Acetyl-L-carnitine can lift your mood, sharpen your brain, and cancel brain aging. It works by improving energy use in the body and boosting acetylcholine. But most of its advantages lack more powerful clinical evidence. Read on to learn if acetyl-L-carnitine is for you and how to use it for optimal outcomes.
What is Acetyl-L-Carnitine?
Amino Acid Fuel
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC or ALCAR) is an amino acid that fuels energy generation on your cells and encourages nerve function. It provides the acetyl group for burning fats in your mitochondria (fatty acid oxidation) and generating acetylcholine.
Your muscles and heart tissue stock different kinds of carnitine as energy reserves.
Meat and other animal foods contain L-carnitine, but your liver and kidneys may also create it out of two amino acids: lysine and methionine. An enzyme is known as carnitine acetyltransferase (CRAT) subsequently turns L-carnitine to acetyl-L-carnitine and vice versa.
Vegetarians consume less carnitine from the foods they consume, however, they maintain ordinary carnitine levels in the blood. How? The theory is that vegetarians can adapt to diets low in carnitine and consume it more effectively.
- Combats depression
- aids with Alzheimer’s disease
- May reverse brain and nerve damage
- Enhances fertility and sexual function
- Reduces fatigue
- May cause stomach upset
- May increase the risk of heart disease
- May suppress thyroid hormones
Who needs It?
Under ordinary circumstances, your body will produce sufficient quantities of carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine. However, the following will impair the process and raise your risk of carnitine deficiency:
- Genetic disorders
- Old era
- Kidney and liver disorders
- Antibiotics and medications for seizures
- Diabetes and obesity
- long-term fasting or calorie restriction
- Premature birth
Do bodybuilders and athletes need more carnitine? Not very. However, they might benefit from supplementation because greater levels of l-carnitine in the blood and muscles increase blood circulation and oxygen supply, enhancing muscle recovery after exercise.
Most men and women utilize acetyl-L-carnitine to enhance their cognition and rev up energy levels. Clinical research confirms the benefits of acetyl-l-carnitine for your own mind, particularly in elderly people. We are going to cover the main ALCAR advantages below.
Your system creates enough acetyl-L-carnitine under ordinary conditions. Older people and kidney disease patients frequently lack L-carnitine and might thus require supplementation.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine vs. L-Carnitine
The two Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) and L-carnitine combat exhaustion and improve fertility, but they also have some distinct advantages.
ALCAR boosts acetylcholine and has more pronounced effects on mental health and cognition. In addition, it shields the brain against oxidative stress better than L-carnitine.
On the flip side, L-carnitine is a better-researched option for weight loss, physical performance, and heart health.
1) Nerve Damage
Nerves are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress. Certain medications and conditions like diabetes can lead to nerve damage (neuropathy), which succeeds with pain, tingling, or numbness in arms and legs.
Both meta-analyses with more than 2,000 neuropathy patients, acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) considerably reduced pain and improved cardiovascular health.
Acetyl-L-carnitine seems to be a great alternative for diabetic neuropathy. An overview of six clinical trials (711 patients) indicated its ability to protect the nerves from toxic sugar levels and reduce pain in people with diabetes. However, the outcomes are less persuasive when it comes to nerve conduction speed.
Anti-HIV drugs may also cause nerve damage, antiretroviral toxic neuropathy (ATN), which is a significant drawback of HIV treatment. According to multiple testimonials and clinical trials, ALCAR (2-3 g per day ) can fix nerve damage and relieve pain and other symptoms in patients with ATN.
According to animal trials and limited clinical signs, acetyl-carnitine may also help with:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (hand and wrist injury)
- Spinal cord injury
- Chronic pain due to nerve damage and inflammation
On the flip side, it might not assist with nerve damage from chemotherapy (more details below).
A limitation for health care benefits is that many research utilized intravenous or intramuscular therapy; oral supplementation may not have exactly the very same consequences.
Acetyl-L-carnitine can repair nerve damage and relieve pain brought on by diabetes, diabetes, anti-HIV therapy, and harms. These conditions may require intravenous or intramuscular treatment.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) provides the nerves with energy and enables the creation of neurotransmitters essential for psychological health; these include acetylcholine, GABA, and glutamate.
It strengthens the myelin around the brain tissues and stimulates their development, helping to”regrow” your brain.
According to a meta-analysis of 11 clinical trials (791 patients), ALCAR is superior to placebo in reducing depressive symptoms. It seems to have effects similar to standard antidepressants while causing fewer side effects.
Two clinical reviews came to a similar conclusion but also pointed out specific limitations that call for further research. According to one review, ALCAR is especially suitable for elderly patients and those fighting with unwanted effects from antidepressants.
The quick onset of activity is another benefit of ALCAR when it comes to depression. Although patients used it for two months or longer, the majority of them underwent improvement after one week.
Acetyl-L-carnitine may decrease depression by protecting the nerves and fostering neurotransmitters. In some research, it had fewer side effects and acted quicker than standard antidepressants.
3) Alzheimer’s Disease
No additional neurotransmitter is more important for cognition and memory than acetylcholine; impaired cholinergic transmission is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
By boosting cholinergic activity in the brain, ALCAR may help prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
It also increases brain levels of glutathione, shielding it against oxidative stress and amyloid-beta plaques which destroy neurons in Alzheimer’s disease.
A meta-analysis summarized the information in 21 clinical trials with more than 1,200 Alzheimer’s disease patients. Long-term treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine (1.5-3g per day for 3months) was safe and significantly improved the patients’ psychological condition.
Alzheimer’s sufferers getting ALCAR had improved:
- Attention and memory
- Mental Ability and focus (response time)
- Speech and behavior
Another massive review came to a similar decision, even although the authors highlighted most improvements were subjective. They also pointed to additional statistical constraints and concluded that more research is needed to confirm the clinical efficacy of ALCAR.
According to a study of 23 patients with drug-resistant Alzheimer’s disease, acetyl-carnitine may boost the effectiveness of standard medications, such as donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon).
Acetyl-L-carnitine can help with Alzheimer’s disease by boosting acetylcholine and reducing oxidative stress in the brain. It might also boost the efficacy of medication treatment.
4) Fertility and Sexual Function
In a meta-analysis of nine clinical trials with over 800 infertile men, a combination of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) substantially enhanced semen mobility. As a result, the chance of a successful pregnancy improved more than 4 times.
In 120 older patients, a combination of acetyl-carnitine and propionyl-carnitine (2 g daily per day, for 6 months) was as effective as testosterone in enhancing sexual dysfunction. Carnitines showed even better effects on erectile function, unlike testosterone, which did not cause prostate enlargement.
Peyronie’s disease manifests using a curved penis during erection, on account of the presence of scar tissue or plaque, which might cause erectile dysfunction. In an analysis of 48 patients for this illness, ALCAR showed better results than a drug, tamoxifen. Unlike tamoxifen, ALCAR significantly reduced penile curvature while using fewer side effects.
Women with hypothalamic amenorrhea have irregular cycles and fertility problems as a result of inadequate GnRH secretion. ALCAR improved sex hormones and improved the symptoms from three studies of 71 women.
Acetyl-L-carnitine may enhance fertility and sexual function in both genders, but the evidence for girls is poorer. A combination with L-carnitine has proven the greatest results.
5) Cognitive Decline and Brain Damage
The brain-protective effects of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) are not confined to Alzheimer’s disease. It might also improve memory and reduce mental fatigue from various causes.
Studies in Elderly People
Maintaining good brain health is particularly essential for the aging mind. As cells age, they become senescent: much less functional and more pro-inflammatory. Because of this, they produce less acetylcholine.
Research implies that ALCAR might offset senescence and so enhance mental health and cognition in the elderly.
In two studies with 576 older individuals, acetyl-L-carnitine enhanced cognition, improved mood and behavior, and reduced fatigue. In 56 older individuals, it partially reversed dementia because of decreased blood circulation into the brain.
Many animal trials indicate that ALC may encourage memory, learning, and psychological wellness. Scientists found its ability to safeguard the brain and Enhance cognition from:
- Maximizing energy (ATP) production
- Boosting mitochondrial Wellness
- Increasing acetylcholine
- Scavenging free radicals
- preventing brain aging caused by lactate buildup in the mind
Based on these effects, acetyl-l-carnitine may also have nootropic effects (improve cognition) regardless of age, though studies haven’t researched this yet.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid Synergy
Alpha-lipoic acid is another powerful antioxidant that protects the nerves from diabetes and other ailments with increased oxidative stress.
According to animal studies and limited clinical data, acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid may have a synergistic effect on brain aging and cognitive damage, making them a possible combination for cognitive support.
Well-designed clinical trials should test the efficacy and safety of this combination.
Acetyl-L-carnitine combats brain aging and enhances cognition, mood, and vitality. A mix with alpha-lipoic acid can yield even greater results, but the proof is limited.
6) Hepatic Encephalopathy
Acetyl-L-carnitine was powerful for brain injury due to liver disease (hepatic encephalopathy) in three clinical trials of over 250 patients. The treatment with ALCAR:
- Reduced depression and enhanced cognitive function
- Enhanced social function and general wellbeing
- Lowered the amounts of ammonia and improved other biomarkers
In 96 older folks, supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) improved:
- Infection following exercise, by 51 percent
- Muscle pain, by 27 percent
- Sleep disorders, by 28%
It also boosted mood and mental clarity whilst causing no side effects.
ALCAR (2 g daily) significantly enhanced mental fatigue and focus on 30 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Patients with chronic fatigue due to multiple sclerosis can also gain from acetyl-L-carnitine, but the available research doesn’t allow for a definite conclusion.
Acetyl-L-carnitine will boost energy generation and fight fatigue. It is especially effective in older people who frequently lack carnitine.
8) Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is an intricate syndrome that manifests with a muscle strain, fatigue, and mood problems. Physicians are still searching for effective therapy options.
Acetyl-L-carnitine significantly reduced pain and depressive symptoms in 102 fibromyalgia patients. Researchers used a combination of oral (1000 mg/day) and intramuscular treatment.
Back in 65 women with fibromyalgia, ALCAR relieved pain and depression; it was equally effective as antidepressant duloxetine.
9) Alcohol Addiction
In a study of 64 alcohol abusers, ALCAR (1g/day) supplied some short-term benefits such as more abstinence and reduced cravings. Further study should investigate the possible benefits of alcohol addiction and related disorders in the long run.
No legitimate clinical evidence supports the use of acetyl-L-carnitine for any of the conditions within this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research, or low-quality clinical trials that ought to spark an additional investigation. However, you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit.
Weight Loss and Bodybuilding
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a favorite supplement for fostering weight reduction and physical functionality, especially among bodybuilders. Most studies in this field have analyzed L-carnitine, and they revealed mixed effects.
A meta-analysis of nine clinical trials and 911 people indicated mild benefits of L-carnitine for weight loss. On the other hand, the result tended to diminish over time, therefore it may be a good way to use it on brief cutting cycles.
Based on limited clinical signs and animal trials, supplementation with L-carnitine may improve physical performance, speed up healing, and stimulate fat burning.
In theory, ALCAR might offer the same benefits by supplying L-carnitine, but no studies have verified that.
Additionally, comprehensive reviews have failed to confirm that the above-mentioned advantages of L-carnitine supplements in healthy people. Their effects may be limited to elderly or overweight people, kidney disease sufferers, and other groups with carnitine deficiency.
There’s no valid clinical evidence to support the usage of ALCAR or L-carnitine for weight loss and physical performance.
Nerve Damage Due to Chemotherapy
Acetyl-carnitine has demonstrated promising effects against chemotherapy-induced nerve damage in younger clinical trials.
But, it provided no benefits in a study of 409 cancer patients. It even worsened the symptoms of nerve damage after 6 months of treatment.
Diabetes and Heart Health
Impaired fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stress contribute to diabetes. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) can help prevent diabetes or lessen the symptoms by enhancing the breakdown of carbs and scavenging free radicals.
In a small trial of 18 diabetic patients, intravenous ALCAR treatment enhanced sugar control.
But a study of 229 diabetics with high blood pressure and lipids found no effects of ALCAR supplementation on glucose metabolism, lipid levels, or blood pressure.
ALCAR may not help decrease glucose and lipid levels and blood pressure.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine Side Effects & Precautions
This listing doesn’t cover all possible side effects. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you see any side effects. In the US, you might report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada, you might report side effects to Health Canada in 1-866-234-2345.
Acetyl-L-carnitine was secure and well-tolerated in the majority of clinical trials. In rare cases, it caused:
- Upset stomach
Our bodies partially metabolize carnitine into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which might promote plaque build-up in blood vessels (atherosclerosis). In a study of over 2,500 people, those with higher blood levels of L-carnitine had increased levels of coronary disease.
There are various ways to lower your TMAO levels, such as eating more vegetables, dietary fiber, probiotic– and resveratrol-rich meals.
L-carnitine supplementation might cause unpleasant fishy odor and suppress thyroid hormones. ALCAR may do the same, however, studies haven’t confirmed this.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is likely safe for long-term usage. It may contribute to heart disease and suppress thyroid hormones, but more research is necessary to confirm this.
Safety information about acetyl-L-carnitine during pregnancy is lacking, while the evidence for L-carnitine is constrained. If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, stay on the safe side and avoid ALCAR nutritional supplements.
Acetyl-L-carnitine appears to be safe for kids, but they should use it under strict medical supervision.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine Dosage & Supplements
ALCAR supplements haven’t been approved by the FDA for clinical use. Generally, regulatory bodies aren’t promising the quality, safety, and efficacy of nutritional supplements. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
Most products are sold as capsules with 500 milligrams of acetyl-L-carnitine HCl (hydrochloride). Some also contain alpha-lipoic acid.
You will also find products with various forms of carnitine combined. “Quadracarn” comprises four of these, including L-carnitine and ALCAR.
Although animal and meat products are the main dietary source of carnitine, many ALCAR supplements are vegan-friendly.
Most supplements contain 500 milligrams of acetyl-L-carnitine per capsule. Combinations with different kinds of carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid can also be offered.
The doses used in clinical trials may not apply to you personally. If your doctor suggests utilizing ALCAR, work with them to locate the perfect dosage according to your health condition and other factors.
The successful dose of acetyl-L-carnitine for the majority of states ranges from 1500 to 3000 mg, divided into two or three daily doses. Standard therapy duration is 2-3 months, though cognitive injury and neurological damage may require 6-12 months.
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People today utilize acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) supplements to eliminate brain fog and enhance their memory and focus. Combinations with alpha-lipoic acid are very popular as cognitive boosters.
Some users have also reported positive impacts on their melancholy because of increased energy and mental clarity.
A fraction of users experienced no advantages from ALCAR nutritional supplements. The most common side effects include nausea, headache, and nausea. It calms stress in some people.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC or ALCAR) supplies your cells with energy and supports brain health. It raises acetylcholine levels to support cognition and lower oxidative stress in the brain. Older people and kidney disease patients often lack carnitine and might thus benefit from supplementing.
ALCAR can slow down brain aging and help with depression, nerve damage, Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, and fibromyalgia. It may not be powerful for diabetes, heart disease, and chemotherapy-induced nerve damage.
ALCAR is likely to secure, but it might cause digestive side effects and headaches in some people. Pregnant women and children should bypass it unless prescribed by a doctor. Be sure to speak to your physician before supplementing.