Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage are highly involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Some mitochondrial antioxidants/nutrients that can improve mitochondrial function and/or attenuate oxidative damage have been implicated in PD therapy. However, few studies have evaluated the preventative effects of a combination of mitochondrial antioxidants/nutrients against PD, and even fewer have sought to optimize the doses of the combined agents. The present study examined the preventative effects of two mitochondrial antioxidant/nutrients, R-alpha-lipoic acid (LA) and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), in a chronic rotenone-induced cellular model of PD. We demonstrated that 4-week pretreatment with LA and/or ALC effectively protected SK-N-MC human neuroblastoma cells against rotenone-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative damage and accumulation of alpha-synuclein and ubiquitin. Most notably, we found that when combined, LA and ALC worked at 100-1000-fold lower concentrations than they did individually. We also found that pretreatment with combined LA and ALC increased mitochondrial biogenesis and decreased production of reactive oxygen species through the up-regulation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1alpha as a possible underlying mechanism. This study provides important evidence that combining mitochondrial antioxidant/nutrients at optimal doses might be an effective and safe prevention strategy for PD.