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Acetyl-l-Carnitine & Exercise Tolerance

Friday, January 12, 2018

As we enter the end of the second week of 2018, it's important to find the energy and the tolerance to keep our New Year's commitment to exercise more. It can extend our lifespan, as well as get us in better shape so we fully enjoy our everyday life.

Exercise tolerance refers to the exercise capacity of an individual as measured by their ability to endure exercise and/or the maximum workload achieved during the exercise period. 

A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism looked at exercise tolerance and the ability of working muscles to resynthesize energy-rich, mitochondria-produced adenosine triphosphate (ATP) at a rate that matches or even exceeds energy expenditure.


Sustained regeneration of ATP is driven principally by mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), the metabolic pathway in which the mitochondria in cells use a range of different nutrients to create cellular energy. 


For those of you who may not know, mitochondria are organelles inside every cell that take part in a variety of cellular metabolic functions, one of the most important being creation of biological energy. They are often referred to as "the power house of the cell."

In light of an aging population and the growing worldwide prevalence of metabolic disease, efforts to understand and modify exercise fatigue have become increasingly relevant to global health economics, and health span—the length of time that we are healthy, not just alive. 


The study points out that habitual exercise not only improves physical fitness and muscle strength but also promotes metabolic health and mitigates a wide range of medical conditions, including obesity. 

Unfortunately, aging and other chronic life events are often accompanied by exercise intolerance, leading to a vicious cycle of inactivity and a breakdown of cross-body cellular structure and function, including that of ocular cell​s


Acetyl coenzyme A (Acetyl-CoA​), is the molecule that participates in biochemical reactions in protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. Its main function is the delivery of the acetyl group to the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle) to be oxidized for energy production. 


Carnitine acetyltransferase (CrAT) is the mitochondrial matrix enzyme that catalyzes the interconversion of acetyl-CoA and acetyl carnitine


Acetyl-l-carnitine is an acetylated form of l-carnitine, which is naturally produced in the body. It's also available as a dietary supplement (ALCAR) often recommended to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria for breakdown.


Acetyl-l-carnitine in blood and tissues has emerged as a biomarker of energy surplus. The Cell Metabolism ALCAR-supplemented mouse study shows that contractile activity (self-contraction) reverses acetyl-l-carnitine flux in muscles, from net production and efflux at rest to net uptake and consumption during exercise. 

Interestingly, the study also found in exercise-trained versus untrained humans, post-exercise creatine, which supplies the energy necessary for muscle recovery rates, is positively associated with the CrAT activity and coincided with dramatic shifts in muscle acetyl-l-carnitine dynamics. ​This information can be important to ​powerlifters, weekend warriors, and ​the rest of us who occasionally overdo at our gym, on our trampolines, stationary or regular bikes, or on our long Fitbit walks.  

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


This study further supports the vast amount of research published by Bruce Ames, PhD, and his team on the benefits of supplemental ALCAR, including its effect on human energy production. It also supports our ongoing commitment to stressing the importance of daily exercise for optimal full body health, including eye health. Our Eye & Body Complete includes 200 mg of ALCAR in each daily dose.

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