Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Protecting your Heart and your Head

Acetyl L Carnitine | Menopause Woman

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is known for its strong benefits for brain health ― improved neuron health, plus mental energy, alertness and function ― but did you know that the L-carnitine part of this compound also provides potent heart protection?

ALCAR gives you a true two-for-one benefit!

Unlike L-carnitine, ALCAR contains acetyl, which enables it to cross the blood/brain barrier. The acetate molecule in ALCAR is especially important in producing a neurotransmitter that facilitates many of your brain’s cognitive functions. It is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and is a potent antioxidant that protects the brain’s neurons from corrosive free-radical damage. Plus, it offers better bioavailability than L-carnitine.

But thanks to its L-carnitine component, ALCAR, an amino acid, it also plays an especially important role in heart function, helping to transport this vital organ’s preferred long-chain fatty acids to its cells’ mitochondria, where they’re used to produce energy.

In April of 2013, we learned a great deal about how carnitine can help your heart beat longer and stronger. The Mayo Clinic released a massive analytic research review that documented huge benefits to heart health for those who supplement with L-carnitine.

This study, which examined 13 controlled trials with a total of 3,629 participants, put to rest any doubt that L-carnitine is a friend to your heart.

L-Carnitine Improves Angina and More…

Myocardial infarction is when cells in an area of the heart die due to oxygen deprivation caused by obstruction to the blood supply. In other words, a heart attack. When this happens, the supply of carnitine in diseased heart tissue can plummet to a very low level.

The Mayo Clinic review found that L-carnitine supplementation of heart attack patients resulted in 65% less ventricular arrhythmias (abnormal, irregular heartbeats), while patients with angina (chest pain) who had had a previous heart attack had a 40% reduction in symptoms.

These results were attributed to improvement of several mechanisms:

  1. Improved mitochondrial energy metabolism: Carnitine helps convert fat into energy within the mitochondria portion of cells.
  2. Decreased myocardial ischemia: Carnitine improves blood flow to the heart.
  3. Improved left ventricle function: Carnitine enables the chamber on the lower left side of the heart to more efficiently pump blood out to the rest of the body

Authors of the Mayo Clinic study concluded that carnitine is an inexpensive therapy that has an “excellent safety profile.” Evidence suggests it can be regarded as a promising therapy for heart attack, prevention and treatment of secondary heart attacks, and support for heart attack victims at risk for angina.

Carnitine Lessens After-Effects of Cardiovascular Events

In the wake of a heart attack, many people experience angina. One controlled study of 200 people with angina found that the vast majority of those who took L-carnitine not only had less chest pain but also saw improvement on several measures of heart function and shrinkage of damaged heart tissue.
The status of the heart muscle is critical for heart patients. Damage to the heart muscle from heart attacks and heart failure can impair the heart’s ability to metabolise energy from fats. Energy from fat accounts for around 60% of the energy your heart must have to function.

Carnitine levels are particularly low in patients with damaged heart muscle caused by heart attacks and heart failure. The good news is that carnitine supplementation can strengthen the heart and even reverse the ill effects of carnitine deficiency.

One study found that heart attack survivors given 4 grams of L-carnitine for 12 months had significant drops in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improved blood lipids, compared with those on placebo. They also had a much better death rate ― only 1.2% for the year, compared with 12.5% for those not on L-carnitine. Most of the deaths were due to recurrence of heart attack.

Carnitine supplementation also prevents progressive damage to heart muscle in those who have congestive heart failure. For those at risk for angina with physical exertion, it can improve exercise tolerance.

The Takeaway?

You need energy production in your heart, but that’s not all. You need to generate energy in your mitochondria body-wide. Consequently, L-carnitine deficiency is a serious matter. Just think what your life would be without energy!

Red meat is the primary source of carnitine, but, depending on your diet, you may not get enough. What is more, you can develop carnitine deficiency for a number of reasons. Plus, carnitine production naturally declines with age.

Here’s the thing: A carnitine deficiency leads to widespread destruction of mitochondria, which is likely to hasten death.

Heart attacks don’t announce their arrival, so you will be wise to plan ahead. If you’re low on carnitine when a heart attack hits, you’ll be even less prepared to recover. Supplementing with L-carnitine is a little like buying insurance: It gives you a bit of added protection ― a leg up, so to speak, on recovery.

Since L-carnitine is included in acetyl-L-carnitine, which also provides superior brain protection, it’s a great way to build your store of heart-protective L-carnitine.

SOURCES:

Bronwell, L. Carnitine Restores Cellular Function. Life Extension Magazine. Mar. 2013.

Faloon, W., Joyal, S.V., et.al. REPORT: Rebuttal to Attack Against Carnitine. Life Extension Magazine. Aug. 2013.

Scaglia, F. Carnitine Deficiency. Medscape. Mar. 20, 2017.

Seher, C. L-Carnitine Linked to Cardiac Health ― Research Suggests This Amino Acid Could Help Cardiac Patients. Today’s Dietitian. Vol. 15, No. 9., p. 76., Sept. 2013.

Shan. Does L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine Help Improve Heart Health? HealthResource4U.