Carnitine and ALC – different forms for different effects

Carnitine is needed for fat transport as well as carb metabolism in the muscle, while it also supports energy metabolism in the brain. Although L-carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC) can be found in small quantities in our diets – particularly in milk, red meat, poultry and seafood – the body must produce much of its requirements from essential amino acids.

While early studies on carnitine failed to show much effect on fat-burning, a study by Wall (2011) found that that muscle carnitine content can be increased in humans by supplementation; supporting fat oxidation at low intensity as well as explosive carb-burning for peak performance!

ALC passes more easily into the bloodstream and crosses the blood brain barrier more effectively, than L-Carnitine – meaning the benefits on energy metabolism are more focused on the brain! It acts as a powerful antioxidant, which may prevent the deterioration of brain cells that normally occurs with age.

This protective effect of ALC may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of free-radical mediated diseases, such as Alzheimer’s (Pettegrew at al 1995).

Pettegrew et al. Clinical and neurochemical effects of acetyl-L-carnitine in Alzheimer’s Dis-ease. Neurobiological Aging 1995; 16: pgs. 1-4.]

Wall, T, B.,  Stephens, B, F.,Constantin-Teodosiu, D., Marimuthu, K., Macdonald, I, A., & Greenhaff, l, P. (2011) ‘Chronic oral ingestion of L-carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humans’ The Journal of Physiology Vol 589, 4, pg 963–973.

About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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