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Acetyl-L-carnitine is the acetyl ester of L-carnitine, an amino acid derivative synthesized from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (acetyl carnitine) is a more bioavailable form of the L-Carnitine and also has some similar functions, such as being involved in the metabolism of food into energy.
One of the primary functions of carnitine in the body is the regulation of fat metabolism. ALC assists in the transport of fat through the cell membrane and into the mitochondria within the cell, where these fats are oxidized to produce the cellular energy ATP. Fatty acids, cannot be metabolized without carnitine!
Research has demonstrated that the availability of carnitine is a limiting factor in the utilization of fat as energy during exercise! Raising carnitine levels can also benefit athletes by increasing their potential to train at a greater intensity and prolonging time to fatigue. During exercise, carnitine causes a sparing effect on muscle glycogen by enhancing fat utilization.
Carnitine has also been shown to have antioxidant properties in cells that provide a bolstering effect on the immune system. Carnitine increases the antioxidant capacity of vitamin C and vitamin E. Several published medical studies have indicated ALC may provide neurological benefits.
As an antioxidant, acetyl carnitine can protect neurons from damage caused by superoxide radicals. Research supports the notion that supplemental carnitine has a protective effect on the heart and cardiac system. ALC supplementation has shown to lower risk factors in heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and raising HDL cholesterol - the "good" cholesterol that scavenges artery clogging plaques.
Recent research on the role of carnitine in men's health has demonstrated a positive effect on reproductive function. Supplemental carnitine has been shown to play a beneficial role in male fertility by increasing sperm production and providing a line of antioxidative defense in the reproductive system.
A major cause of aging is the deterioration of the energy-producing components of the cell which results in reduced cellular metabolic activity, the accumulation of cellular debris, and eventual death of the cell. One of the most effective nutrients to maintain youthful cellular energy metabolism is the amino acid acetyl L-carnitine (ALC), which functions via several mechanisms to protect cells from the effects of aging.