Acetyl-L-Carnitine to Restore L-Carnitine Levels

L-carnitine is a nutrient substance that is involved in the metabolism of lipids. L-carnitine plays a pivotal role in transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are oxidised for energy production. L-carnitine may play a role in general lipid metabolism and supplements may cause improvements in blood lipid levels. L-carnitine is present in high concentrations in the muscle and heart tissue where lipids are an important source of energy. As animals and humans age, L-carnitine levels fall and this may be one reason why lipid levels become more dysfunctional with age. Acetyl-L-carnitine is an acylated form of L-carnitine that is available as supplements. Evidence from rat studies shows that supplemental acetyl-L-carnitine is able to increase tissue levels of L-carnitine in rats. Studies also show that by doing this, acetyl-L-carnitine is able to normalise the increase in lipid levels seen with ageing rats, and in particular may normalise certain aspects of cholesterol metabolism by decreasing the cholesterol content of phospholipids. 

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Tanaka, Y., Sasaki, R., Fukui, F., Waki, H., Kawabata, T., Okazaki, M., Hasegawa, K. and Ando, S. 2004. Acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation restores decreased tissue carnitine levels and impaired lipid metabolism in aged rats. Journal of Lipid Research. 45(4): 729-735

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Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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