Acetyl-L-carnitine is similar in form to the amino acidL-carnitine and also has some similar functions, such as being involved in the metabolism of food into energy.
The acetyl group that is part of acetyl-L-carnitine contributes to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is required for mental function. Several double-blind clinical trials suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine delays the progression of Alzheimers disease and enhances overall performance in some people with Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers research has been done with the acetyl-L-carnitine form, rather than the L-carnitine form, of this nutrient.
One double-blind trial4 has found that acetyl-L-carnitine may be helpful for people with degenerative cerebellar ataxia, a loss of muscular coordination caused by disease in the cerebellum (the hind part of the brain that controls muscle tone and balance).
Where is it found? Acetyl-L-carnitine is a molecule that occurs naturally in the brain, liver, and kidney. It is also available as a dietary supplement.
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