What is Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)?
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is an acetylated form of L-carnitine, derived from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys. The human body uses Acetyl L-Carnitine for fatty acid oxidation, the process in which fatty acids are broken down to create energy. It achieves this by transporting fatty acids across the mitochondria membrane for oxidation to occur. The highest levels of ALCAR are found in tissues that use fatty acids as their main fuel, namely the skeletal and cardiac muscles.
Because of the attached acetyl group, Acetyl L-Carnitine is a cognitive enhancer and neuroprotective agent.
ALCAR is also able to enter the circulation of the central nervous system, where it acts as a powerful antioxidant. Recent studies have demonstrated synergistic benefits from the combination of ALCAR and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Acetyl L-Carnitine supports cellular energy production by assisting in the transport of fat to the mitochondria where it is oxidized and converted into ATP (chemical energy for the cell). As a highly bioavailable form of L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine helps maintain healthy cellular energy metabolism.
While the body can manufacture all necessary amounts of Acetyl L-Carnitine, supplemental carnitine can still improve the ability of tissues to produce energy.
Carnitines also remove waste products from the energy transfer process. In a healthy individual, the kidneys regulate the level of carnitine in the body. However, those suffering from kidney failure or cancer may be unable to maintain adequate amounts of carnitine. Other conditions also may result in reduced carnitine levels in the body including cardiovascular disease, claudication and certain medications.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine work synergistically to support the benefits of each other in respect to cognitive function, memory and mental acuity. Both compounds display many impressive properties and have many synergistic effects when combined. These supplements are good nootropics and are frequently blended together in retail products.
ALA is a naturally occurring antioxidant enzyme and an important mitochondrial component. ALA may synergize with ALCAR and further increase exercise performance in two ways. First, it may increase glucose transport to muscle, particularly because exercise is associated with a high degree of oxidative stress. Secondly, ALA and ALCAR may synergize to increase fatty acid utilization and cellular energy production.
Purebulk offers a blended product of ALCAR/ALA capsules with 500mg of ALCAR and
200mg ALA. Since ALA powder has an unpleasant chemical burning taste, we use capsules for this blended product.
Potential Side Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is generally safe. With normal serving sizes side effects are extremely unlikely and rare. In large amounts, adverse side effects such as increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, and diarrhea are possible. Side effects may include headache, restlessness, and mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps. Persons with a history of seizures should not use this product.
Bioavailability, Mixing and Solubility of ALCAR
This product dissolves quickly in water and has a moderately sour but pleasing taste that mixes well with citrus drinks like lemonade. Mix the product with a citrus juice or dissolve in water and drink.
References & Further Research
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Carnitine fact sheet
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