Apart from its important role in fatty acid metabolism, the addition of an acetyl group gives Acetyl L-carnitine a wide range of therapeutic applications in the body including maintenance of healthy mood, providing relief of physical and mental fatigue, supporting healthy brain and mental functioning, and helping to maintain healthy cognitive function and memory during ageing.
Carnitine plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids across cell membranes from fat or adipose tissue into the mitochondria of each cell. The mitochondria act as ‘engines’ or ‘powerhouses’ within each cell, burning these fats to create useable energy for the body.
The liver and kidneys are able to produce L-carnitine from two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, although this process is heavily dependent on a number of essential cofactors being available. Essential cofactors include vitamins C, B2, B3 and B6, iron and magnesium. Animal sources, such as red meat, provide a rich source of dietary carnitine when compared to plant based sources of dietary carnitine such as avocado and tempeh. Carnitine is stored in the skeletal muscles, brain, heart, and in men, sperm. See more here: Acetyl L-Carnitine.
Fatty acid metabolism
Fatty acids are major sources of energy in the body and are made up of long chains of lipid-carboxylic acid found in fats and oils and in cell membranes such as phospholipids and glycolipids. Fatty acids can come from animal sources (saturated) and vegetable fats and oils (mainly polyunsaturated). Some carbohydrates from the diet can also be converted into fat as triglycerides, and then stored as fat in adipose tissue. Subsequently the fatty acids from this fat are released to provide energy for various aerobic tissues.
Ketones are produced in the liver from the breakdown of fatty acids and provide an alternative fuel source for the body when glucose is in short supply. People following a low carbohydrate diet will naturally produce ketones as the low amount of carbohydrates available will not be enough to provide sufficient glucose for energy, so the body turns to fat stores for energy instead.
Body mass index (BMI) & waist circumference
The BMI provides an estimate of total body fat based on height and weight. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, a healthy BMI is between 20-25 for most adults. Waist circumference is also considered a good estimate of body fat, especially internal fat deposits.