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L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine, What's the Difference?

Posted on July 27, 2018

L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine, What's the Difference?Dividerimage

Both L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine are two forms of the same dipeptide. A dipeptide simply means that it is made up of two amino acids, joined together. In this case, Carnitine is made from two essential amino acids called methionine and lysine, however, we also need enough iron and vitamin C on board for this reaction to take place properly. Carnitine is used to support the nervous and cardiovascular systems, brain and the muscles. While L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine are both great supportive products, one form may be preferred over the other in order to achieve certain goals. For example, L-Carnitine might be used by those who exercise or train, or who are aiming to lose weight, while Acetyl l Carnitine benefits include energising the brain and supporting neuronal health.

Girl running in park

If you're unsure which form of Carnitine is right for you, we have highlighted the differences below to help you find the supplement you need.


L-Carnitine helps the body to convert fat into energy by moving it to the mitochondria to be burnt as fuel. This burning process is called Beta oxidation, where fat is converted to ATP or energy. When taken regularly as a supplement, L-Carnitine supports weight loss, which is of course enhanced when combined with a quality diet and an appropriate exercise strategy. L-Carnitine is also taken as an enhancement for bodybuilding thanks to its excellent physical effects. Research has demonstrated that supplementation with this products leads to an extra 1.33kg of weight loss compared to placebo, as reported in Obesity Reviews in 2016.


              Obesity reviews research paper

Acetyl L Carnitine Benefits

Acetyl L-Carnitine is essentially L-Carnitine plus an acetyl group added to the molecule. While offering similar effects as L-Carnitine, the Acetyl l Carnitine benefits are little broader reaching. It also has the added ability to pass the barrier between your blood and your brain, which means it helps to energise the brain. This is the preferred form of Carnitine for brain, nerve and memory support, as it allows for the synthesis of the primary neurotransmitter in the brain, acetylcholine. While it does also helps convert fat into energy, Acetyl l Carnitine benefits primarily mental clarity and focus, along with slight mood elevation. Acetylcholine has been linked to supporting learning ability as well, which is certainly a good thing when you’ve got some reading to do.

            Bookshelf Filled with Books


Meat, poultry, fish, and dairy are the richest natural sources of Carnitine, while vegetables and grains have relatively little of the amino acid. If you're vegetarian, vegan, or just eat minimal animal-products, it may be helpful to supplement what you eat in order to ensure you have good levels of Carnitine. You may also be interested in Carnitine supplements if you want increased benefits, for example, if you are trying to lose weight, are a bodybuilder, or are looking to increase your mental focus for something in particular, like an exam.

If you are considering taking both L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine as supplements together, this is fine and carries no risks. However, be aware that you should take them at varying times, as L-Carnitine needs to be taken on an empty stomach. It is also recommended that you take Acetyl L-Carnitine in the morning, as this is when you want your brain to be more active.

However, it should be noted that it is not actually necessary to take both L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine at the same time, as essentially Acetyl L-Carnitine has the same effects as L-Carnitine, but with added benefits.

Essentially, whichever form of Carnitine you choose, you're going to appreciate the benefits. Both are great for your overall health and well-being, for fat oxidation, energy production, and general heart health. However, whether you choose to take L-Carnitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine will really depend on what effects you want to see. Go for L-Carnitine if you are looking for more physical benefits, and Acetyl L-Carnitine if you want an extra mental boost.