What is Acetyl-L-Carnitine
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (Acetylcarnitine, ALCAR) is an acetylated form (acetylation is an important modification of proteins in cell biology) of L-carnitine and is an amino acid naturally produced by the body.
Acetylcarnitine is broken down in the blood by plasma esterases to carnitine which is used by the body to transport long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria for breakdown.
In other words, it provides your cells with energy.
Benefits and Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplement
Acetyl-L-Carnitine boosts memory, mental alertness, fluid thought, and is a strong antioxidant.
Acetylcarnitine can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier describes how the capillaries of the brain filter out and block the passage of certain substances from reaching the brain.
This makes it an excellent choice when stacking nootropics as it will help transport nutrients to the brain.
What is Carnitine
Carnitine got its name from the fact that in 1905 it was discovered that the main source or carnitine comes from meat.
The body’s liver and kidneys are able to produce the carnitine it needs, even with vegans.
However, additional supplementation can help boost energy levels and improve memory.
Beef and dairy are a natural source of carnitine with 4 ounces of cooked beef providing 56-162mg, 1 cup of whole milk providing 8mg and 2 ounces of cheddar cheese providing 2mg.
The recommended daily dose of carnitine is 500-1500mg.
What Is the Difference Between L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production and exists as D-carnitine and L-carnitine, but only L-carnitine is active in the body.
L-carnitine transports fatty acids into your cell’s mitochondria—your cell’s power plant—which is then able to use these fats as energy.
However, L-carnitine is not able to pass through the blood-brain barrier where acetylcarnitine is able.
L-carnitine passes fatty acids to the mitochondria in your muscle cells and thus is favored by bodybuilders looking to lose fat and gain muscle.
However, as a nootropic, acetylcarnitine is able to pass the blood-barrier to fuel the brain.
Plus, acetylcarnitine is a precursor to acetylcholine and can boost the levels of acetylcholine in the brain.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that allows the synapsis of the brain to communicate with each other and can improve memory.
You can find acetyl-L-carnitine as a supplement in health food stores and online as acetylecarninte, acetyl-L-carnitine or ALCAR.
While the body is able to produce enough carnitine on its own, supplementing can have a two-pronged benefit, both physically and mentally.
Physically, L-carnitine can be very useful for breaking down your body’s fat reserves and using it for energy, especially if you have low insulin levels, such as in a ketogenic diet.
The body naturally uses glucose as a form of energy, but if you’re following a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting, your body uses its fat cells to produce ketones for energy.
So supplementing with acetyl-L-carnitine or L-carnitine can help with your weight loss.
Mentally, since acetyl-L-carnitine is able to break through the blood-brain barrier, it can help transport additional fatty acids to your brain for extra energy, clarity of thought, and improved memory.
It is also believed that it can help with age-related decline in the brain.
For maximum benefit, it is recommended that you take 2,000-4,000mg of acetyl-L-carnitine a day.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is generally safe for most people, though some people report side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, headaches and trouble sleeping.
Avoid taking acetyl-L-carnitine if you are allergic, have a negative reaction or are pregnant or nursing.
It may also not be safe to take if you have peripheral vascular disease , high blood pressure , liver cirrhosis , alcoholism , diabetes , kidney failure , digestive problems , risk factors for mental illness , hepatitis C, sleeping problems , or breathing problems.
ALCAR also stacks well with CoQ10 to improve mood.
Overview of Acetyl-L-Carninine Supplement
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a popular supplement whose benefits include weight loss, fat-burning, improved mood and memory.
It is very popular with body builders and dieters looking to lose weight, but it also has very positive benefits for your brain’s health.