Researchers Believe L-Carnitine and the MIND Diet Could Help Cognitive Function

Age-related neurodegenerative diseases have been a major cause of disability in the past few decades.

Alzheimer’s disease is one such disease characterized by a gradual loss of neuronal cells and synapses in some parts of the brain.

This, in turn, causes a deterioration of those parts of the brain, resulting in impaired cognitive function.

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, it starts with mild memory loss which then gradually progresses until the individuals have significant difficulties leading their daily lives.

In the absence of an effective treatment, the medical community has been more and more focused on other forms of treatment, like taking the right supplements and making core lifestyle changes.

This approach is believed to be able to slow down and alleviate the symptoms of different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The Importance of Diet and L-Carnitine

Making lifestyle changes involves diet changes and taking supplements that have been proven to have a therapeutic effect.

Diet is no doubt important for your overall health, but research shows that the MIND diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world and that it’s especially effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. [1]

L-carnitine supplementation is also considered to be very helpful. It’s naturally produced in your body as a derivative of amino acids.

L-carnitine has a few subtypes that are beneficial in treating neurodegenerative diseases, especially acetyl-l-carnitine, that’s been proven to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s. [2]

For these reasons, a team of researchers from Poland wrote a review of the literature regarding the effect of diet and L-carnitine on Alzheimer’s disease.

We went through their findings and compiled a comprehensive recap for you.

The Details

So far, the best approach to neurodegenerative diseases is to take steps to prevent them with adequate nutrition and supplementation.

For starters, some basic risk factors should be eliminated:

The Role of Diet

The right nutrition could prevent or delay the onset of symptoms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

Studies claim that reducing the intake of fried meat and increasing the intake of foods like fish, cheese, and vegetables, could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. [3]

Highly processed foods have been considered as a bad diet choice because during high-heat thermal processing harmful compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are created.

When your diet is abundant in these foods, they slowly accumulate in your body over time and cause inflammation and oxidative stress, thereby increasing the risk not only for Alzheimer’s, but also for diabetes, heart disease, and premature aging. [4] [5] [6]

Foods high in AGEs are:

  • Foods containing processed sugar (candy, fizzy drinks, etc)
  • Processed meat (sausages, conserved meat, etc)
  • Processed dairy products (cream cheese, etc)
  • Foods containing trans-fats (margarine, cream, etc)
  • Foods fried at high temperatures (french fries, cheese sticks, etc)

On the other hand, foods that are lowest in AGEs are fruits, vegetables, seafood, raw foods, and foods that were not highly processed.

Generally, a diet rich in antioxidants (C, E, beta-carotene), monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. [7]

It has been proved that adhering to a good nutritional plan is the best strategy to control the progress of Alzheimer’s. [8]

One way is to do this is to try the MIND diet.

What Is the MIND Diet?

The MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet was created with the goal to prevent the onset of age-related dementia.

It’s actually a hybrid of the Meditteranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets:

  1. The traditional Mediterranean diet focuses on eating more produce, fish, legumes, and nuts, and less red meat
  2. The DASH diet mostly focuses on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, and less salt and fat

The MIND diet encourages the intake of berries, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, fish, beans, and poultry. 

It also calls for avoidance of sweets, pastries, fried food, butter and margarine, and cheese.

The Role of L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is very important for the functions in the body involving the cells.

It has three major roles:

  • The most important one is to produce energy from fatty acids
  • It helps to detoxify from external toxins excreted by the kidneys
  • Inhibits the production of free radicals and demonstrates antioxidant properties
  • For these reasons, L-carnitine supplementation is recommended for the prevention and managing of Alzheimer’s.

    When L-carnitine works to eliminate the toxins that interfere with the cellular homeostasis and that impede the production of energy, it also fights the free radicals which are the main cause of oxidative stress in neurodegenerative diseases.

    Your body can also convert L-carnitine to different types of amino acids involving L-carnitine. 

    Of these, acetyl-L-carnitine is thought to be the most helpful for Alzheimer’s because of its ability to stabilize nerve cell membranes and help neurotransmitters function smoothly. [9]

    It also exhibits neuroprotective effects and supports the regeneration of nerve cell structures.


    Getting the right nutrition is one of the best things you could do for your body, and finding the right diet is only a part of that lifestyle change.

    It’s become common knowledge that eating healthy is good for you, and the MIND diet coupled with L-carnitine supplementation seems like a good first step towards the prevention of cognitive decline.

    Resource: Kepka, A.; Ochocinska, A.; Borzym-Kluczyk, M.; Skorupa, E.; Stasiewicz-Jarocka, B.; Chojnowska, S.; Waszkiewicz, N. Preventive Role of L-Carnitine and Balanced Diet in Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1987. DOI: 



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