Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mindblog does another anti-aging experiment.

I find myself both spooked and sparked by my second foray into anti-aging chemistry (the first being the unsuccessful resveratrol dalliance described in a previous post.) A colleague pointed me to work of Bruce Ames and collaborators (also here) which has led to the marketing by Juvenon of a dietary supplement containing Acetyl L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and the B-vitamin biotin. Experiments on rats show that these compounds reverse the age related decay in energy metabolism in mitochondria and also inhibit oxidative damage to mitochondrial lipids. So... the idea is that these supplements might energize and juice you up a bit.  The Juvenon supplement contains (per day) 600 mcg biotin, 2000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine, and 800 mg of alpha lipoic acid.  I though $40 was a bit steep for a 30 day supply, and so I bought the equivalent supplements from Swanson Health Products for significantly less money.  I decided to take 600 mg of the carnitine/day, 1000 mg/day of the alpha lipoic acid,  and 1000 mcg/day of biotin,  half at breakfast, half at lunch (by the way, this is slightly less than 1% of the levels used in the rat experiments.) From the homework I have done so far, the levels of these supplements being taken have no documented adverse side effects.

The results?  Well.... sufficiently dramatic that I really can't credit that it is all a placebo effect,  because I go into any such experiment as an unbeliever... The first several days I felt a phase change, a  step up in energy level and kinetic energy that made me like a 20-something again, a bit incredulous, as in "whoa.. where did this come from."  With both brain and body feeling like an automobile engine running at 2,000 r.p.m. even when it was not in gear,  I cut the levels of the supplements by a half after three days.   After another three days of energy I didn't know what to do with,  generating what felt like excess brain and body "noise,"  I stopped the supplement,  deciding that my normal fairly robust daily routines (including daily gym work or swimming, running, or weights) apparently had all the energy they needed.

Any experiences or references from blog readers would be appreciated.


  1. Anonymous8:54 PM

    I've taken acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid for years, and highly recommend them. There is definitely an energy boost associated with the use of these supplements.

    You are correct that Juvenon is over priced, and also you are supposed to take one of the components with food and the other on an empty stomach, which is not going to be the case if they are in a single pill.

  2. I wasn't aware of the empty vs. full stomach bit.. it appears from quick googling that the N acetyl carnitine should be taken on an empty stomach for best absorption and the biotin wants a full stomach, because it sometimes has gastric effects.

  3. Intermittent fasting laughs at these puny results!

  4. Anonymous9:54 PM

    Thanks Deric for the informative posts.

    My only concern about N acetyl carnitine is that for some reason it is banned from public sale in Canada. What does their drug/food agency know that we don't?

  5. I've now played with two days off, and one day on the supplement (the acetyl L carnitine and alpha lipoic acid on empty stomach after waking, the biotin with breakfast) and find a noticable, and sometimes useful, bump up in mental and body energy on the days I do the supplement.