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Supplement Spotlight: ALCAR - Acetyl L Carnitine

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

A natural brain and body booster

ALCAR Acetyl L Carnitine and food sources

Acetyl L-Carnitine, or ALCAR for short, is the acetylated version of L-Carnitine. This gives it the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and additional brain-boosting benefits over standard L-Carnitine.


Carnitine is naturally present in food, especially animal foods. It has been a favorite of bodybuilders for decades for its benefits on athletic performance and recovery, but now its acetylated cousin ALCAR is beginning to get recognition for its extra mental benefits.


Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase something by clicking the link, I earn a small commission from the company, at no cost to you. I only recommend items that I have researched and tried myself, and recommend to clients in my practice.


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Benefits


1. Boosts Mental and Physical Energy​

Carnitine helps our mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells.


Regular L Carnitine has been a favorite in the bodybuilding community due to its effect on energizing muscle cells, increasing power and speeding recovery.



ALCAR also does this, but with the added ability to cross over into the brain to energize the mitochondria in our brain cells.

 

2. Increases overall cognition, speed and clarity of thought​

Acetyl L Carnitine improves symptoms in Alzheimer's patients, ADHD, and is currently being researched for boosting cognition in healthy people.


ALCAR plays an important role in neurotransmitter formation, namely Acetylcholine - which is responsible for fluid thought, memory, and mental alertness.

 

3. Lifts Your Mood​



ALCAR has mood-lifting abilities, and is recommended as a useful addition to anti-depressants in the treatment of depression.




 

4. Anti-Aging​


AL Carnitine functions as a strong anti-oxidant and improves the clearance of toxins and waste from the brain. It also helps to prevent brain and nerve cell death.


It also is being researched for its benefits in preventing/reducing the effects of cardiovascular disease.


Combined with its ability to feed and energize brain and nerve cell mitochondria, ALCAR is a potent anti-aging supplement.

 

5. Relieves effects of sleep deprivation​

AL Carnitine research is showing some interesting benefits for people with known sleep issues, such as improving daytime alertness for people with narcolepsy.


ALCAR improves quality of sleep and reduces both mental and physical fatigue in the elderly as well as those with widely varied conditions including Diabetes, dialysis patients, Multiple Sclerosis, COVID, and cancer.


ALCAR also has been shown to prevent memory impairment caused by sleep deprivation, and is currently being researched for additional benefits on otherwise healthy but sleep deprived individuals.

 

6. Helps Hangovers



ALCAR extends its protection to the brain both during and after alcohol consumption, protecting our brains from alcohol induced oxidative damage.




 

7. Boosts Fat Burning




ALCAR and regular L Carnitine supplementation both increase fat burning during low and moderate intensity exercise.




 

8. Faster Muscle Recovery




Both ALCAR and regular L Carnitine speed up workout recovery, as well as reduce muscle fatigue and help build muscles.




 

9. Improves Glucose Sensitivity




Acetyl L Carnitine improves insulin sensitivity in diabetics and people who have trouble processing glucose. (R,R,R)




 

10. Boosts Male Fertility




Carnitine levels in seminal fluid are directly linked to sperm quality, and supplementing with ALCAR assists in improving male fertility.




 

11. Heart Protector



Carnitine is recognized as a cardioprotective agent strong enough to be prescribed in IV form for people who are suffering from heart attacks, and reduces their overall risk of death.




Carnitine, ALCAR and other versions are currently being researched on the prevention of heart failure and improving exercise capacity of those who already have heart failure.


 

Dosing


Studied and recommended dosing ranges from 250 mg to 3 grams daily. Since ALCAR is better absorbed than L Carnitine, it is safer to stick to the lower range and stay below 2 grams daily. Side effects with higher (really excessive) doses can occur, including a fishy odor in urine, sweat, and breath, headache, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.


 

Sourcing


Always make sure ALCAR or any supplement you purchase comes from a facility certified in at least one of the following: GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), FDA registered, USP (United States Pharmacopeia), QAI (Quality Assurance International) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation).


One of my favorites is the pure powder form by Bulk Supplements.



ALCAR mixes easily in water and tastes rather like lemon juice, so it's pretty easy to take and doesn't need any fillers or flavors (though I will sometimes add it to other beverages like True Lemon if I want something sweeter to drink).

 

Is it Safe?


Verdict: Safe


ALCAR is naturally occurring, with minimal side effects and very few medication interactions when taken in appropriate amounts. High doses larger than those listed above should be done under the supervision of a health practitioner. Always check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you are taking prescription meds.


 

NOTE: There is has been some talk in the media about the carnitine in red meat causing increased cardiovascular risk.


Looking deeper, this has only been shown in those eating a high red meat diet (and not controlled for processed/nitrate cured meats)


People with low or moderate red meat diets that are supplemented with L-Carnitine or ALCAR do NOT show any increased risk. As mentioned above - it's heart protective!


 


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