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Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR): Benefits, Dosage, Sources, and Side Effects

Meat is a source of ALCAR

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR): Benefits, Dosage, Sources, and Side Effects

Acetyl-l-carnitine is an amino acid produced naturally by the body that helps with the creation of energy. It can also be obtained from animal proteins. The amino acid is a type of the micronutrient L-carnitine, a derivative of lysine. To get ALCAR, an acetyl group (-COCH3) is added to L-carnitine.

ALCAR is one of the L-carnitine supplements available on the market and is believed to be l-carnitine’s most bioavailable form. While other types of l-carnitine help change fat into energy, Acetyl-l-carnitine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and works in the brain. For this reason, its major benefits are connected to brain function.

The two other types of L-carnitine are glycine propionyl L-carnitine (GPLC), and L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT). Glycine propionyl L-carnitine is used in the treatment of blood flow conditions while L-carnitine L-tartrate is used by sportspersons or exercise enthusiasts to boost physical performance. ALCAR is the only L-carnitine variant with nootropic properties. It comprises both L-carnitine and an acetyl group, molecule clusters that play a role in the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

While Acetyl-l-carnitine is quite effective when taken on its own, its effects are enhanced when it is combined with some nootropics. It has a synergistic relationship with the nootropic Piracetam and their combined effect is greater than the effect each produces when consumed alone.

Clinical studies have shown that carnitine deficiency is very rare and seldom affects healthy people who don’t suffer from metabolic disorders. However, supplementation has been shown some level of benefit even in healthy people. Acetyl-l-carnitine might be helpful in treating different mental disorders, improving brain function, and promoting heart health.

For the short summary, since carnitine deficiency is so rare, this ingredients is not included in Limidax XR. If you believe that you are deficient, you should talk with your doctor, and together you can decide on a supplement that is right for you. You should not have an issue taking ALCAR on days that you take Limidax, but you should still check with doctor.

Overall, ALCAR is safe for human consumption and very well-tolerated by most people. It is sold as a nutritional supplement, so you can buy it without a prescription.

Other Names ALCAR is Known By

ALCAR goes by the following names: Acetyl Carnitine, N-Acetyl-Carnitine, Acetyl-l-carnitine Arginate HCl, Acetyl-l-carnitine Arginate Dihydrochloride, Acetyl L-Carnitine Hydrochloride, Acetil-L-Carnitina, Acetyl-Levocarnitine, Gamma-Trimethyl-Beta-Acetylbutyrobetaine.

meat-vitamins-b12-meal-food

Food Sources of Acetyl-L-Carnitine

The best food sources of carnitine are animal products like pork, poultry, fish, meat, and milk. Red meat has high levels of carnitine, up to 162 mg per serving. If you eat a mixed diet that includes animal products, you get approximately 60-180 mg of carnitine per day. If you are a vegan, you get a lot less carnitine from your diet (10-12 mg).

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Deficiency and Supplementation

There are two types of carnitine deficiency: primary carnitine deficiency and secondary carnitine deficiency. The first one is a genetic disorder that manifests itself at a young age (by five years). Its symptoms include hypoglycemia, skeletal-muscle weakness, and cardiomyopathy.

Secondary carnitine deficiency may be brought on by disorders like chronic renal failure or by some antibiotics that lower carnitine absorption or boost its production. In such cases, supplementing with Acetyl-l-carnitine may be vital.

blood brain barrier

Benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Like all variants of l-carnitine, ALCAR is first synthesized in the liver and the kidneys before being transported to the other tissues. Due to its excellent bioavailability, it is easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike the other forms of l-carnitine, it is able to quickly cross the blood-brain barrier and work within the brain.

ALCAR works in the brain as well as the body and its functions are similar to those of l-carnitine. In the body, it converts fat to energy, improves metabolic efficiency, and offers many of the energy-related benefits the other l-carnitine variants offer. It may also be helpful in lowering insulin resistance and reducing hypertension.

These are its major benefits.

It Enhances the Production of Vital Neurotransmitters

The acetyl group in ALCAR gives it one of its most significant benefits, it provides the foundation for the synthesis of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is known as the learning neurotransmitter and improves memory, learning, and cognitive ability. When its levels are high in the brain, cognitive abilities improve; when its levels are low, the risk of neurological conditions – like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s – increases.

Acetyl-l-carnitine can also boost levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, the neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in brain function and mood. Because of its ability to enhance neurotransmitter production, it is able to complement nootropics like racetams which boost function of the brain’s neurotransmitter receptors.

It Is A Powerful Neuroprotectant

One way Acetyl-l-carnitine protects the brain and enhances cognitive function is by fortifying the protective cover that shields the brain’s nerves, the myelin sheath. When the myelin sheath becomes weak or gets damaged, brain and bodily functions – like coordination, hearing, balance, and vision – are negatively affected.

Preclinical studies have shown that ALCAR can lower oxidative stress and hinder the ensuing cell death in both adults and children.

It Boosts Cognitive Abilities

ALCAR protects the brain’s membrane signal receptors, helping neurons to stay healthy and functional. By doing this, it helps the brain to create and retain new memories. The amino acid can reduce fatigue and improve learning ability. People who supplement with ALCAR may perform better in exams of verbal memory and directional memory skills.

It Boosts Brain Metabolism

ALCAR helps improve brain metabolism by enhancing cellular energy and acting as a neuroprotectant. It possesses antioxidant properties and fights the effects of cellular oxidation, helping decrease the number of damaged cells. As we age, damaged fat cells (lipofuscin) commonly known as age spots start to appear on the skin. These cells also form in the brain and are thought to play a role in age-related neurological conditions, poor memory, and loss of energy. ALCAR helps the brain to get rid of these damaged cells, enhancing brain function and lowering the risk of neurological disorders. During periods of stress, it can prevent the brain from degenerating.

It Enhances Physical Health

While ALCAR is known for its brain benefits, it offers much more. It may be helpful in the treatment of age-related physical conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure. It can help manage nerve pain, promote heart health, and boost kidney function. Sometimes, the supplement is used for male infertility, erectile dysfunction, andropause, Peyronie’s disease and chronic fatigue.

Pipette adding fluid to one of several test tubes

Acetyl-L-Carnitine’s Dosage

A daily dosage of 250 to 500 milligrams is recommended for beginners. This can be taken at once or divided into smaller doses. As your body gets used to the supplement, you can increase the dose to achieve maximum benefits. However, never exceed 2,000 milligrams per day.

If you want your brain to function optimally during the day, take the first dose in the morning and the other doses throughout the day. Do not take the supplement in the evening because it may affect your sleep.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine’s Side Effects

Acetyl-l-carnitine supplements are safe for consumption but can cause a few side effects such as restlessness, headaches, vomiting, stomach upset, nausea, and dry mouth. They can also give sweat, breath, and urine a “fishy” odor.

Interactions with Other Supplements or Drugs

Acetyl-l-carnitine interacts with two drugs that are used to slow blood clotting: Warfarin (Coumadin) and Acenocoumarol (Sintrom). It may increase the effects of these two drugs, causing them to significantly slow down blood clotting.

Where to Buy Acetyl-L-Carnitine

You can easily buy Acetyl-l-carnitine supplements from online vendors, but it is always advisable to get them from a reliable supplier with many good reviews by real users. Nature’s Way, NOW Foods, and other reputable vendors have versions of products that only contain ALCAR as a single ingredient.


About the Author

Limidax Team

The Limidax Team includes neuroscientists, researchers, and health coaches. We hope you find these articles useful. If you have any questions at all, always feel free to reach out to us.