Biogen Acetyl L-Carnitine Cover

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR or ALC) is a trending topic across social media platforms as more people buy this ‘super supplement’ to help them lose weight, increase energy, and get a mental boost.

Functional health experts, supplement manufacturers and health and fitness influencers are promoting this supplement for its potential to help transport more fat into muscle cells to produce more energy, which burns more fat in the process.

In addition to the energy-producing and fat-burning benefits, ALCAR is also promoted as a nootropic supplement and a powerful antioxidant with a range of purported cognitive and health benefits.

Here are 5 reasons why Acetyl-L-Carnitine is trending as a super supplement:

ALCAR is a form of L-Carnitine, an amino acid that transports fatty acids into muscle cells where they are metabolised for energy within structures called mitochondria – the so-called metabolic powerhouses of our cells.

The benefits of an ALCAR supplement over an L-carnitine product relates to its bioavailability. ALCAR is more easily absorbed from the gut, more readily crosses the blood-brain barrier1, and performs a broader range of activities in the body. As such, ALCAR is considered a more potent alternative to L-Carnitine.

Providing our bodies with additional bioavailable L-Carnitine from an ALCAR supplement can raise stores in the body, which may help convert stored and ingested fat into energy more effectively and efficiently. With more L-Carnitine available, we can generate more energy during exercise or sport. 

And it appears that active individuals get more of a benefit than those who live a sedentary lifestyle. A small-scale study2 confirmed that: “Acute L-Carnitine supplementation possibly affects exercise performance and triglycerides in athletes rather than sedentary men.”

When we increase our energy efficiency, we also have the potential to support fat loss to enhance your body composition. 

While more research is needed to affirm the various touted benefits, clinical evidence already exists that supports certain claims. 

For instance, a review3 of L-Carnitine conducted at Tufts University highlighted a range beneficial effects, with researchers stating: “Studies in older adults … showed that L-Carnitine intake can lead to increased muscle mass accompanied by a decrease in body weight and reduced physical and mental fatigue.” 

Through its beneficial action on the mitochondria in a range cells, including brain cells, various sources suggest that ALCAR can help to slow cognitive decline while increasing brain function by helping to improve memory, mood and alertness. 

For instance, a meta-analysis4 that reviewed the efficacy of ALCAR in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild early Alzheimer’s disease found that supplementing with 1.5–3g/day for at least three months resulted in beneficial effects on applied clinical scales and psychometric tests. 

However, a scientific update5 published in 2017 that reviewed ALCAR in dementia and other cognitive disorders, determined that we need further studies “with homogeneous sample and longitudinal assessment” before recommending systematic clinical applications.

From a broader wellness perspective, claims suggest that ALCAR can impact inflammation through its antioxidant action, which could potentially deliver various benefits to cardiovascular and brain health and recovery from exercise. 

Part of its antioxidant function is linked to ALCAR’s ability to up-regulate levels of glutathione6, which is your body’s master antioxidant.

In one study7 conducted on rats in 2020, ALCAR “reduced the expressions of inflammation factors … in serum, aortic, and heart tissues.” The study authors concluded that “ALCAR can inhibit the expressions of inflammatory factors and antioxidation to suppress the development of atherosclerosis by adjusting blood lipid in the myocardium of AS (atherosclerosis) rats.”

With such a broad range of benefits, a well-formulated, high quality supplement like Biogen Acetyl L-Carnitine may offer a smart way to improve fat loss, energy production and derive certain cognitive benefits.

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  1. Chapter Two – Metabolomics and Lipidomics of Ischemic Stroke. Advances in Clinical Chemistry, Volume 85, 2018, Pages 31-69
  2. Effects of L-Carnitine Supplementation on Metabolic Utilization of Oxygen and Lipid Profile among Trained and Untrained Humans. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine: Vol.8, issue 1; e38707. Published Online: December 27, 2016
  3. L-Carnitine Supplementation in Recovery after Exercise. Nutrients. 2018 Mar; 10(3): 349. Published online 2018 Mar 13. doi: 10.3390/nu10030349
  4. Meta-analysis of double blind randomized controlled clinical trials of acetyl-L-carnitine versus placebo in the treatment of mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer??s disease. International Clinical Psychopharmacology. April 2003, 18(2):61-71. doi:10.1097/01.yic.0000058280.28578.79
  5. Acetyl-L-Carnitine in Dementia and Other Cognitive Disorders: A Critical Update. Nutrients. 2020 May; 12(5): 1389. Published online 2020 May 12. doi: 10.3390/nu12051389
  6. Acetyl-L-carnitine-induced up-regulation of heat shock proteins protects cortical neurons against amyloid-beta peptide 1-42-mediated oxidative stress and neurotoxicity: implications for Alzheimer’s disease. J Neuroci Res. 2006 Aug 1;84(2):398-408. doi: 10.1002/jnr.20877. 
  7. Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine on Atherosclerotic Rats. Med Sci Monit. 2020; 26: e920250-1–e920250-11. Published online 2020 Jan 16. doi: 10.12659/MSM.920250