Acetyl L-Carnitine (R)-3-Acetyloxy-4-trimethylammonio-butanoate, and commonly abbreviated as ALCAR is an acetylated form of the compound L-Carnitine. Unlike Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once it reaches the brain, it is converted into Acetyl-COA, which binds with choline already present to become acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter closely tied to many important cognitive functions, such as the formation of memory, reasoning skills, processing of perceptual data and the ability of neural structures to grow. Acetyl L-Carnitine is more bio-available than non-acetylated forms of Carnitine, which cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Acetyl L-Carnitine benefits enhanced memory, mental alertness and easier access to thoughts. It also has strong anti-oxidant properties.
It is important in many different bodily functions including energy metabolism as it boost neuroplasticity. As a modified version of Carnitine, it is much more active, has higher bioavailability, and even metabolizes differently. Unlike L-Carnitine, ALCAR is considered to be a Nootropic supplement which means it is able to positively affect brain function and intellect. Many people who use ALCAR as a brain booster say that it can improve the clarity of their thoughts and make basic mental tasks seem much easier.
After being ingested, whether in powder or capsules form, ALCAR is absorbed through the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. Unlike many other supplements it is actually capable of crossing over the blood-brain barrier and entering into the central nervous system. From here it goes to work by acting as a precursor to the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. This is a powerful brain chemical noted for its ability to influence a number of cognitive processes like memory formation, learning capacity, recall, attention, focus, and concentration.
ALCAR is first converted into one of its amino acid components, L-Carnitine. From here, the acetyl components break off and bind with Coenzyme A to create Acetyl-COA. This substance then combines with free floating Choline and is catabolized by another enzymatic process to be converted into Acetylcholine. This also means that taking the supplement together with Choline can improve its effects.
It also is believed to work as a potent anti-oxidant and neuro-protector. ALCAR functions by helping to reduce elements of oxidative stress. It is also believed to help calm the brain down, preventing excitotoxicity and even cell death in the presence of toxins.
There are two different categories of benefits offered by ALCAR. These include Nootropic benefits and neuro-protective benefits. Since this supplement helps to increase the amount of Acetylcholine within the brain the associated benefits usually related back to this fact. This will normally lead to an increased memory and enhanced learning capacity. Some users will also experience an improved speed of memory recall and even lengthened attention span and attention switching abilities. Higher concentration, focus, and mental clarity are additional benefits. Interestingly, some users even experience enhanced sensory perceptions, although this can be different for each user.
As a neuro-protectant, this supplement can help to keep the brain healthy. This includes reducing nerve pain and possibly even promoting heart health. It is also considered to be a powerful anti-oxidant. This means that it will actually carry poisons and toxins out of the brain including free radicals which it helps to scavenge. Neurons will also see improved efficiency in terms of their communication with each other.