ALC has been extensively studied and found to have significant cognitive and anti-aging effects. It can be effective in improving memory, mood and response to stress.
| What Does ALC Stand For?
Acetyl-L-carnitine. This acronym will be used extensively throughout the remainder of this article.
ALC is a cognitive enhancer and neuroprotective agent that protects against a wide range of age-related degenerative changes in the brain and nervous system.
ALC is an ester of carnitine that modulates cellular concentrations of free coenzyme A and acetyl-coenzyme A, two compounds integrally involved in numerous cellular functions, including the transfer of fatty acids across mitochondrial membranes for energy production.
ALC is found in various concentrations in the brain and its levels are significantly reduced with aging. Several studies suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine delays onset of age-related cognitive decline and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly.
ALC protects against brain degeneration, helps with energy production in mitochondria of cells, and removes toxins from the mitochondria.
The spherical or elongated organelles in the cytoplasm of nearly all eukaryotic cells, containing genetic material and many enzymes important for cell metabolism, including those responsible for the conversion of food to usable energy. Also called chondriosome.
Its effects on brain cells include:
- Increasing neural energy production
- Protecting neurons from toxins
- Maintaining neuron receptors
- Increasing availability of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine
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ALC also has the ability to cross into the brain where it acts as a potent antioxidant, preventing the deterioration of brain cells that normally occurs with age. Because of this protective effect, ALC may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of free-radical induced diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Several clinical trials suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine improves overall mental functioning and mood.
In one study, acetyl-L-carnitine was given to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment. After 45 days, significant improvements in cognitive function (especially memory) were observed.
Another large trial of acetyl-L-carnitine for mild cognitive impairment in the elderly found that supplementation significantly improved memory, mood, and responses to stress. The favorable effects persisted at least 30 days after treatment was discontinued.
Acetyl-L-carnitine also has effects on alleviating depression. Studies have shown that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation is effective at relieving depression in elderly people, particularly those showing more serious clinical symptoms.
ALC also significantly reduces damaged fats, such as lipofuscin, in the brains of aged rats. In addition to accumulating in the aging brain, lipofuscin also accumulates in the skin as aging spots, those brownish pigmented blemishes that accumulate in the backs of hands of many people over fifty. The reduction of these deposits following consumption of ALC may be evidence of a slowing in the aging process in the brain.
| What Does ALA Stand For?
Alpha-Lipoic Acid. This acronym will be used extensively throughout the remainder of this article.
It also is important for optimizing energy metabolism and thus provides an important impetus for the maintenance and repair of the central nervous system.
| The Central Nervous System.
The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.
This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.
The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.
Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.
It has been shown to inhibit cross-linking among proteins, a process that contributes to the aging process in the body. Alpha-lipoic acid activates a collagen-regulating factor known as AP-1 that turns on enzymes that digest glycation-damaged collagen.
It also improves vascular function and helps the repair process in damaged tissues. As well, it helps neutralize and remove various toxic metals, including mercury, from the body.
All of these properties allow ALA to exert beneficial effects on the brain and neuromuscular, immune and cardiovascular systems.
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Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is an excellent antioxidant agent in neurodegenerative diseases due to the fact that it can interrupt free radical damage at several points. It has been shown to elevate antioxidants in various brain regions and improves memory. Further, ALA supports healthy blood glucose levels and insulin activity.
A combination of ALA and ALC has been found to rejuvenate elderly rats and could have a similar effect in ageing humans. These two nutritional supplements act on the mitochondria. Studies show that over time, damage to mitochondria could be significantly implicated in the ageing process.
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