Acetyl-l-Carnitine supplement treatment, side effects, health benefit for mental enhancement, dosage, available as 100 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg, 300 mg and 500 mg capsules and tablets by Ray Sahelian, M.D. Aceryl l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid combination and research studies, should you take both?
Acetylcarnitine and carnitine play important roles in the human body. These nutrients shuttle acetyl groups and fatty acids into mitochondria for energy production. Without carnitine, fatty acids cannot easily enter into mitochondria. The acetyl group is used to form acetyl-CoA, the most important intermediary in the generation of energy from amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates. Therefore it serves as an energy reservoir of acetyl groups and both nutrients help improve energy production. The acetyl group is also used to make the important brain chemical acetylcholine. Some studies suggest that perhaps acetyl l-carnitine can even act as a neurotransmitter itself. This nutrient is sometimes abbreviated as ALC or ALCAR.
What you may
notice after taking a supplement
Those who take carnitine pills notice an increase in physical energy, but not as much mental energy. Acetyl l-carnitine has a more immediate and noticeable mental effect than carnitine because it crosses into the brain much better and quicker. The mind boosting effect of ALC is often noticed within a few hours, or even within an hour. Most people report feeling mentally sharper, having more mental stamina, having more focus and being more alert. Some find a mild mood enhancement. Although most pills are sold in 500 mg capsules, I prefer using smaller amounts such as 200 to 300 mg in the morning, on an empty stomach.
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Mind Power Rx
sophisticated cognitive enhancement formula that combines a delicate balance of brain
circulation agents and neurotransmitter precursors with powerful natural brain
chemicals that support:
Memory and Mood;
Mental clarity; Concentration;
Alertness and Focus.
Why buy all the individual herbs and nutrients separately and at great expense when you can buy this excellent combination? The herbs in this natural brain enhancer include: ashwagandha, bacopa, fo-ti, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, mucuna pruriens, reishi, and rhodiola. The nutrients and vitamins in this brain boosting formula include ALCAR, carnitine, carnosine, choline, DMAE, inositol, methylcobalamin, pantothenic acid, trimethylglycine, tyrosine, and vinpocetine.
and frequency of use
The typical daily dosage for long term use is 100 to 300 mg once a day, preferably in the early part of the day. Higher amounts, such as 500 to 1000 mg, can be taken for short periods. Most people begin to notice the effect from after an hour or two, and the mental enhancement can last a few hours or all day depending on the dosage. There are many different dosages available over the counter ranging from 100 mg to 500 mg or more. I'm not sure if anybody knows the answer to the consequences of chronic acetylcarnitine intake. As with most supplements, I often recommend taking a break from use once in a while.
Some websites say acetyl l carnitine
supplement should be taken every day, while your website says a few times a week.
I feel that it is best to take days off from the use of many supplements. If this supplement is being used for mental enhancement, one could alternate with other brain supplements such as dmae, choline, bacopa, ginkgo, etc, or a combination of small amounts found in a formula such as Mind Power Rx.
Dr. Sahelian's personal experience
effects, safety, risk, danger, how safe is it?
Side effects of overstimulation, restlessness, and nausea may occur at dosages greater than 500 mg. Even higher doses may cause insomnia. If you happen to feel nausea, next time just take the acetyl l-carnitine with food or take a lesser dose. A few people may notice mild headaches.
L-acetylcarnitine may help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children with the genetic disorder known as fragile X syndrome which results from an inherited genetic defect on the X chromosome. It is associated with mental retardation and may also cause autism and ADHD, Dr. Giovanni Neri from Universita Cattolica in Rome studied boys between 6 and 13 years old for a period one year. Twenty four received l-acetylcarnitine and 27 received placebo. There was a more effective reduction of hyperactivity and improvement of social behavior. American Journal of Medical Genetics 2008.
May be helpful in those with Alzheimer's disease since It protects against amyloid-beta neurotoxicity.
in the treatment of early stages of Alzheimer's disease and vascular
Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2011 Efficacy, safety and tolerability of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) were studied during the double-blind placebo-controlled 12-week trial in patients with mild (initial) dementia caused by the Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VD). ALC was administered in doses from 2250 to 3000 mg per day. Patient's state was assessed with some scales (MMSE, CGI etc) and a battery of neuropsychological tests. The treatment effect of ALC was 2.8 times higher than in placebo-treated patients. The clinical improvement by CGI scores was significantly better in AD patients compared to VD and did not depend on the severity of baseline cognitive deficit. The drug was well-tolerated. Carnicetine can be recommended in the abovementioned doses for treatment of early stages of AD and VD.
Note: I think much lower dosages should be used since my concern is that high amounts could disturb sleep.
Effects of acetylcarnitine in Alzheimer's disease
patients unresponsive to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.
Curr Medical Research Opin. 2003.
An evaluatation was made of the effect of 2 grams /day orally for 3 months in association with donepezil or rivastigmine in 23 patients with mild AD who had not responded to treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChE-I). The response rate, which was 38% after AChE-I treatment, increased to 50% after the addition of acetylcarnitine.
Anti-aging and longevity with alpha
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, CA rejuvenated aging rats by giving them a combination of alpha lipoic acid and acetylcarnitine. Lead researcher Dr Bruce Ames, said the results were astonishing: "With the two supplements together, these old rats got up and did the Macarena. The brain looks better, they are full of energy - everything we looked at looks more like a young animal." The animals' memories were also significantly improved. The two chemicals in combination have a positive impact on mini-organs within the body's cells called mitochondria and were able to mop up free radicals. Mitochondria generate energy within the cells and their deterioration is an important cause of aging.
It is difficult to predict whether this combination is effective in humans, and if so, how to determine the ideal dose combination. In the meantime, those who wish to supplement prudently with small amounts may consider taking about 5 to 10 mg of lipoic acid, and 30 to 100 mg of acetyl-l-carnitine. Since these nutrients are not often available over the counter in these small doses, you may need to open the capsules and take a portion.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Exploratory open label, randomized study of acetyl- and propionylcarnitine in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Psychosom Med. 2004.
We compared 2 grams a 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. The first significantly improved mental fatigue and propionylcarnitine improved general fatigue.
Depression and low mood
ALCAR may benefit geriatric patients with mild depression.
Acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. A long-term, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Drugs R D. 2002.
A group of 333 patients with diabetic neuropathy were enrolled. Acetylcarnitine (or placebo) was given orally at a dosage of 2000 mg/day. This natural medicine was effective and well tolerated in improving neurophysiological parameters and in reducing pain over a 1-year period.
Acetyl L Carnitine Improves Pain, Nerve Regeneration, and
Vibratory Perception in Patients With Chronic Diabetic Neuropathy: An analysis
of two randomized placebo-controlled trials.
Diabetes Care. 2005.
We evaluated frozen databases from two 52-week randomized placebo-controlled clinical diabetic neuropathy trials testing two doses of acetyl-l-carnitine : 500 and 1,000 mg/day three times a day. Data showed significant improvements in sural nerve fiber numbers and regenerating nerve fiber clusters. Nerve conduction velocities and amplitudes did not improve, whereas vibration perception improved in both studies. Pain as the most bothersome symptom showed significant improvement in one study and in the combined cohort taking 1,000 mg.
Acetylcarnitine plus propionyl-L-carnitine improve efficacy of sildenafil in treatment of erectile dysfunction after bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.
Data from 96 patients who had undergone bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy was reviewed: 33 were given placebo (group 1), 32 used propionyl-L-carnitine 2 g/day plus acetylcarnitine 2 g/day plus sildenafil 100 mg when needed (group 2), and 35 used sildenafil alone (group 3). Placebo proved ineffective and sildenafil and sildenafil plus acetyl-l-carnitine and PLC proved effective in restoring sexual potency after bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.
Hypertension and insulin
Ameliorating hypertension and insulin resistance in subjects at increased cardiovascular risk: effects of acetyl-L-carnitine therapy.
We prospectively evaluated the effects of 24-week oral acetyl-L-carnitine (1 g twice daily) therapy on the glucose disposal rate in nondiabetic subjects at increased cardiovascular risk. It safely ameliorated arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and hypoadiponectinemia.
Studies in aging rats shows chronic administration of acetyl-l-carnitine increases cholinergic synaptic transmission and consequently enhances learning capacity. The memory of aging rats is rejuvenated by giving them a combination of acetylcarnitine and lipoic acid.
Patients with multiple sclerosis may benefit with a reduction in their fatigue.
Comparison of the effects of acetylcarnitine and amantadine for the
treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: results of a pilot, randomised,
double-blind, crossover trial.
J Neurol Sci. 2004.
A group of 36 MS patients with fatigue were treated for 3 months with either amantadine (100 mg twice daily) or acetylcarnitine (1 g twice daily). After a 3-month washout period, they crossed over to the alternative treatment for 3 months. The results show that this nutrient is better tolerated and more effective than amantadine for the treatment of MS-related fatigue.
A pilot study on the effect of acetylcarnitine in paclitaxel- and cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy.
Twenty-seven patients with paclitaxel and/or cisplatin-induced neuropathy received at least one cisplatin or one paclitaxel based regimen, or a combination of both. Patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy were treated with acetyl-L-carnitine 1 g/die i.v. infusion over 1-2 hours for at least 10 days and it seemed to be an effective and well-tolerated agent for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
ALCAR is more effective than tamoxifen in the therapy of acute and early chronic Peyronie's disease.
Sexual dysfunction treatment
This brain enhancer may also have a positive influence on sexuality.
Carnitines versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual
dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging.
A total of 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 grams per day plus acetyl-l-carnitine 2 g/day. The third group was given a placebo (starch). 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. Carnitines 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. Carnitines and testosterone proved effective for as long as they were administered.
Sperm health, number and
Placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial on the use of L-carnitine, L-acetylcarnitine, or combined in men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia. Fertility & Sterility 2005.
Sixty infertile men, ages 20 to 40 years, underwent a double-blind therapy of L-carnitine 3 g/d, acetylcarntine 3 g/d, a combination, or placebo. Sperm cell motility increased in patients to whom acetylcarnitine was administered both alone or in combination with carnitine; combined therapy led to a significant improvement of straight progressive velocity after 3 months. The administration of this combination is effective in increasing sperm kinetic features in patients affected by idiopathic asthenozoospemia (reduced sperm motility) and improves the total oxyradical scavenging capacity of the seminal fluid in the same population.
I am thinking about taking it to help with my memory as I have undergone intensive chemotherapy which as definitely affected my memory. Your site talked about dosage of 300 mg daily with a break, which was very helpful because everyone else recommends so much more. I am taking medication for an underactive thyroid. I read that acetyl l carnitine can interfere with that medication and people with thyroid problems should not take it.
Caution is advised when combining medicines, hormones, and supplements. If your doctor approves you can open a 300 mg capsule and use a third of it the first day. Another option is Mind Power Rx, half a capsule could be used. Most medications and supplements can be used together if the dosages are low.
Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10.
The aim of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was to determine the efficacy of a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10 (Phototrop) on the visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration. Findings suggest that an appropriate combination of compounds which affect mitochondrial lipid metabolism, may improve and subsequently stabilize visual functions, and it may also improve fundus alterations in patients affected by early age-related macular degeneration.
Some people notice ALC reduces appetite but I have not seen formal studies using this supplement as an effective weight loss pill.
Various forms manufactured and
provided by Sigma Tau corp:
Acetyl L-Carnitine hydrochloride
There has not been enough research with each of these forms of ALCAR to determine which are best for long term human consumption.
passing on to you information about this product that was posted at Life
Extension: "Acetyl-L-carnitine arginate dihydrochloride has several valuable properties. The
attachment of an arginine molecule gives this compound a
number of additional benefits for the aging brain. Acetyl-L-carnitine arginate
appears to mimic the effects of a protein called nerve growth factor that
supports the survival of neurons in areas of the brain associated with emotion,
such as the hippocampus, and in the forebrain, which is associated with
cognition, emotion, and important body functions."
I have not seen human studies with this form, and hence any statements such as the one above are speculative and premature. I am not aware of studies comparing the two forms and hence there is no evidence that we know of that one form is superior to the other.
Testimonials received by email
For years I've had mental and physical fatigue. It's like my body doesn't produce physical or mental energy. I've started taking 500 mg of L-Carnitine L-tartrate 2 times a day. I woke up this morning feeling strong rather than tired or weak.
I started taking acetyl L-carnitine in the mornings with warm tea. It works and is much-much better than coffee! This world does need doctors that try to help patients with natural / alternative remedies! I have been taking Lexapro and Abilify religiously for the past 4 years to no effect! This natural amino acid is more powerful than both combined!
I have been reading your books and various articles for years. Iím a big fan of nutrition, health, and fitness. I have purchased scores of vitamins / minerals / amino acids and herbs of all types. Mostly I buy herbs for energy as well as anti-oxidants to treat a rare disease that I have. I usually end up throwing away most of them after a couple of weeks use. However, I have been taking alpha lipoic acid and acetyl l-carnitine 500 mg in the morning on an empty stomach for months now. My mind is clearer, my skin looks better, and my energy level is higher that it has been in years. It also affects my libido in a positive way. I do not work in the nutrition industry. Someone could argue this could be some sort of placebo effect, but it has been such a dramatic effect I donít think that it is placebo effect at all. I have been reading your books and various articles for years. Iím a big fan of nutrition, health, and fitness so I find them interesting and educational. I have been a good customer of my local health food store over the years. I have purchased scores of vitamins / minerals / amino acids and herbs of all types. Mostly I buy herbs for energy as well as anti-oxidants to treat a rare disease that I have. I usually end up throwing away most of them after a couple of weeks use. My mind is clearer, my skin looks better, and my energy level is higher that it has been in years. It also affects my libido in a positive way. I do not work in the nutrition industry. Someone could argue this could be some sort of placebo effect, but it has been such a dramatic effect I donít think that it is placebo effect at all.