WHAT IS IT?
Acetyl-L-Carnitine Powder (ALCAR), not to be confused with L-carnitine or carnosine, is a nutritional metabolic booster that improves energy and helps with cognitive functions such as attention, motivation, and memory. ALCAR keeps the brain healthy, helps with memory and may even be useful in the treatment of a wide range of disorders. It also contributes to the production of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter related to memory and alertness. It also helps boost noradrenaline and serotonin while protecting neurons from damage.
ALCAR is slightly different than L-Carnitine, the version of the substance that occurs naturally in our bodies. Where L-Carnitine is generally responsible for metabolic activity and used for muscle-building and fat loss, ALCAR crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily and thus has been designed to affect the brain more than the body. Both forms do support the nervous and cardiovascular systems and overall endurance, but they have slightly different mechanisms. Both supplements are antioxidants, combating cell-deterioration by clearing out free radicals.
A 1998 study showed promising potential for ALCAR in its ability to “[stabilize] the inner mitochondrial membrane, [increase] cardiolipin levels in the heart and [reverse] the decline in activity of a number of mitochondrial translocases…” on rats. Even almost 20 years ago, ALCAR was known for its potential benefits in improving motor skills and cognitive abilities. It’s also been studied as a possible treatment for mitochondrial diseases such as myopathy (muscle-related disorders), deafness, diabetes, ptosis, strokes, seizures, encephalopathy, seizures and miscarriage.
ACETYL-L-CARNITINE’S REPUTATION & BENEFITS
Some reports suggest that ALCAR can help with CNS and heart issues, improve male testosterone levels, and help with stroke and addiction withdrawal. Other possible benefits include a reduction in fatigue, an increase in energy, support for the cardiovascular system and muscle building.
It could be useful in helping recovering alcoholics with cognitive disturbances, in treating depression and ADHD as well as age-related diseases of cognitive decline. It may also be beneficial in the prevention of hair loss and has positive indications for diabetes treatment. It has been noted as a possible anti-anxiety treatment and a possible option for helping to manage age-related depression.
ALCAR is sometimes used by people with HIV to help with injured nerves (peripheral neuropathy), to reduce high triglyceride levels (cholesterol) and to reduce lactic acid in the blood. According to a British study, HIV sufferers showed some level of recovery from nerve damage (nerve re-growth) after taking the supplement twice a day for 4 years. This pattern seemed to continue with ongoing supplementation of ALCAR. Participants also reported less pain.
After using ALCAR, a user over at Supernutrition Life noted “… a recognizable improvement in finding words in writing and speaking. When working I usually get tired pretty fast and need a break, but now could go on for several hours.” A Reddit user suggests that it is useful for people with mitochondrial disorders but ineffective for others. Another Reddit report relays side effects like fatigue and a fishy odor.
WHERE TO FIND ALCAR
This substance is legal in most western countries but restricted in Canada. To order it online, visit Peak Nootropics or Canadian Protein.
Generally, ALCAR is considered safe and non-toxic with minimal to no side-effects if taken in recommended doses. However, any nootropic has the potential to be both tolerance-building and addictive or have other unexpected side effects, depending on the person. It’s important that you start with low doses. Do not take this or any nootropic if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before taking this if you are on antidepressants or other prescription medications.
One female Reddit user reports a change in hormones that led to a cessation of her period. It may cause headaches if used with other choline products. Other negative side effects include anxiety, muscle twitches and “crashing.” Other side effects reported with ALCAR include thyroid interference, vomiting, headache, stomach upset and epileptic seizures (more seizures for those who have epilepsy).
ACETYL L CARNITINE DOSAGE
- Start with the low end of the recommended dosage of 500 mg – 1000 mg and take it with food 1-3 times daily.
- Take up to 500 mg 2-3 times per day on an empty stomach
- Stack with choline, alpha GPC or citicoline for maximum acetylcholine production.
Some recommend using it only a few times per week. However, our readers are advised to consult with a physician prior to taking Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Users should space out their doses so as to avoid tolerance or addiction. Be safe, be smart and emancipate your mind.
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