Acetyl L Carnitine HCL (ALCAR) Benefits, Dosage

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Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that allowed you to hack into your cells and give them the fuel they need to power up every molecule of your body? While it might sound like something from a futuristic medical thriller, there is one amino acid that does just that:  acetyl l-carnitine.

Acetyl L-carnitine (also known as ALCAR) is a form of the amino acid l-carnitine. Found in nearly every one of your body’s cells, it plays an important role in cellular energy production and it has been linked to an increase of activity within the central nervous system. (x)

So, as a supplement, what does acetyl L-carnitine do? Research suggests that ALCAR can combat the effects of aging, protecting you from age-related neurological decline and chronic fatigue. It has also been shown to repair and protect neurons from certain types of damage.

Of course, you shouldn’t take any supplement blindly– it’s important to know of ALCAR’s risks and benefits before adding the supplement to your nutrition routine.

Acetyl L-Carnitine Benefits

Age-Related Cognitive Decline

One of the best-known acetyl L-carnitine benefits is its ability to support cognitive health.

Several clinical trials have demonstrated ALCAR’s ability to improve cognitive function in persons of advanced age. These trials examined the effects of supplementation for 45 days and then again at 90 days and found that the longer patients took ALCAR, the more significant the improvement in memory as well as other cognitive health factors, like the participant’s response to stress. (x) There is also research to suggest that acetyl L-carnitine may improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. (x)

Weight Loss and Athletic Performance

If your fitness regime focuses on weight loss, you want the absolute best results for your efforts. ALCAR can help you get there.

Acetyl L-carnitine has been shown to effectively boost athletic endurance in young, healthy people, as well as maintain and build muscle mass. (x) Supplementing with acetyl l-carnitine powder  has also been shown to enhance physical performance, even under caloric restriction, making it ideal for inclusion in both weight loss and body building programs. (x)

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes is a serious disease that is often accompanied by debilitating symptoms like diabetic neuropathy– nerve damage that occurs in diabetic individuals as a result of increased glucose and triglyceride levels. This painful condition can affect any part of the body – including internal organs. (x)

Acetyl L-carnitine has shown to be effective in lessening the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic patients who have used ALCAR supplements have reported experiencing a reduction in pain, with improved vibration perception and even nerve fiber regeneration. (x)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex health condition that the Mayo Clinic describes as extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest, but that can’t be explained by a known underlying health condition. (x) Chronic fatigue syndrome can manifest itself in more ways than just exhaustion. For instance, it’s not uncommon for those that suffer from CFS to also experience depression, anxiety and social isolation.

Because the causes of chronic fatigue are not completely understood, those who suffer from the condition often feel powerless in gaining any type of relief from their symptoms.  But dietary changes including supplements that support and protect the body from the effects of CFS, may be able to help; ALCAR is one of those supplements.

Scientific studies and clinical trials that have looked at the use of acetyl L-carnitine supplementation for CFS have found that it contributed to statistical improvement in CFS symptoms.. (x)


Chronic inflammation is often a precursor to more serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and cancer (x).

ALCAR, however, acts as a strong anti-inflammatory agent when taken  in its supplemental form. Studies have shown it helps to reduce inflammation markers in people with coronary artery disease, and could potentially alleviate symptoms of other inflammatory conditions. (x)

Benefits of Acetyl L Carnitine

L-Carnitine vs Acetyl L-Carnitine

Although they are two different forms of the same amino acid, there is a difference between l-carnitine and acetyl l- carnitine. Commonly found in supplements,  Acetyl L- carnitine is the processed form of l–carnitine.  Both forms of the amino acid improve mitochondrial function, rejuvenate and renew your cells, and increase your level of energy. However, research suggests the body absorbs acetyl l-carnitine more effectively than l-carnitine.

Another form of ALCAR, acetyl l-carnitine HCL, contains hydrochloric acid (HCL) which helps it to dissolve in liquids. The HCL has no effect on the supplement’s benefits.

Acetyl L-Carnitine Foods

Acetyl L-carnitine has a higher rate of absorbency in the digestive system. Its molecular form allows it to easily process through the blood brain barrier. Due to its enhanced absorbency, ALCAR supplements are often preferred.   x) 

Acetyl l-carnitine is the supplement form of carnitine. ALCAR is not found in food; however, sources of l-carnitine include meat, fish, poultry and milk. In general, the redder the meat, the higher the concentration of L-carnitine. (x) The question is, should you take acetyl L-carnitine supplements or turn to food for sources of carnitine?

Acetyl L-Carnitine Side Effects and Dosage

Prescription forms of carnitine are regulated by the FDA, but ALCAR is not. Currently, there are no strict guidelines for dosage. When used in research, the typical ALCAR dosage is 600 mg three times a day. (x)

Side Effects

Acetyl L-carnitine supplements are generally well tolerated, however, minor side effects may include nausea, vomiting, increased appetite, agitation and skin rash. (x)

Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, a thyroid disorder, or a peripheral vascular disease, should consult a doctor before taking acetyl L-carnitine supplements.

At this time, there are no known interactions with acetyl L-carnitine and other supplements or medications. (x)

The Bottom Line

Based on a number of studies and anecdotal reports,  ALCAR eases the symptoms of several health conditions, can improve mental and physical performance, support muscle mass and increase your energy level. 

**The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases- instead, they help maintain your long-term health.

About the author

Casey Eade

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