There are many different theories about aging. Some believe it’s an inevitable process that cannot be slowed down. Meanwhile there are many scientists that believe the right combination of nutrients and a healthy lifestyle can significantly slow down the process. So who’s right?
L carnitine: Your body makes less as you age?
Most of our carnitine comes from our body’s internal production of it. Yes, we do get some from diet, but unless you are a caveman eating several pounds of red meat per day, odds are you probably aren’t getting a great deal of it through diet alone.
There have been many studies done and reportedly our body’s ability to naturally produce it declines as we get older. That brings us to the chicken and egg question… is aging causing us to produce less L carnitine… or… is less L carnitine causing us to age? It’s impossible to know, but what we do know is that the older we get, the less we make.
Acetyl l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid… the perfect pair?
So why is alpha lipoic acid and acetyl l carnitine considered to be such an important duo? Well, here’s one reason…
As you probably know, L carnitine is important in the digestion of long chain fatty acids. In order to be burned, they need to enter the mitochondria in our cells. Unfortunately, the “long chain” size fats reportedly cannot penetrate the mitochondrial wall unless it is attached to carnitine.
So if carnitine enables metabolism of these long chain fatty acids, then in theory that would mean increased activity within the mitochondria (because they would be metabolizing more than they would without carnitine). In summary, higher energy production would be accompanied by increased electron flow… this can cause greater oxidative stress.
The argument for alpha lipoic acid acetyl L carnitine…
As we all know, oxidative stress isn’t a good thing (this is why antioxidants are so popular). What’s unique about alpha lipoic acid is that it is a powerful antioxidant that is an essential cofactor in four mitochondrial enzyme complexes. Therefore, evidence suggests that alpha lipoic acid may help balance out the increased electron flow associated with carnitine.
The duo is so special it’s patented…
Just how special is this finding? Well the benefits of acetyl l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid, when used together, was discovered by the University of California and they were granted a patent for it (5,916,912). Today, they license out the alpha lipoic acid acetyl L carnitine formula to various supplement manufacturers.
So if you’re going to take acetyl L carnitine, many say it only makes sense to take one formulation of it, and that is acetyl l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid.