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Supplementation with Acetyl-L-Carnitine Can Improve Symptoms of Depression

Home / Blog / Supplementation with Acetyl-L-Carnitine Can Improve Symptoms of Depression


According to research recently published in Psychosomatic Medicine, deficiency of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) appears to increase one’s risk of developing depression.  ALC, one of the most widely investigated brain nutrients, has been shown to quickly improve mental energy and focus.  Similar in structure to the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine, ALC stimulates acetylcholine receptors in the central nervous system.

ALC is more specific for brain support than its popular supplement relative, L-carnitine, because it’s chemical structure allows it to cross the blood brain barrier.  As such, ALC offers all of the benefits of L-carnitine – heart function, sports performance, and metabolism – plus robust enhancement of mental stamina.   

The only significant food source of carnitine comes from animal muscle tissue, mainly in dark meats.  Recent changes in dietary patterns are believed to be responsible for the widespread ALC deficiency seen among adults across the globe.   

This is significant because the new study demonstrated that ALC insufficiency increases the risk of depression and that supplementation with ALC can significantly reduce depressive symptoms.   

For this study, investigators reviewed twelve previously published randomized controlled trials (RCTs).  In nine of these trials, acetyl L-carnitine was used by itself and compared only to placebo.  An analysis of these studies showed that ALC significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared to placebo.   

In the other three clinical studies, ALC was compared to prescription antidepressants.  Notably, ALC demonstrated similar effectiveness compared to antidepressants in decreasing depressive symptoms across these trials.  In these latter RCTs, the frequency of side effects was significantly lower with ALC than with antidepressants.

Many of us have appropriately come to associate ALC with preventing age-related memory loss and slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's disease.  As it turns out, ALC is also improves attention, concentration, mental stamina, and clarity of thought.  Moreover, ALC increases dopamine, which can enhance mood, motivation, and mental focus.

Recommended dosages of ALC range between 500-3000 mg per day, depending on the indication.  I tell my patients to expect to see an increase in energy and focus within 15 to 20 minutes of taking ALC.   ALC has no known side effects and is designed to also provide long term benefits for brain health and cognitive function.

General health and anti-aging strategies begin in the brain.  That is why we offer a comprehensive portfolio of core cognitive supplements such as FolaNAC, RememorAll, Nrf2 Pathway Activator, Super EPA Fish Oil, TriFlora Multi-strain Probiotic, and Vitamin D3.  Please see the table below for further details. 

Core Cognitive Cocktail





Key Ingredients




L-methylfolate, methylcobalamine, NAC

1 cap per day

Lower inflammation, Reduce oxidative stress, Help build key neurotransmitters


P5P, Resveratrol, Bacopa, ginkgo, Huperzine, ALCAR, vinpocetine, phosphatidylserine

As directed on bottle

Enhance cognition, Increase SirT1 activity, Increase acetycholine

Nrf2 Pathway Activator

Turmeric, Broccoli Seed Extract, Black Pepper Extract, Pterostilbenes

As directed on bottle

Reduce A-beta accumulation, Optimize mitochondrial health, Lower inflammation, Heal and seal the gut

Super EPA Fish Oil

720 mg EPA

480 mg DHA (per serving)

2 gel caps twice daily with meals

Lower inflammation, Heal and seal the gut, Preserve synaptic structural integrity

Tri Flora Probiotic

Multi strain with s. boulardii

1 cap twice daily with meals

Right-size inflammation, Heal and seal the gut

D3 5000

Vitamin D3

1 cap per day

Powerful neurohormone that reduces inflammation

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Acetyl-L-Carnitine by Designs for Health


Veronese N, Stubbs B, et al. Acetyl-l-carnitine Supplementation and the Treatment for Depressive Symptoms: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2017 October 25.

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