Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Cognitive Health

    Cognitive health has never been revered as more valuable contributor to healthy aging than it is today. A healthy brain can translate to improved mood, memory, cognitive function and overall quality of life. It would be difficult to identify an individual or group that isn’t interested in improvements in these areas. While there are several contributors to a brain’s overall performance, such as essential fatty acids, folate, etc., one particular nutrient has been shown to positively affect cognitive performance: L-Carnitine is naturally produced in the human body by the liver and kidneys and is transported to other tissues, including the brain, and is involved in fatty acid metabolism across mitochondrial membranes. It breaks down parts of the acids and contributes to the formation of ATP.  Without adequate L-Carnitine, oxidation and its residual waste can inflict unwanted damage on mitochondria. As we get older, the damage can accumulate and result in potentially harmful effects, including those most often associated with cognitive decline.

    Of particular importance to brain health is the Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) form of L-Carnitine. ALC is a unique compound that can pass through the blood brain barrier, helping to manage oxidative damage, support mitochondrial function and maintain healthy neurotransmitter activity. ALC also helps to minimize cellular waste during the ATP process. Antioxidants are critical in helping to reduce damage caused by free radicals or reactive oxygen species and other toxic residue byproducts. The more energy produced by the body, the greater its need for protection. This is particularly relevant for the brain since it produces a great deal of toxic byproduct. With ALC, greater nutrient transfer results in greater mitochondria function, which in turn provides energy to the body as well as antioxidant protection for the cells.

    Related: Prevention is the Key

    The aging process is quite complex in relation to cognitive function. It can, however, be simplified as the following. As nerve growth factors in the brain decline, so do Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Acetylcholine levels. As a result, mitochondria lose their efficiency. All of these factors contribute to common complaints related to aging, including loss of memory, learning, recall and cognition.

    While L-Carnitine is found in the diet, particularly in meat and dairy, it can also be consumed in the form of a dietary supplement. ALC solutions, such as MitoCarn, can help effectively penetrates the blood/brain barrier to deliver nutrients directly to the brain. The molecules increase healthy blood flow and support wide-ranging functions that contribute to healthy cognition.*

    As the interest in cognitive health continues to grow, manufacturers and consumers will increase their interest in validation efforts. The focus will be on research behind the claims that support cognitive performance ingredients. These efforts have very clear benefits given the increasing number of consumers in retirement years, as well as consumers of all ages making an effort to perfect their overall cognitive health.

    Related: Healthy and Vibrant — At Every Age

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.