Although they share the same name, Acetyl-L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine, are two different supplements. They are similar in structure, yet display key differences. They differ in terms of their mechanism of action, as well as their specific benefits.
L-Carnitine is common within the athletic community, whereas Acetyl-L-Carnitine is more commonly used in the academic community. This is due to its effects on cognition. When choosing between the two, it’s important to know how they differ.
What Is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a nutrient that aids various internal systems. When focusing on your cells, this nutrient transports fatty acids from the foods we consume, to the mitochondria of our cells. The results is fatty acids being converted into ATP. This boosts energy levels, producing increased energy throughout the entire body.
It is also an amino acid, which helps to build protein. Supplementing with L-Carnitine is recommended for anyone that suffers from a genetic disorder, in which yields low L-Carnitine levels. This is most commonly the case, due to medical procedures and various drugs. It is also used as a supplement to target underweight infants, vegetarians, and people who are dieting.
As mentioned, this supplement is popular amongst the athletic and body building community. This is due to its ability to burn fat, while increasing energy levels and endurance. Within the medical community, this supplement is given to individuals who suffer from chest pain, high cholesterol, heart attacks, muscle disorders, diabetes, and more.
What Is Acetyl-L-Carnitine?
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, also known as ALCAR, is used to enhance energy output, support brain health, and increase one’s life extension. There are also some overlapping benefits that are shared with L-Carnitine, such as the ability to lose weight and enhance training efforts.
Due to ALCAR’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, it is able to enhance brain functioning. Since ALCAR increases energy levels in brain cells, it can improve almost all cognitive processes. Some of the key benefits include an increase in mental clarity and focus, as well as an increase in energy levels.
Many individuals take nootropics to boost their memory capacity and recall. ALCAR does this, by contributing to the synthesis of acetylcholine. Since this neurotransmitter is linked to memory retrieval and coding, it has been shown to improve memory and memory skills.
In terms of brain health, this supplement helps eliminate toxins. Lipofusin are aging spots, which are harmful to the brain. ALCAR can help remove these, as well as damaged fats. When these toxins are flushed out of your brain, you decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Not only does it eliminate toxins, but it helps protect the brain when there’s a lack of oxygen. This is one of the key reasons that stroke victims are given ALCAR.
If you are currently suffering from a neurological disorder, ALCAR is highly recommended. This is especially true within the senior population. When you improve cognitive functioning, you can slow down the progression of certain cognitive diseases, or prevent a stroke.
What’s the Key Difference Between These Two Supplements?
Both ALCAR and L-carnitine are the same amino acid, they’re just in different forms. In terms of their mechanism of action, they work differently within the body. As mentioned, L-carnitine is more common amongst athletes or bodybuilders. This is due to its energy conversion effects. Fatty acids are used in order to make energy.
When focusing on ALCAR, it is the processed version of L-carnitine, except it can effectively cross the blood-brain barrier. This is due to the added acetyl group. It is also better for overall brain health and cognitive functioning, due to its effects on acetylcholine synthesis.
You can purchase many forms of carnitine, which provide support for various systems. Benefits are experienced within the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and muscles. ALCAR is considered the superior form because of its bioavailability.
What Other Supplement Is Closely Related?
The supplement known as Propionyl L-carnitine, is better known as PLCAR. It is closely related to ALCAR, due to its effects and bioavailability. In comparison to L-carnitine, PLCAR has an additional glycine, which is believed to be a precursor to creatine. It is more effective than L-carnitine, but not ALCAR when focusing on its cognitive effects.
PLCAR has moderate cognitive effects, but falls short when compared to ALCAR. This is due to the acetyl component that aids in acetylcholine production after a user takes ALCAR supplements. With that being said, these two supplements can be taken in a stack to provide enhanced benefits overall.
Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
While focusing on beneficial stacks and ALCAR, Alpha Lipoic Acid is a great option. One is an amino acid, while the other is a fatty acid. Together, they provide strong antioxidant effects. If interested, this stack can provide you with numerous benefits.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant, removing free radicals. Since free radicals in the brain are associated with degenerative disorders, it can be taken as a preventative measure. It can also repair veins, renew skin, and detoxify cells and tissues. Like ALCAR, Alpha Lipoic Acid aids in energy production as well.
Since both of these supplements offer benefits on their own, when taken in a stack, those effects can be enhanced. There are no significant risks or side-effects when stacking these two supplements either. In very rare cases, users have experienced short-live skin rashes or nausea from Alpha Lipoic Acid, but these effects are not amplified when taken with ALCAR.