Difference between Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine
What are Carnitines?
L-Carnitine is a food/supplement/amino acid, made in the body or ingested.
Best known for improving muscle growth, reducing excess body fat and repair of damage to the intestinal tract.
Carnitines aid fat loss by converting body fat into muscle or energy.
There are two main types of the five available, L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine:
The Acetyl form of L-Carnitine is the biologically active version of the amino acid L-Carnitine, protecting all body cells from age-related degeneration.
The addition of the Acetyl group in the L-Carnitine molecule also allows it to pass through the blood-brain barrier where it can promote improved mental health and clarity.
Propionyl L-Carnitine is another version, less widely used.
GPLC (Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine) is another ester of carnitine used mainly as a sports supplement.
D-Carnitine supplements interfere with natural L-carnitine by preventing correct absorption of L-Carnitine and may also produce unwanted side-effects. This version should be avoided.
Sources of Carnitine
Carnitines come from the diet, or supplements, or the body can make them, although in smaller quantities.
The body can produce small amounts of L-Carnitine, if all precursors are present:
- Lysine – Amino acid
- Methionine – Essential Amino Acid
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B6
- Ascorbic Acid
- Chelated Iron
If the body is deficient in any of the above, carnitine production is compromised.
The Carnitine Diet
Carnitines are found in animal products, particularly red meat, so vegans are usually carnitine-deficient.
Carnitines are made in the liver and kidneys, and stored in cells of the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.
Carnitines are classified as “non-essential amino acids”, meaning the body can make them, as distinct from the “essential amino acids” which must come from the diet or supplements,
as they cannot be made by the body.
Carnitines carry fatty acids to the mitochondria (the energy-storage area in every cell in the body) where it is converted into ATP (Adenosine triphosphate, cellular fuel).
In the cells, carnitine is available to be burned as fuel, and also removes waste products from this process.
Kidneys remove carnitine if we have too much, and if we have too little, the kidneys hold on to any remaining.
Acetyl L-Carnitine can improve immune function and reduce lipofuscin, a cell-clogging pigment.
Acetyl L-Carnitine works with CoQ10 (Co-Enzyme Q10) and ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
to further improve mitochondria function.
The Mitochondria is the “energy pump” within each of the 60 trillion cells in the human body. Without correct mitochondria function, poor health is the consequence.
Difference between Acetyl L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine
Acetyl L-Carnitine is not to be confused with regular L-Carnitine.
L-Carnitine is typically used for weight loss, athletes and body building, but without the brain benefits, as L-Carnitine cannot pass the blood-brain barrier.
Acetyl L-Carnitine is a highly bio-available form, able to cross the blood-brain barrier, helps to maintain normal neurotransmitter activity, commonly used for mental health, but also has muscle-building, fat-loss, immunity and general health properties.
Acetyl L-Carnitine Benefits
Carnitine can be used in conjunction with regular drugs for angina, and may improve exercise ability without chest pain.
Carnitine may help after a heart attack in conjunction with prescription medicines, although not all studies agree.
Carnitine may reduce chance of a second heart attack, death from heart disease, chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, heart muscle weakness.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, plaque build-up in the arteries) causes leg pain or cramps (intermittent claudication). Carnitine may allow more exercise before pain or cramps set in.
Diabetic neuropathy is a result of nerve damage from high blood glucose levels, causing pain and numbness, mainly in arms, legs, and feet. Acetyl-L-carnitine can reduce pain and increase feeling, and may even help regenerate nerves.
Carnitine is often used to increase performance, although evidence varies. Long-term results should improve as muscle replaces fat.
L-carnitine may help reduce fat, increase muscle, reduce fatigue, and improve the mental willingness to exercise.
Alzheimer’s Disease, Memory, Cognitive Ability
Acetyl L-carnitine may slow Alzheimer’s progression, senility, dementia, and improve nerve cell health, memory and cognitive ability.
Because of action on dopamine (chemical messenger between nerve cells) and dopamine receptors, Acetyl L-Carnitine may help minimise Parkinson’s symptoms, by enhancing dopamine release from dopaminergic neurons, and by improving binding of dopamine to dopamine receptors. Acetyl L-Carnitine also slows the decline in dopamine receptors as we age (which happens faster with Parkinson’s). Many researchers believe that Parkinson’s may be caused by a dopamine deficiency. Acetyl L-Carnitine may also help to inhibit tremors in Parkinsons patients.
Carnitine deficiency can lead to low sperm count and mobility. Supplemental Carnitine may help men struggling to conceive.
Propionyl L-carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine may improve ED (Erectile Dysfunction) and may improve Viagra effectiveness for male diabetics, vegans or those recovering from prostate surgery.
Peyronie’s disease is a penis curvature causing pain during erections. Acetyl L-Carnitine in studies worked better than prescription medication for reducing pain and assisted reducing penis curve, and without side-effects.
Carnitine can interact with some medications. Talk to your doctor if you are on any prescription medication.
Kidney disease can cause carnitine deficiency. Seek medical advice before using any supplements, especially those people on Dialysis.
L-carnitine may reduce symptoms of Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), such as insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, high body temperature and tremors.
Carnitine may reduce passage of thyroid hormone into cells, so in theory, thyroid hormone replacement may become less effective.
This could be a problem for those with Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function).
If you take thyroid replacement hormone or have any thyroid issues, talk to your health care provider before taking any form of carnitine.
HIV – AIDS
AZT is medication for HIV and AIDS. L-carnitine supplements appear to protect muscle tissue from damage, a toxic side effect from AZT.
Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy medication for cancer. L-carnitine may protect heart cells from Doxorubicin’s toxic side effects (without reducing the chemotherapy effectivness).
Always talk to your oncologist for advice with chemotherapy. If your oncologist does not know, fine one who does know.
Accutane (Isotretinoin) a strong medication used for severe acne which can cause liver problems, as measured by a blood test, as well as high cholesterol and muscle pain and weakness.
These symptoms are like those seen with carnitine deficiency. Researchers in Greece showed that a large group of people who had side effects from Accutane got better when taking L-carnitine compared to those who took a placebo.
Depakote (Valproic acid) is an anti-seizure medication which can cause carnitine deficiency. L-carnitine supplements may reduce canitine deficiency and reduce side-effects of valproic acid. L-Carnitine is used medically where a patient has overdosed on Valproic Acid. However, Carnitine may increase seizure risk in those with a history or high risk of seizures, so talk to your doctor or neurologist.
Suggested Adult Use and Dosage
As a dietary supplement, take 500mg 1 to 3 times per day. Do not exceed 1500mg per day.
LeanMachine suggests 500mg daily as a maintenance dose, and up to 1500mg spread across the day for specific conditions.
Overdosing (5000 grams per day) may cause diarrhoea.
One 250mg capsule, taken 1 to 4 times daily. Always consult a qualified medical specialist if taking prescription medication or for any serious illness.
Updated 22nd September 2019, Copyright © 1999 – BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285