Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is the most important derivative of carnitine and occurs naturally in the body. Because ALC is considered to have greater bioavailability and is therefore more able to cross neurological membranes, it is the preferred form to take for promoting neurological health.
The levels of carnitine and its derivatives are critical to normal biological functioning. Carnitine is present in the diet in red meats and dairy products, and humans can make carnitine from the amino acids lysine and methionine. However, carnitine deficiency can occur with metabolic disorders, and in conditions such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain) and other complications of diabetes.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is the most abundant naturally occurring derivative of carnitine. ALC helps the body produce energy at the cellular level; regulates carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism; facilitates fatty acid entry into the mitochondria; and maintains the homeostasis of coenzyme A. ALC also displays potent antioxidant effects and supports repair mechanisms. ALC has been shown to support heart and brain function, muscle movement, and numerous other body processes.
ALC protects and enhances the activity of neurons and transmitters in the mitochondria and reduces oxidative stress. By improving cellular function and efficiency in the mitochondria, ALC stabilises the fluidity and function of cell membranes, and improves energy production. ALC is involved in peripheral nerve regeneration and has shown promise in improving neuropathy. Because ALC is able to cross the blood-brain barrier it is able to exert its neuroprotective effects in the brain. Studies have shown ALC can improve cognitive performance and mood by protecting against oxidative stress and reducing or blocking the neuronal death that occurs with dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions.