Acetyl-L-carnitine or ALCAR, is an acetylated form of L-carnitine. It is naturally produced by the body, although it is often taken as a dietary supplement.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the body. It helps the body produce energy. Acetyl-L-carnitine is used for a variety of mental disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory loss, late-life depression, thinking problems related to alcoholism, and thinking problems related to Lyme disease. It is also used for Down syndrome, poor circulation in the brain, cataracts, nerve pain due to diabetes, nerve pain due to drugs used in the treatment of AIDS, and facial paralysis. Some men use acetyl-L-carnitine for infertility, symptoms of “male menopause” (low testosterone levels due to aging), and a disease of the penis called Peyronie’s disease.
The body can convert L-carnitine to acetyl-L-carnitine and vice versa. But, no one knows whether the effects of acetyl-L-carnitine are from the chemical itself, from the L-carnitine it can make, or from some other chemical made along the way. For now, don’t substitute one form of carnitine for another.
How does it work?
Acetyl-L-carnitine helps the body produce energy. It is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes.