Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid derivative of L-Carnitine.
- Promotes healthy cognition in elderly (ref)*
- Supports energy levels in adults (ref)* and elderly adults (ref)*
- Promotes neuron health (ref)*
- Supports antioxidant activity (ref)*
- May improve athletic performance (ref)*
Acetyl-L Carnitine (ALCAR) is a subject of interest in the medical community, but thus far, there has not been a large amount of research or trials conducted with humans, except those studies referenced above.* Many in-vitro and animal studies exist on this subject.
The following are examples of dynamics associated with ALCAR through the animal model and may not be representative of the effects in the human body:
- Promotes mitochondrial health and may improve memory (ref)*
- May reduce mental fatigue (ref)*
- Research suggests it is more bioavailable than L-carnitine (ref)*
Acetyl-L-Carnitine Mode of Action
Carnitine’s function in energy production and lipid (fat) metabolism (1). Both Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) and L-Carnitine are naturally occurring in the body and the body converts L-Carnitine into ALCAR and from ALCAR back to L-carnitine. L-Carnitine is found in animal meat (and in lesser amounts in milk) and is also synthesized from the amino acids methionine and lysine. The conversion of methionine and lysine into L-carnitine involves Vitamin C dependent enzymes, so deficiencies in Vitamin C may hinder synthesis (2).
Vegetarians and vegans who do not eat meat have lower levels of carnitine so they rely on the synthesis of carnitine from methionine and lysine within their bodies, but this is self-limiting and has a threshold beyond which they are not able to continue to synthesize carnitine. Due to the lower level of carnitine in those people who do not eat meat, when they supplement with carnitine they have the best bioavailability and are able to absorb more carnitine than those who do not have the lower level of carnitine. The biochemical mechanisms of the necessity to supplement carnitine in non-meat eaters have been suggested but relatively few clinical trials have been done which fully support this theory (2).
ALCAR is a form of L-carnitine that has unique functions which set it apart from L-carnitine. ALCAR is responsible for transporting fatty acids across mitochondrial membranes which promotes fat metabolism when paired with exercise. It has been studied for its interactions with fatigue because reduced amounts of ALCAR are found in the brain as a biomarker of fatigue (2). ALCAR, due to its acetyl group, can also be used in the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter (3).
Regardless of the form of L-carnitine, benefits can be seen in aerobic and anaerobic exercise, reducing muscular damage after exercise, and possibly increasing power output in physical performance (2).
The research in animals, which may not be representative of its effects in humans, is investigating ALCAR’s possible benefits in the areas of memory and learning, reducing mental fatigue, and many others. Further research is needed in these areas.
Pure Nootropics’ Acetyl-L-Carnitine provides 500 mg per 1 capsule. Suggested use for adults is 1 capsule by mouth once daily, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine Side Effects and Toxicity
ALCAR is generally well tolerated. Some side effects may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting; dry mouth, headache, insomnia, or agitation; and a “fishy” odor to urine, breath, and sweat, and others (1).
If you are taking blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants), please consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning use of ALCAR.
Some psychological disorders, thyroid disorders, and seizure disorders may be adversely affected by ALCAR. If you have any conditions, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning use of ALCAR (1).
For further information, please see our References Tab above.