Acetyl-L-carnitine may offer unprecedented hope for people suffering
from Alzheimer's disease or the aftereffects of a stroke. The
human brain is uniquely powerful and complex, but it is sometimes
difficult for it to fully recover from damage. People who have
been affected by stroke, traumatic brain damage or age-associated
dementia know this all too well. Fortunately, research studies
suggest that the vitamin-like nutrient L-carnitine may be able
to slow down, or even reverse, brain deterioration. Plus, it may
give people the ability to think clearer and remember things like,
"Where did I put my keys?"
If you're worried about developing Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's
disease or age-associated dementia, studies suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine
(ALC) may delay the onset of the disease, according to Prescription
for Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A. Balch. Furthermore, if you've
already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, ALC can help slow down
its progression and improve your mental functioning. In fact,
experimental and clinical studies demonstrate that ALC may have
a "significant capacity to slow, and even reverse, the effects
of aging on the brain," writes Dr. Russell L. Blaylock in
Health and Nutrition Secrets.
The results of numerous research studies support Dr. Sahelia's
theory, including electron microscope analysis of the hippocampus
region of the brain, which demonstrated ALC's ability to reverse
the age-related deterioration of mitochondria. Furthermore, according
to Professor Gary Null, autopsies show that people who had Alzheimer's
experienced 25 to 40 percent less ALC transferase activity than
people without Alzheimer's. In other words, perhaps the reason
why ALC supplementation is so beneficial to Alzheimer's patients
is because they are deficient in L-carnitine in the first place.
Of course, the benefits of ALC's ability to regenerate lost brain
function extends far beyond Alzheimer's disease, making it a promising
treatment for victims of stroke as well. If it is administered
to stroke victims soon after the stroke occurs, ALC may actually
reduce the level of brain damage caused by the interrupted blood
flow, according to an Italian animal study reported in Dr. Russell
L. Blaylock's Health and Nutrition Secrets. But even if it was
not possible to give a patient ALC soon after the stroke first
occurred, ALC supplementation may help the patient improve memory,
task performance and cognition during his or her road to recovery.
Furthermore, ALC may
even be able to help people with Down's Syndrome, even though
it is a congenital disease, rather than an age- or trauma-related
one. In one 90-day study, ALC supplementation improved both the
visual memory and attention of test subjects with Down's Syndrome.
Further research into this scope of ALC's benefits should be promising.
boost brain function?
If ALC supplements
can help normalize the mental activity of people with neurological
damage or deterioration, can it boost the brainpower of anyone?
Many experts have asked the same question.
In Mind Boosters, Dr.
Sahelia writes: "Acetyl-L-carnitine is an antioxidant involved
in energy utilization within cells. A dose of 500 mg in the morning
before breakfast works within two to three hours to induce a pleasant
visual and mental clarity." Similarly, Bottom Line Personnel's
2004 Bottom Line Yearbook reports that ALC can "jump-start"
the brain, and Dr. Blaylock believes that ALC improves spatial
learning, long-term memory and discriminatory learning.
Given the fact that
the acetyl component of ALC is an important neurotransmitter and
L-carnitine itself helps increase cell energy, it isn't illogical
to believe that ALC may offer mental-boosting effects, but experts'
opinions are not unanimous. For example, Textbook of Natural Medicine
authors Joseph E. Pizzorno and Michael T. Murray report that ALC
supplementation may only be beneficial to people who are actually
deficient in L-carnitine, such as people with age-associated mental
do not know the long-term health effects of ALC in large doses,
Dr. Elson Haas cautions, "This is basically safe and can
be taken over an extended period, although it probably should
be stopped for one week each month, until its long-term safety
as a supplement is more clearly established." Based on the
opinions of Dr. Haas and other experts, this may be a safe way
to see if ALC works for you.
So, how much
ALC should you take? According to the PDR for Nutritional
Supplements, a typical dose is 500 milligrams to two grams, taken
daily in two divided doses. If you currently suffer from age-associated
mental impairment, such as poor memory, Professor Null recommends
that you take one to two grams of ALC daily for no more than 90
days in order to see improvement without any possible long-term
health risks. When taken in these controlled doses, ALC supplementation
may prove helpful, especially if you are currently experiencing
dementia or even just "brain fog." Vitamin guru Earl
Mindell says, "[ALC supplements] will not make you an Einstein,
but they can help you remember where you put your car keys."