Co-Administration of Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine


Scientific Studies:

1.  Feeding acetyl-l-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress.

Tory M. Hagen,* Jiankang Liu, Jens Lykkesfeldt,§ Carol M. Wehr, Russell T. Ingersoll, Vladimir Vinarsky, James C. Bartholomew, and Bruce N. Ames

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 May 14; 99(10): 7184.


Mitochondrial-supported bioenergetics decline and oxidative stress increases during aging. To address whether the dietary addition of acetyl-l-carnitine [ALCAR, 1.5% (wt/vol) in the drinking water] and/or (R)-α-lipoic acid [LA, 0.5% (wt/wt) in the chow] improved these endpoints, young (2–4 mo) and old (24–28 mo) F344 rats were supplemented for up to 1 mo before death and hepatocyte isolation. ALCAR+LA partially reversed the age-related decline in average mitochondrial membrane potential and significantly increased (P = 0.02) hepatocellular O2 consumption, indicating that mitochondrial-supported cellular metabolism was markedly improved by this feeding regimen. ALCAR+LA also increased ambulatory activity in both young and old rats; moreover, the improvement was significantly greater (P = 0.03) in old versus young animals and also greater when compared with old rats fed ALCAR or LA alone. To determine whether ALCAR+LA also affected indices of oxidative stress, ascorbic acid and markers of lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde) were monitored. The hepatocellular ascorbate level markedly declined with age (P = 0.003) but was restored to the level seen in young rats when ALCAR+LA was given. The level of malondialdehyde, which was significantly higher (P = 0.0001) in old versus young rats, also declined after ALCAR+LA supplementation and was not significantly different from that of young unsupplemented rats. Feeding ALCAR in combination with LA increased metabolism and lowered oxidative stress more than either compound alone.

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2.  Effect of Combined Treatment with Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine on Vascular Function and Blood Pressure in Coronary Artery Disease Patients.


Mitochondria produce reactive oxygen species that may contribute to vascular dysfunction. Alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial function. In a double blind, crossover study, we examined the effects of combined alpha-lipoic acid /acetyl-L-carnitine treatment and placebo (eight weeks per treatment) on vasodilator function and blood pressure in 36 subjects with coronary artery disease. Active treatment increased brachial artery diameter by 2.3% (P=0.008), consistent with reduced arterial tone. Active treatment tended to decrease systolic blood pressure for the whole group (P=0.07) and had a significantly effect in the subgroup with blood pressure above the median (151±20 to 142±18 mmHg, P=0.03) and in the subgroup with the metabolic syndrome (139±21 to 130±18 mmHg, P=0.03). Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction may contribute to the regulation of blood pressure and vascular tone. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and determine the clinical utility of alpha-lipoic acid/acetyl-L-carnitine as antihypertensive therapy.