The age old question of “What’s the difference between L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine?” has surfaced recently by one of our customers while visiting our showroom last Wednesday. This is a great question. To make it as easily as possible to understand, let’s take a closer look at each nutrient and break down their key roles in the body to help you decide which would best suite you for your specific goals.
L-Carnitine is an essential amino acid that plays a vital role transporting fatty acids from the foods we eat to the mitochondria in each of our cells for natural energy, not stimulant based. Being that L-Carnitine is an amino acid, it helps provide a foundation for protein synthesis in our bodies as well. L-Carnitine is popular in the health and fitness world as a supplement to help athletes shed pounds using natural sources of energy from their bodies stored fat.
Acetly L-Carnitine shares the same properties as L-Carnitine but the chemical structure better suits it for brain and nerve support since it’s acetyl group allows the molecules to cross the Blood Brain Barrier more efficiently. This also plays a part in activating acetylcholine which is a primary active neurotransmitter found in the brain which the chemical that motor neurons of the nervous system release in order to activate muscles.
Both are essentially the same amino acid but their chemical structures are rearranged in a different sequence with an acetyl group attached. They also share the same mechanism for absorption into the intestine. Below is a snapshot of the 2 chemical structures to show the acetyl group attached seen in Figure 1
To finish this discussion, the question “Which is better?” still remains something you have to decide for yourself. Take the facts above and form your own conclusion about which will work better for what you’re trying to achieve.
Which do we prefer?
Based on bioavailability in the body, memory boosting abilities, neuroprotective aspects to help treat Alzheimer's disease, ATP energy sources, as well as heart strengthening attributes, we tend to favor Acetyl L-Carnitine. Both amino acids hold tremendous value and we feel anyone will greatly benefit from both supplements.