Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC)


General Info


Acetyl-L-carnitine is readily absorbed from the middle section of the small intestine also known as the jejunum (jêjûnum).

Dietary Origins

Small amounts of acetyl-L-carnitine occur naturally in the brain, muscle tissue, and other organs of animals, but the amounts are not sufficient to be able to provide therapeutic levels of this nutrient.


Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is the acetylated ester of the amino acid L-carnitine. ALC is an amino acid that is produced naturally in the body, with the greatest amounts being found in the brain, male testicles, and muscles. ALC facilitates the production of energy from the use of fatty acids.

Acetyl-L-carnitine is considered to be a cognitive enhancing nutrient. It has been shown to increase the production and release of acetylcholine in the brain. ALC has become recognized as a valuable nutrient in the prevention of brain aging. As people and animals age, there is a decrease in the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and in the number of NGF receptors. It has been also discovered that acetyl-L-carnitine may slow down and partially reverse both of these negative consequences of the aging process.

Toxicities & Precautions


There is no known toxicities or precautions associated with acetyl-L-carnitine.

Functions in the Body

Acetyl Donor

Furnishes acetyl groups for the production of acetyl-Coenzyme A from free coenzyme A.

Energy Production

Helps to transport fatty acids across cellular membranes into the mitochondria where they are used in the production of energy.

Improve Memory

Reported to aid in improvement of attention span, memory and mental performance in normal individuals as well as those with cognitive impairment.


Enhances the release and synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in multiple areas of the brain such as the hippocampus and striatum.

Symptoms & Causes of Deficiency

Acetyl-L-carnitine is naturally produced in the human body, and to date, no specific condition has been identified with a deficiency of ALC. However, based on what is known about acetyl-L-carnitine's functions in the body, it could be speculated that a deficiency could result in cognitive decline, decreased energy production, depression, elevated blood lipids, and an increased rate of aging in various parts of the neuroendocrine system.