Acetyl l-carnitine is a nonessential amino acid and an acetylated derivative of l-carnitine. More often referred to as ALCAR, this amino acid is often taken as a dietary supplement for various purposes. Admittedly, the amino acid l-carnitine is easily recognized as a fat burning aid and it is indeed an effective weight loss supplement. One will not be far off if he or she were to suppose that acetyl l-carnitine is simply a more bioavailable form of l-carnitine.
However, there is much more to ALCAR than just being a weight loss aid. This amino acid has been used for quite some time to treat and manage a variety of neurological and psychological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline that comes with ageing, cognitive impairment due to alcoholism or Lyme disease, depression, and nerve pain.
L-carnitine was first isolated more than a century ago and it the amino acid was taken from meat, hence the name ‘carnitine.’ While the acetylated form is already more bioavailable than l-carnitine, the absorption rate can be made even more efficient if the supplement is taken with salt. Supplementation with acetyl l-carnitine has long been popular, especially among athletes who take it in order to gain more lean muscle and to convert body fat into energy more effectively.
As a nootropic agent, acetyl l-carnitine is very often used as part of a nootropic stack, rather than used as a primary cognitive enhancer. Users believe that since it has shown the ability to stimulate the production of choline, which seems to make it a viable addition to choline supplements like Alpha GPC and citicholine.
Clinical tests have shown that acetyl l-carnitine is a very effective treatment and management for cognitive decline and memory loss due to old age. It has also shown the ability to treat memory impairment commonly experienced by alcoholics. With these two abilities alone, acetyl l-carnitine certainly makes a good argument as being a viable cognitive enhancer. Its value as a supplement for other purposes such as an antioxidant, as treatment for sexual impotency, and as management for Alzheimer’s symptoms makes it a good overall health supplement.
For cognitive enhancement, users have noticed that it can be a valuable addition to nootropic stacks, particularly those that are geared towards acetylcholine manipulation and stimulation. The most common effect of acetyl l-carnitine according to its users is that it gives you an enhanced mental clarity and focus. These effects translate to an easier memory retention and recall, better logical reasoning, and improved learning ability. Some users also report of experiencing a boost in mental energy as well as the absence of mental fatigue even after an intense study or review session.
While ALCAR is deemed as generally safe for regular supplementation, it does come with a few cautions and warnings before using. People who are suffering from hypothyroidism are advised against acetyl l-carnitine supplementation as it may interfere with the thyroid hormone. There are also some cases wherein ALCAR was believed to trigger seizures in individuals with a history of seizures. Among the side effects of ALCAR supplementation include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and a fishy odor that can emanate from the body or from exhalations.
- It has shown effectiveness as a nootropic.
- It has a lot of side benefits.
- It can complement your existing nootropic stack.
- It may not work very well on its own.
- It may not be safe for some individuals to use.
- It has its own set of unpleasant side effects.
The recommended doses for acetyl l-carnitine supplementation vary according to the benefits that the user aims to achieve. For cognitive enhancement, the daily recommended dose is 1,500 to 4,000mg daily preferably divided and taken two to three different times each day. It is best to consult with a medical expert before you start supplementing with ALCAR.