Acetyl l carnitine: Powerful amino acid with antioxidant properties

Acetyl l carnitine is one of those special amino acids. One of the main carnitine benefits, is its ability to raise energy levels. It helps the body convert fat into energy, by helping with oxidation of fatty acids.

While its metabolite L-Carnitine helps transport fats to mitochondria, cell's power plant, Acetylated version of carnitine helps break it down through oxidation, thereby creating energy from fats.

This is one of the reasons why carnitine is heavily promoted as a weight loss supplement. Since it helps the body produce energy, it is also helpful for improving the work efficiency of high energy demanding organs such as the heart and the brain.

Our bodies produce carnitine in the kidneys and liver, in small amounts, every day. As we get older, our ability to produce carnitine diminishes. In this case, supplementing with carnitine can be beneficial for heart patients, especially older ladies and gentleman.


Before considering supplementing with it, you should first ask yourself are you getting enough carnitine from food. Since it is amino acid, foods rich in protein such as beef, lamb, chicken, fish and dairy products contain significant amounts of carnitine.

Also, red meat and dairy products are better sources then white meats or fish. Acetyl l carnitine benefits can also be acquired, by eating some vegetables and mushrooms but they contain very small amounts of carnitine.

Supplementing with it mostly benefits the senior citizens as well as vegetarians. Body requires lysine and methionine, in order to produce carnitine which are usually lacking in vegetarian diets.


Carnitine deficiency is very rare, even in older individuals. Symptoms include low mood, muscle pain, high cortisol levels, depression, cramps, low energy, irregular heart rate and muscular weakness.

There are few possible reasons behind carnitine deficiency such as frequent or high intensity exercises combined with low protein diet. However, some hereditary disorders can cause it, too.


Besides being an important amino acid, carnitine is also a strong antioxidant. Some of its benefits include:

  • Reduces the symptoms of angina, especially in people who work out
  • Some studies suggest that it may reduce the risk of heart attack, death from heart attack, arrhythmia and heart failure
  • Improves the ability of certain tissues to produce energy and use oxygen more efficiently
  • Carnitine has other benefits, too. It may improve mental performance, memory, mood and even reduce cortisol as well as the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.


    Normal blood levels of carnitine shouldn't cause any problems but high levels might lead to side effects.

  • It might increase blood pressure and heart rate
  • Overstimulation, restlessness and insomnia
  • It can also cause mild headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, in some cases
  • Warning 1: Acetyl l carnitine interferes with thyroid hormones. Avoid it, if you have thyroid related problems. If your thyroid is ok and you are taking carnitine supplements, check your thyroid hormones, every few months.

    Warning 2: People with history of seizures, pregnant and breast-feeding women should stay away from carnitine supplements.


    Dose depends on which condition is supplement used for. It may range from 200 mg to 4000 mg daily. People looking to improve the condition and efficiancy of the heart muscle can take from 1 to 4 capsules of 500 mg per day.

    The best time to take it is in the morning, before breakfast or right after exercise, in order to get the most benefits from Acetyl l carnitine.


    Carnitine may interact with anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin and acenocoumarol as well as some chemotherapy, anti-seizure, and anti-depression medications.

    It may also affect the efficiancy of HIV and AIDS drugs, thyroid replacement hormones and interact with Accutane, a medication used to treat severe acne.


    Due to the high carnitine concentrations in the heart muscle, many users report positive effects, after supplementing with it.

    If you choose to take carnitine supplements, rather go with the Acetyl l carnitine which is more bioavailable. It will also improve your brain function and increase your overall energy levels but beware of potential side effects, especially the ones related to thyroid.

    Taking alpha lipolic acid along with carnitine has shown to give even better results, regarding heart function. However, ALA can also have negative effect on the thyroid.

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