Q. Is an acetyl-l-carnitine alpha lipoic acid combination better since the latter helps transports the former into the mitochondria?
A. Many products on the market have acetyl-l-carnitine alpha lipoic acid together promoted for anti-aging purposes. Be careful using high amounts of these combinations since they can keep you awake at night, and shallow sleep is certainly not helpful for longevity purposes. I would not recommend taking more than 10 to 30 mg of alpha lipoic acid and acetyl carnitine 100 mg on a daily basis. There is no human evidence that the combination of these two nutrients is better than either alone. Even if the combination is preferable, we have no idea of the ideal dosage, and it could be vastly different between different people.
There have been claims that the combination of acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid has anti-aging effects but this has yet to be determined in human studies and we need to find out the right dosage. Taking too much can have a worsening effect.
How to take, practical tips
Acetyl-l-carnitine 300 mg is used for brain enhancement, mood improvement and cognitive support. It can be combined with other brain enhancers. The 300 mg is a potent mind booster and antioxidant. Most people find one capsule is the right dose while some people may find the occasional use of 2 capsules helpful. It increases alertness and focus. It would be best not to take a capsule with other brain boosting supplements due to possible overstimulation. One option is to alternate the use of acetyl-l-carnitine one day with Mind Power Rx the next day, or alternate with other brain supplements such as DMAE, choline, ginkgo, and others. Doses above 500 mg may, in some people, lead to overstimulation, insomnia, and nausea. For long term use one capsule 3 times a week with a week off each month is a good option. Acetyl-l-carnitne can be taken with small doses of other supplements such as vitamins E and C, and it can be used together with fish oils.
The typical dosage is 250 to 500 mg in the morning, a few times a week. Side effects of overstimulation may occur at dosages greater than 500 mg.
Q. A website recommends 1000 to 2000 mg of
acetyl-L-carnitine a day. Dr. Ray Sahelian, who by the way I consider the most
credible and honest on the web, says much less. I have been taking 1000 mg a
day because my father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and I am
concerned about my genetic risks. But my sleep seems to be much shallower since
I upped my dosage. Could the 1000 mg be a possible cause of my less-deep sleep
We have found that high doses of acetyl-l-carnitine to interfere with sleep which is not a good thing if one wants to have optimal health.
Mind Power Rx
Acetyl-l-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid and carnitine are synthetically made in a lab. For some nutrients there is not enough present in natural sources, or food sources, to be able to extract in sufficient quantities.
The nutrients and vitamins in Mind Power Rx include
DMAE, inositol, methylcobalamin,
trimethylglycine, tyrosine, and
The herbs in this brain improving formula include: ashwagandha, bacopa, ginkgo biloba, Fo-Ti, mucuna pruriens, and Reishi.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Exploratory open label, randomized study of acetyl- and propionyl-carnitine in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Psychosom Med. 2004.
In an open, randomized fashion we compared 2 grams per day acetyl-L-carnitine, 2 g/d propionyl-L-carnitine, and its combination in 3 groups of 30 chronic fatigue syndrome patients during 24 weeks. Attention concentration improved in all groups, whereas pain complaints did not decrease in any group. Two weeks after treatment, worsening of fatigue was experienced by 52%, 50%, and 37% in the acetyl-carnitine, propionyl-carnitine, and combined group, respectively. In the acetyl-carnitine group, but not in the other groups, the changes in plasma carnitine levels correlated with clinical improvement. Both showed beneficial effect on fatigue and attention concentration. Less improvement was found by the combined treatment. ALCAR had main effect on mental fatigue and propionyl-l-carnitine on general fatigue.
Double-blind, multicenter trial comparing acetyl-l-carnitine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients.
Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2007. Rheumatology Unit, University of Verona, Italy.
In this multicenter randomized clinical trial we evaluated the efficacy of acetyl-l-carnitine in patients with overt fibromyalgia. The treatment consisted of 2 capsules/day of 500 mg acetyl-l-carnitine or placebo plus one intramuscular injection of either 500 mg or placebo for 2 weeks. During the following 8 weeks the patients took 3 capsules daily containing either 500 mg acetyl-l-carnitine or placebo. The "total myalgic score" and the number of positive tender points declined significantly and equally in both groups until the 6th week of treatment. At the 10th week both parameters remained unchanged in the placebo group but they continued to improve in the ALCAR group with a statistically significant between-group difference. A statistically significant between-group difference was observed for depression and musculoskeletal pain. Treatment was well-tolerated. These results indicate that it may be of benefit in patients with fibromyalgia, providing improvement in pain as well as the general and mental health of these patients.
Effect of acetyl-l-carnitine on Body Composition in HIV-related Lipodystrophy.
Horm Metab Res. 2009.
This study examined the impact of acetyl-l-carnitine treatment on metabolic parameters and body composition in patients with lipodystrophy syndrome secondary to antiretroviral treatment in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Eight months of acetyl-l-carnitine treatment increased lipid oxidation, decreased intramyocellular triglyceride content, and induced a more physiological distribution of fat deposits.
Q. I have recently been reading the studies concerning acetyl-l-carnitine with both human and rat subjects and nerve trauma with a great deal of interest. Seven years ago I had major surgery on my right lung where several intracostal nerves were severed. I have been living with severe burning pain since then. I have been lucky enough to have switched from a neurologist who only wanted to treat my symptoms with drugs back to my primary physician who is much more understanding about nutritional supplements in healing. I am intending to begin therapeutic dosage and was wondering how long it takes before a reduction in pain is perceived. My doctor and I think the nerves are finally regenerating, but I am still in a great deal of pain and would like to actually help it heal instead of just taking pain meds. I was very interested in the reports that acetyl-l-carnitine helped a great deal with pain in addition to healing.
A. Too little research is available regarding nerve health or pain reduction. As with many supplements, each person would need to try for themselves to see if any benefits occur.
Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging.
To compare testosterone undecanoate versus propionyl-l carnitine plus acetyl-l-carnitine and placebo in the treatment of male aging symptoms. A total of older 120 patients were randomized into three groups. Group 1 was given testosterone undecanoate 160 mg/day, the second group was given propionyl-L-carnitine 2 g/day plus acetyl-L-carnitine 2 g/day for 6 months. The assessed variables were total prostate-specific antigen, prostate volume, peak systolic velocity, end-diastolic velocity, resistive index of cavernosal penile arteries, nocturnal penile tumescence, total and free testosterone, prolactin, luteinizing hormone, International Index of Erectile Function score, Depression Melancholia Scale score, fatigue scale score, and incidence of side effects. Testosterone and carnitines significantly improved the peak systolic velocity, end-diastolic velocity, resistive index, nocturnal penile tumescence, International Index of Erectile Function score, Depression Melancholia Scale score, and fatigue scale score. acetyl-l-carnitine and priopionyl-lcarnitine 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. No drug significantly modified prostate-specific antigen or prolactin.
Safety and side effects, risk, danger
Side effects of acetyl-l-carnitine include restlessness, nausea and overstimulation. These negative reactions usually occur at dosages above 500 mg. Insomnia is possible if the dosage is above 1000 mg a day. It can be taken with food to reduce nausea, but if one wishes to feel the mental stimulating effects more clearly, it can be taken on an empty stomach. High doses in rodents has led to seizure onset therefore it may be prudent for anyone with a seizure disorder to avoid use until we find out more about this type of risk.
Transient seizure activity induced by acetyl-l-carnitine.
Intracerebral injection of acetyl-l-carnitine in rats induced interictal and ictal epileptic phenomena with immediate onset, lasting up to 4 hours. Epileptogenic properties are probably related to muscarinic agonism. The transition from interictal to ictal events may involve failure of GABAergic mechanisms.
Q. For about 6 years I have been taking 500 mg of acetyl-l-carnitine mostly every day with my other multivitamin, calcium, omega
fatty acids wild salmon oil, CoQ10. I am 54, healthy, not overweight,
with no known health problems and I exercise regularly. In my mid teens and
until age 23, I took dilantin for seizures. I have not taken dilantin now for
30 years and have had no seizures since. At the time my family doctor
prescribed dilantin he told my parents and me that he expected me to grow out
of this problem by the time I was in my 20s. I have just been reading today
that a possible side effect of taking acetyl-l-carnitine could be seizures.
A. We searched the medical literature and found this study on rodents. We have not seen any reports in the medical literature regarding seizures being triggered by acetyl-l-carnitine in humans, but this does not mean it has not occurred.
Differences between different cognitive enhancers
Q. I am thinking of taking DMAE as a cognitive booster; however I have read that acetyl-l-carnitine is better. The two substances may work in different ways, but their overall effect, save for unpredictable personal differences in response to them, seems to be quite similar. So could you please point out why exactly, should one be obliged to choose, you would prefer one over the other?
A. Both DMAE and ALC are good cognitive enhancers and different people have different preferences. I personally like ALCAR more since, for me, it gives me more alertness and focus with fewer side effects. DMAE can sometimes make my muscles tense, especially muscles around the neck. And, it is a good idea to try different cognitive enhancers to see which ones are most agreeable and beneficial.