ALCAR, an abbreviation for acetyl L-carnitine, is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that produces energy. This amino acid may also be administered to help treat a variety of ailments, many of them brain-related conditions. For instance, Alzheimer’s patients may be prescribed this medication to improve their ability to remember. Similar results are seen when those with alcohol or age-related memory problems are given this medication.
Acetyl L-carnitine can also treat age-related low testosterone, or male menopause, alleviating the depression, fatigue, and sexual dysfunction associated with this condition. Furthermore, it is used for diabetic neuropathy to relieve pain, stroke to improve cognition, Peyronie’s disease to reduce pain and slow disease progression better than tamoxifen, and male infertility (caused by inflammation) to improve sperm count and motility.
Acetyl L-carnitine may also be used for the following conditions, although, according to research, there is less conclusive evidence for its effectiveness. These conditions include: Down’s syndrome, age-related depression, cognition problems related to Lyme Disease and muscle weakness from HIV medication.
Various oral dosage levels of acetyl L-carnitine have been studied in research. For Alzheimer’s patients, the 1500-4000 mg per day taken 2-3 times per day was given. When used to treat depression in older patients, 1500-3000 mg was administered. For male infertility, 2 grams of L-carnitine and 1 gram of acetyl L-carnitine were given. Patients should take ALCAR with water to ensure proper absorption. Generally it is also good to take medications after eating some food.
Like other medications, care should be taken when using acetyl L-carnitine. Side effects of taking this medication, or supplement (as it can be purchased over the counter), is stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. Those with a history of seizures should avoid the medication as it may increase their frequency. Those with an underactive thyroid should avoid it as well. Additionally, the blood thinning agents warfarin (coumadin) and acenocoumarol (sintrom) should be not used with acetyl L-carnitine as it can reduce blood clotting even more.
Acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR) are only unofficial synonyms for this medication/supplement. However, the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) name is 3-Acetyloxy-4-trimethylammonio-butanoate.