ALCAR 500 - 100 caps | Serious Nutrition Solutions
Q1: What is ALCAR and how does it work?
ALCAR is L-carnitine that has undergone a reaction that has introduced an acetyl group to its structure. Unlike regular L-carnitine, ALCAR is able to pass through the blood brain barrier and act as a pre-cursor to acetyl-choline (the learning neurotransmitter). How this works is through Carnitine Acetyltransferase (CarAT). Once the acetyl group is cleaved from the carnitine salt, it is transfered to Acetyl-CoA via CarAT. From Acetyl-CoA, the acetyl group is transferred to choline via Choline Acetyltransferase (ChAT) to yield acetyl-choline.
It must be noted that Choline and ALCAR work in unison to make acetyl-choline. When we supplement with additional choline (covered in depth in another FAQ), we increase plasma levels of choline and create a 'pool'. However supplemental choline is generally taken up by cells or phosphorylated and not much of it is left for storage. However when we supplement with ALCAR, this allows for more of the acetyl group to be taken uo by choline to produce ACh and thus, they work in synergy to increase learning capacity.
Alongside its own ability to produce more ACh, ALCAR also increases the use of glucose in the brain which then allows for enhanced ACh production from glucose/ pyruvate.
The Acetylated version of carnitine is used primarily for its effects on cognition however it also has neuro-protective capabilities. It exudes this effect in 3 different ways:
1) increases cerebral blood flow
2) osidative metabolism of the acetyl group to compensate for impaired pyruvate dehydrogenase activity. Pyruvate dehydrogenase transforms pyruvate into Acetyl-CoA and so if this is not functioning optimally, then ALCAR can increase ACh through its own mechanism.
3) antagonism of glutamate excitotoxicity
Also important to note is that ALCAR does not compete with glucose or pyruvate in ACh formation, and thus able to contribute more ACh than we can produce ourselves. Furthermore, ALCAR has been shown to be a carrier molecule of Acetyl-COA into the cytoplasm from other sources of Acetyl-COA.
Much like Huperzine A, ALCAR can slow the decline in age related ACh decreases by increasing the amount of ACh available in the brain. Thus benefiting those in the older population.
Through subjective measuring on ALCAR supplementation on depression, 2g of ALCAR has been shown to decrease the severity of depressive episodes and markedly improve quality of life in those tested.
Q2: What supplements does ALCAR stack well with?
For the reasons outlined above, ALCAR stacks well with a choline source and huperzine A. With more choline available and less of the enzyme around degrading ACh, we can have a safe and effective cognitive stack utilising these 3 ingredients in synergy.
Alternatively, Focus XT contains all 3 of these, plus other cognitive ingredients for a very affordable price:
Focus XT Series | Serious Nutrition Solutions
Q3: Any known side effects?
Uses do not tend to note many side effects associated with ALCAR use, however it may increase 'wakefulness' and thus its use around bed time should be limited.
Q4: When is the optimal time to use ALCAR?
It can be taken fasted upon rising, pre-workout or pre any mentally stimulating activity. It's best used for longer duration as its effects get better with time.
TweetGood write up. I'm interested in trying it