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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 muscles. While L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine are both great supportive products, you may benefit from one form more than the other. For example, L-Carnitine might be used by those who exercise or participate in sports or who are aiming to lose weight. On the other hand, Acetyl L-Carnitine can energise the brain and support 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 convert fat into energy by moving it to the mitochondria to be burned 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 quite a bit broader. It also has the added ability to pass through the barrier between your blood and your brain. This means it helps to energise the brain.


This is the preferred form of Carnitine for brain, nerve and memory support, as it assists with the synthesis of the primary neurotransmitter in the brain, acetylcholine. While it does also help 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.


Carnitine helps you read books.jpg



Meat, poultry, fish and dairy are the richest natural sources of Carnitine, while vegetables and grains contain relatively little of the amino acid. If you're vegetarian, vegan, or eat very little animal-products, you will probably find more benefits with L-Carnitine supplementation than most, as it ensures you have good levels of this dipeptide. You may also be interested in Carnitine supplements 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, there may be some extra benefit in terms of absorption if you take them on an empty stomach. It is also recommended that you take Acetyl L-Carnitine consistently, that is, on a daily basis for a few weeks leading up to an exam or period of mental challenge, rather than 1 single dose before.


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


Whichever form of Carnitine you choose, you're going to appreciate the benefits. Both forms are great for your overall health and well-being, for fat oxidation, energy production, and general heart health. Hey, our body manufactures it for a reason, right? 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.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Products

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