Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), is a powerful addition to your biohacking toolbox. This valuable little molecule has been a staple in the bodybuilding and brain-hacking communities for years now, thanks to its ability to help you lose weight and power up your brain. Read on to learn more about the benefits of acetyl-L-carnitine, plus side effects, safety and proper supplement dosage.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid naturally produced in your body to generate energy. It’s also found in animal protein — namely, red meats. Many people supplement with acetyl-L-carnitine, because of its potential benefits.
You can use ALCAR to enhance your mitochondrial function cognition, workouts, and more. ALCAR helps your mitochondria (the powerhouses of your cells) burn fat and create more energy — especially for your muscles and brain.
Acetyl-L-carnitine has two main benefits:
Here’s a closer look at how ALCAR works.
When you take ALCAR, it turns into carnitine in your body, and if your insulin levels are low — for example, from eating a keto diet (like the Bulletproof Diet), doing intermittent fasting, working out intensely, or being in a calorie deficit — carnitine becomes very important for burning fat.
When your insulin is low, your mitochondria start turning to fat for fuel. They grab onto stored body fat (or fat you eat), break it down into fatty acids, and send the fatty acids to your mitochondria. Your mitochondria turn those fatty acids into ATP (energy) that powers your cells.
But fatty acids can’t get into your mitochondria alone. They use something called a carnitine shuttle. Basically, carnitine latches onto fatty acids and carries them into your mitochondria. It gives your mitochondria the raw materials to produce lots of energy and function at their best.
In other words, you need carnitine to metabolize fat. If you’re low on carnitine, fat can’t get into your mitochondria, and you struggle to use it for fuel. But with abundant carnitine, your fat metabolism works like a well-oiled machine. That’s where ALCAR supplements come in, and why they’re so popular with bodybuilders.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a supplement form of L-carnitine that can pass your blood-brain barrier, giving it access to the dense collection of mitochondria in your brain, as well as to the mitochondria in the rest of your body. That explains why ALCAR is becoming so popular as a nootropic supplement (something that makes your brain work better).
Here’s what the research has to say about using ALCAR to make your brain work better:
It’s worth mentioning that, although a few of these studies are in healthy young adults, a lot of acetyl-L-carnitine research is in older people. It’s clear that ALCAR is great for anti-aging, but what if you’re young and thriving, and want an extra edge?
As is the case with many nootropics, ALCAR is popular in the brain-hacking world thanks to lots of individual reports about how much it helps cognition.This is one of those supplements that’s worth trying on your own, to see if you notice any benefit.
What about ALCAR for improving your workouts?
Summing up: ALCAR can help you work harder in the gym and recover faster. And if you’re older, acetyl-L-carnitine is especially useful for maintaining your energy levels and shedding body fat.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a valuable addition to your daily supplement routine, especially if you’re an athlete or you’re looking for anti-aging benefits. As with most supplements, timing matters. Here’s what you need to know.
Most of the studies you just read about used between 1-3 grams of L-carnitine, taken every day. One gram a day seems to be a good place to start. From there, you can increase or decrease the dose as you see fit. Here are sample plans for taking ALCAR:
2g/day; half first thing in the morning, half in the afternoon
2-3g day; half 90 minutes before exercise (to increase your muscle endurance), half after exercise (to speed up recovery)
While ALCAR is generally considered safe for most people, you could experience some side effects, including upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, and restlessness.
Have you had success with ALCAR? Is it part of your go-to nootropic stack? Do you find it doesn’t work? Any benefits this article doesn’t mention? Leave your thoughts in the comments. And if you liked this article, be sure you subscribe below. You’ll get valuable tips about biohacking and becoming superhuman, delivered right to your inbox. Thanks for reading.