The amino acid Acetyl-l-Carnitine (ALCAR or ALC), as a supplement for brain function, has been shown to help cognitive function, depression, and dementia in the brain. It has even more health benefits. In fact, it’s a very multi-functional amino acid.
Uses when taken by mouth: Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory loss, depression, thinking problems related to alcoholism, thinking problems related to Lyme disease and poor liver function.
Also used for withdrawal from alcohol, Down syndrome, bipolar disorder, poor circulation in the brain after a stroke, cataracts, nerve pain due to diabetes, nerve pain due to the treatment of AIDS or cancer, nerve pain caused by sciatica, fibromyalgia, and facial paralysis.
Helps with tiredness related to MS, ADHD and apparently helps with aging skin and male infertility.
Seriously. This is a powerful amino acid. Not all the above have conclusive research to back up the claims, but some uses have been researched and documented. I’ll go over those below.
Overview of What Acetyl l-Carnitine is:
Acetyl l-Carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins), a form of l-Carnitine. Produced naturally in the body, it helps to produce energy (WebMD, 2018). Unlike other amino acids, it is not used to make proteins. As it’s a contributor to helping the body produce energy, Acetyl l-Carnitine is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement and other processes in our bodies.
ALCAR is found naturally in the brain and liver and we also get it from eating meats and milk. The amounts found in meats range from 3mg per 3 oz of chicken to 8 mg per 3 ounces of beef. (Mawer, R. Healthline, 2018). Obviously, vegetarians and vegans might have a harder time getting enough ALCAR.
Some other amino acids found in supplements and sports drinks are L-Carnitine and L-carnitine L-tartrate. These seem to help with recovery from exercise and some research has been done on helping with fat loss. The results are marginal to inconclusive on weight loss and fat burning.
Effective and Documented Uses of ALC:
- Improving memory problems in elderly people. It helps improve memory and mental function in older people with some memory loss.
- Tiredness in older people. It helps feelings of mental and physical tiredness and reduces feelings of tiredness after exercise.
- Treating Alzheimer’s disease. ALC might slow the rate of disease progression, improve memory and mental function in some patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It seems to be more effective for people less than 66 years old and with a faster rate of disease progression.
- Poor blood flow to the brain. Acetyl l-Carnitine has been given by IV to people with poor blood circulation in the brain. It seems to produce short-term improvements to blood flow in the brain.
- Alcohol withdrawal. It is often given by IV for alcohol detox and withdrawal for 10 days and then by mouth for 80 days. ALC reduces alcohol cravings and increases the amount of time before another alcoholic drink is consumed. It also improves memory in 30-60-year-old people whose use of alcohol has produced long-term brain problems.
- Depression. Taking 1-4 grams of acetyl-L-carnitine per day seems to improve mood and decrease depression in some people, especially the elderly when taken in higher amounts.
- Reducing nerve pain (neuropathy) caused by diabetes. ALC seems to improve symptoms in people with nerve pain, especially those who haven’t had diabetes for a long time or for those who have poorly controlled diabetes. Higher doses of 1000mg taken two or three times daily seem to work best.
- Poor brain function in people with liver failure. It helps physical function and may improve mental function in people with poor liver failure. It also might even improve liver function, according to lab results after taking ALC.
- Peyronie’s disease, a connective tissue disease in men. Acetyl l-Carnitine has been shown to be more effective than a drug called tamoxifen for treating Peyronie’s disease.
- Treating male infertility. There is a body of research for men treating infertility which helps sperm motion and may increase the rate of pregnancy in infertile men. The treatment involves not only Acetyl l-Carnitine but other amino acids and drugs. If you are researching this issue, do look into using ALC along with the other recommended amino acids and drug treatments. It sounds very promising.
Video Summary of ALCAR:
Some side effects could include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, headache, and restlessness. ALCAR can cause a ‘fishy’ odor of urine, breath, and sweat.
WebMD (2018) advises avoiding use during pregnancy and breastfeeding since there is not enough known about how it might affect a fetus or baby.
ALC might worsen symptoms in people with bipolar disorder who are in remission.
Nerve pain caused by chemotherapy with drugs in a class called taxanes might worsen with the use of ALC.
People with hypothyroidism might want to avoid taking ALC as research shows it might be affected.
Overall though, most feel that doses below 2 grams per day are safe for most people. Check with your doctor to be sure.
ALCAR for Memory!
ALC improves memory in healthy adults and people with Alzheimer’s disease and widely used for both memory and Alzheimer’s. Since it helps with brain function and depression, it’s a great addition to your memory armory.
Don’t wait to start supplementing with Acetyl L-Carnitine today! Your brain and heart will thank you for it. I’m including some links to help you get started.