Does Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) Work for Fat loss?

September 11th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Carnitine comes in 4 different forms but only L-carnitine and Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) should be used by bodybuilders. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) passes through the blood brain barrier better than L-carnitine, because it is acetylated. Therefore, it is the preferred form of carnitine. Carnitine is classified as an amino acid only because it is similiar in structure. In the body it is very different. Carnitine is not used as a pre cursor to making skeletal muscle in the body, like with regular amino acids. This makes it more useful, since supplementation won't lead to it being used for protein synthesis instead of fat burning. If there is a deficiency of carnitine in the body, it will be synthesized from the amino acids methionione and lysine.

Does ALCAR help burn fat?

One study was done on 20 rats published J Nutr 2000 Feb;130(2 :152-7. Both groups of rats excercised and ate similiar amount of calories. One group had carnitine, caffeine and choline and the other just had excercise. The results of the study showed no statistically significant difference between the groups. Keep in mind this study was done on rats.

Another study was done on humans, Metabolism. 2004 Aug;53(8 :1002-6. Twelve volunteers took 3grams of carnitine for 10 days on a regular diet. l-carnitine led to a dramatic increase in fat oxidation( Fat burning) while maintaining muscle (no decrease in protein catabolism). Another study was done on elderly men and they had a reduction in bodyfat, increased muscle and lower blood lip levels.

How does ALCAR work on fat loss?

ALCAR helps shuttle free fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are burned off for energy. This is important because normally it is hard for the fatty acids to enter the mitochondria. This ultimately means more fat and less carbohydrates and protein, will be burned for energy in the mitochondria.

Any other uses for ALCAR?

ALCAR also has been shown to have positive effects on mood and health in studies. Some of the results of the study showed improvement in ADHD, increasing fertilitiy, reducing recovery from excercise, reducing fatigue, curing depression, reversing hyperthyroidism, healing cirrhosis of the liver, sexual enhancement, increased cardiovascular health, removing toxins from the body, and many other conditions.

When to take ALCAR:

Many protein rich foods already contain carnitine. ALCAR is probably most effective when on a low calorie or low meat diet, where you won't be getting as much carnitine in your diet. Bodybuilders may choose to take it year around, but just like with the case of glutamine, it may not prove to be very beneficial while bulking and already getting high amounts in your diet. Carnitine has been shown in studies to help reduce recovery and fatigue after excercise, which may be another reason to take it year around.

ALCAR side effects:

Doses of ALCAR beyond 100 to 500mg per day may cause insomnia and hyperactivity.

  1. Ummers on September 12th, 2007

    So is it similar to caffine in anyway?

  2. Admin on September 12th, 2007

    No. Thanks for your question ummers.


  3. Dan on November 4th, 2008

    What is the best way of taking this, on an emplty stomach or with food???

    How many time a day??


  4. Ken on July 31st, 2009

    I take 1000mg 4 times a day w/ 750mg of CLA and have lost 8 lbs in 6 days with no change in diet or exercise program.

  5. Tim on October 4th, 2009

    i took carnitine 2tablets x2 times daily before excersise and lost 2kilos of fat in about 1 week, in the second week i lost another kg but i also put on some muscle so i may have lost alot more fat but it wouldnt show from the weight. I was noticably leaner and all the fat from round my belly disapeared! its great, makes you train like a crazy person, have loads of engery!

    some people did have problems with it keeping them awake at night, i didnt personally.

    One guy at the training camp, lost 5kg in 4 days before a fight taking 4x500mg tablets twice a day before training!

    this stuff is good! but you need to make sure you get good quality stuff, dont buy cheap rubbish! get it parmacetical grade only!!! try searcing musashi supplements on the web, thats the brand we used at the training camp in thailand and it was awesome! bit pricey though in my opinion.

  6. Viktor Isaksson on June 23rd, 2010

    “Carnitine has been shown in studies to help reduce recovery and fatigue after excercise, which may be another reason to take it year around.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you mean:
    “Carnitine has been shown in studies to help increase recovery and reduce fatigue after excercise, which may be another reason to take it year around.”

    Great article, I know it is true since I have read up on ncbi about all of the claims stated in it, but pelase, be aware of the fact that you must state your sources in order to prove that your knowledge in whatever the subject is legit and trustworthy. It gives you a greater impression of professional seriousness.

    With sincere regards from Sweden 🙂

  7. Tootsie Wong on February 9th, 2011

    Is Acetyl-L carnitine or L-carnitine better in losing weight?

  8. Kelly on February 28th, 2011

    can ladies use acetyl l’carnitine? and if so does it effect the contreceptive pill working?
    thank you!