What is the Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration? – ALCAR

Do you often have trouble with brain fog? Do you often feel like you need more focus? You’re not alone. I’ve often wanted to know; what is the best supplement for energy and concentration?

Well, today I’m happy to tell you that I think there might be an answer; Acetyl L-Carnitine, or ALCAR.

ALCAR is best known for increasing energy levels, acting as an antioxidant, improving brain function, and slowing down the aging process.

In a nutshell, it accomplishes all of these things by facilitating the metabolism of fats, absorbing free radicals, and supporting the health of our mitochondria.

It has some other mechanisms of action, which we’ll get into later, but these main benefits make ALCAR great for improving mental clarity, focus, motivation, mood, and learning ability.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Body Builder Power Lifting Weights

ALCAR really is a ‘powerhouse nootropic’.

So without further ado, let’s find out more…

L-Carnitine vs Acetyl L-Carnitine – What’s the Difference?

The first thing I want you to understand is the difference between L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine.

L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally present in the body.  The liver can synthesize it from other compounds, or we can get it from the foods we eat.

Good sources include red meat, dairy products, spinach, broccoli, and yeast.

Amino acids are usually used as building blocks for proteins in the body, but L-Carnitine is not.  Instead, it’s used to burn fats as energy.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Burger and Fries in Front of Fat Tummy

Then there’s ALCAR, which is basically L-Carnitine with an acetyl group added to it.

So why does that matter?  How much of a difference does that make?

Quite a lot, actually.

The extra acetyl group in ALCAR allows it to easily pass through the blood-brain barrier.  L-Carnitine is almost useless as a nootropic, because it can’t reach the brain.

As a result, it’s common to see L-Carnitine used in supplements to benefit our physical health, but ALCAR is the standard for cognitive enhancement.

However, ALCAR can still provide all the same advantages to our bodily health that L-Carnitine can, so it’s a lot more versatile.

That’s why this post is more focused on ALCAR as a supplement, as opposed to L-Carnitine.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Fork in Road with 2 Right Choices

Makes sense?

OK.  Good.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, what is ALCAR typically used for?

Acetyl L-Carnitine Benefits – for Overall Health

There are a number of health benefits that ALCAR has to offer.

It’s essentially a micronutrient that supports cellular respiration by providing fats to the mitochondria in our cells.

Just in case you don’t know what mitochondria are, they’re basically tiny organelles that live symbiotically inside our regular cells.

They help our regular cells process energy and dispose of metabolic waste.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Power Plant Producing Energy

As a result, ALCAR is best known for it’s ability to increase our energy levels, both physically and mentally.

But that’s not all it does.

This is a list of some of it’s other advantages:

  • Acts as an Antioxidant
  • Improves Cardiovascular Health
  • Alleviates Chronic Fatigue
  • Anti-Aging
  • Helps with Nerve Pain
  • HIV Treatment
  • Relieves Impotence in Men
  • Accelerates Weight Loss

Studies have shown that ALCAR is a very potent antioxidant, with the ability to absorb free radicals, and reduce inflammation.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Inflamed Wrist Joint

This prevents damage to all the tissues in the body and the brain.

ALCAR can help with atherosclerosis by regulating the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood, and improves brain function by protecting brain cells from oxidative damage.

It also accelerates the metabolism of mitochondria, relieving chronic fatigue, slowing down cellular aging, reducing nerve pain, and improving HIV symptoms.

What’s at play here is a kind of a ‘Trickle Down Effect’.

When mitochondria are operating at full capacity, energy levels are increased, and pretty much every cell in the body becomes healthier, including nerve tissue.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Healthy Network of Nerves

Essentially, this counteracts the effects of neuropathy(nerve pain) often seen in diabetics and people undergoing chemotherapy.  It also helps with HIV and impotence in men.

Acetyl L-Carnitine for Weight Loss – Honorable Mention

Even though the main focus of this article is on ALCAR as a nootropic, I thought I should make a quick mention of how it can help you shave off some pounds.

ALCAR acts as a cofactor for fat metabolism, especially if your insulin level is low because of a keto diet, or you’re in the middle of a serious workout.

This is when ALCAR jumps in and starts to perform ‘The Carnitine Shuttle’, carrying long chain fatty acids directly to your mitochondria for energy.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Traffic Near Power Plant

ALCAR is also water soluble, so it can help with glucose metabolism at the same time(although to a lesser extent).

Talk about being, ‘Johnny-on-the-Spot’!

Long story short, ALCAR has been a best kept secret among dieters and health nuts alike for a long time.

So are those all the benefits for physical well being?

Not quite.

There’s just one more footnote here we need to make first…

Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid – The Dynamic Duo!

There are some things in life that are just better together.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Donuts and Coffee

Coffee and donuts.

Hamburgers and French fries.

Apple pie and ice cream.

You get the idea.

(Hungry yet?!  LOL)

When ALCAR is taken with Alpha-Lipoic Acid, a similar magical chemistry happens.

What is Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

I’m glad you asked.

It’s a fatty acid that has some vitamin-like qualities, and acts as an antioxidant at the same time.  It’s commonly found in foods like liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and yeast.

Basically, while ALCAR is shuttling fats and glucose to the mitochondria for energy, ALA is absorbing free radicals to protect the mitochondria.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Hand Stopping Free Radicals

Alpha-Lipoic Acid can also rejuvenate ALCAR molecules that are saturated with free radicals.  This allows ALCAR to continue working as an antioxidant and energy cofactor.

Put it another way, Alpha-Lipoic Acid supports ALCAR, then ALCAR supports the mitochondria, and the mitochondria supports the entire body.

Pretty crazy, isn’t it?

Now it’s time to look at how ALCAR can support brain health and function.

Acetyl L-Carnitine for the Brain

I’ve already mentioned how ALCAR provides neuroprotection by acting as an antioxidant, and how it increases energy levels by supporting mitochondria.

But hold on!  We’re not done yet!

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Man Inspecting Further with Magnifying Glass

There are 5 main mechanisms ALCAR uses to boost brain power:

  • Acts as an Antioxidant
  • Increases Mental Energy
  • Helps Create Neurotransmitters
  • Encourages Neurogeneration
  • Acts as a Vasodilator

After Acetyl L-Carnitine crosses the blood-brain barrier, it’s able to donate its’ acetyl group in order to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine is the first neurotransmitter ever discovered, and it has tons of benefits for cognitive function.

Supplementing with it, or with precursors like ALCAR, has been shown to improve memory, focus, and overall executive function.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Rejuvenated Brain

The main point I want to make is this: when ALCAR is taken with any other supplement that provides choline, the acetyl group from ALCAR and the choline combine to form acetylcholine.

And voila!  Your brain is like a fighter jet rocketing through the sound barrier!


Sorry, I got excited…  I might ‘Geek Out’ on you from time to time…

Ahem.  Moving on.

ALCAR also stimulates increased production of BDNF, or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.

BDNF is a protein that encourages accelerated nerve cell growth, including brain cells.(which is another reason ALCAR helps with neuropathy and HIV)

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Healthy Brain Cell

It also promotes the development of neurites, or connections between brain cells so they can communicate more effectively.

Last but certainly not least, ALCAR acts as a vasodilator, opening up blood vessels to allow more blood to reach brain cells and other tissues.

This of course leads to more nutrients and oxygen getting to all of the neurons in the brain.

It also helps with flushing out toxins and metabolic waste.

When all of these effects are happening at the same time, the synergy created optimizes cognitive function and brain health.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Man with Energy Swirling around his Head

The overall benefits are as follows:

  • Increased Mental Energy
  • Improved Memory
  • Enhanced Focus
  • Elevated Mood
  • Better Neuroplasticity

These are the basic advantages, but let’s take a look at some of the practical implications for our well being…

Acetyl L-Carnitine for Dementia

In one double blind study, 56 dementia patients were given 500 mg of ALCAR daily for 28 weeks.  The test subjects showed significant improvements in attention and language ability.

Keep in mind that the recommended dosage for ALCAR supplementation is anywhere from 500 mg to 4,000 mg/day, depending on the condition being treated.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Different Dosages of same Supplement

The 500 mg/day dosage used for this study was very conservative, and still yielded statistically significant results.  It’s a good start.

However, more research is needed to really understand just how effective ALCAR can be in treating dementia.

Acetyl L-Carnitine for Depression

Numerous studies have revealed that low blood serum levels of ALCAR are directly linked to lifelong issues with depression.

This means that ALCAR can now be used as a biomarker for the risk or onset of clinical depression; increasing patient confidence in their diagnosis and treatment.

It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but other indicators, like vitamin D deficiency, can also play a role.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Different Lab Samples on Table

In any case, one recent study involving 791 participants found that ALCAR supplementation provided antidepressant effects comparable to those of prescription medications.

Another study conducted on rats and mice found that ALCAR was just as effective as a prescription antidepressant in improving stress test results.

The prevailing theory right now is that when people get stressed out, their brain produces too much glutamate in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that stimulates neurons, and when it’s overactive, it can cause brain cells to die off prematurely.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Man Struggling with Brain Toxicity

The hippocampus is the emotional center of our brains, and the prefrontal cortex is in charge of our higher functions.

So when glutamate floods the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, people start to shut down, mentally and emotionally.

Their brain cells are vibrating like a harp string, and suffocating on their own toxins.

ALCAR reverses these effects by acting as a vasodilator, facilitating energy metabolism, and encouraging BDNF production.

It essentially speeds up cellular respiration and encourages the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex to heal.

The nice thing about ALCAR vs prescription meds is that it stays effective with long term use; it’s naturally present in the body, so people don’t develop a tolerance to it.

ALCAR also has less side effects.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Health Analysis Profile

In any case, a lot of people have found that ALCAR helps them with depression, but more research still needs to be done.

Now that we know ALCAR is good for depression, let’s take a look at what it can do for ADHD…

Acetyl L-Carnitine for ADHD

The research on ALCAR for ADHD is inconsistent.

There are basically 3 types of ADHD:

  • Hyperactive
  • Combined
  • Inattentive

The most recent study on ALCAR for ADHD showed that it didn’t help people with either the hyperactive or combined type, but did provide improvements in attention for those with the inattentive type(ADD).

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Woman Concentrating

There are also some neuro-hackers that have shared their experience with ALCAR, and they claim that it helps them with their cognitive function.

This anecdotal evidence is not very strong, and more research really needs to be done for us to better understand how effective ALCAR is for ADHD.

Acetyl L-Carnitine Dosage – Recommended Usage

There are supplements on the market that just provide L-Carnitine, but they can’t cross the blood-brain barrier.

This makes them a poor choice as a nootropic because they have a minimal effect on brain function.

I recommend using Acetyl L-Carnitine, otherwise known as ALCAR.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Mortar and Pestle with Powder Tablets

You could also use some other form of L-Carnitine that can cross the blood-brain barrier.  However, I like the fact that ALCAR can donate its’ acetyl group to facilitate acetylcholine synthesis.

ALCAR is available as a powder, tablet, or in capsules.

The recommended dosage can vary slightly depending on the condition you are trying to improve:

  • Memory Loss – 1.5-2 g/day
  • Chronic Fatigue – 4 g/day
  • Cognitive Enhancement – 2 g/day
  • Neuropathy – 1.5-3 g/day
  • Depression – 1-4 g/day

Most people see good results when they take around 2 grams/day, except those dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome.

They need to take 2 grams/day twice daily.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Man with Chronic Fatigue

So now that we know how to use ALCAR for best results, is it safe?

Acetyl L-Carnitine Side Effects – What are the Risks?

ALCAR is naturally occurring in our body, and is very safe to use.

Side effects are rare, but may include:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • “Fishy Odor” in Urine

If you are pregnant or expecting, it’s better to avoid using ALCAR, just to be cautious.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Pregnant Lady Holding Baby Outfit

ALCAR can increase the effectiveness of medications that prevent blood clotting, so if you happen to be taking this type of medication, consult with your doctor to adjust your dosage.

So those are all the ‘Doom and Gloom’ warnings I have for you.

I thing it’s about time we wrap things up!

Acetyl L-Carnitine – Final Word

So what have we learned so far?

Let’s recap.

ALCAR gives us more energy by shuttling fats to the mitochondria, and provides neuroprotection by acting as an antioxidant.

It also boosts brain power by increasing neurotransmitter levels, brain cell respiration, and encouraging neurogenesis.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Woman with Optimized Brain Function

Supplementing with ALCAR improves mental energy, attention, memory, motivation, executive functions, and mood.

It’s been used to help with memory loss, depression, ADD, and a host of bodily ailments as well.  It’s also very useful for weight loss.

ALCAR is more effective when taken together with Alpha-Lipoic Acid, which recharges ALCAR molecules, allowing them to continue working longer.

ALCAR has been found to be very safe, and to maintain its’ effectiveness with long term usage because it’s naturally present in the body.

This makes ALCAR a very good compliment, or even a viable alternative to prescription medications for certain conditions.

Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration - Street Signs Indicating 2 Viable Options

So have I convinced you that ALCAR is the best supplement for energy and concentration yet?

It definitely has a lot of benefits to offer, at the very least.

Well, I hope you enjoyed giving this article a read.  I loved putting it together for you.


In my next article, I’ll be looking at Alpha-Lipoic Acid as a nootropic.  If you liked this article, you don’t want to miss the next one!

If ALCAR were a superhero, ALA would be its’ faithful sidekick!

Stay tuned!



P.S. – Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

And feel free to sign up for the ‘Noots Newsletter’ for updates!


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18 thoughts on “What is the Best Supplement for Energy and Concentration? – ALCAR”

  1. Hello Michael,

    Thank you so much for this article!  I found it very informative!

    I have already heard of ALCAR, but I’ve never tried it.  I didn’t really know about all the positive effects – and they are impressive.

    I’m going to continue looking around online for a supplement for energy and focus, but I have bookmarking your article for future reference!

    Please keep up the good work!


    • Hi Rosalia,

      Thanks for checking out my article and leaving a comment.  Really appreciate your interest.

      If you want to know more about supplements for energy and focus, you should check out my articles on PQQ and CoQ10.

      They also have very similar effects to ALCAR and ALA.

      If you have any questions later, just leave another comment.


  2. Hey Michael,

    Excellent article on ALCAR for energy and concentration. You covered every angle, and made it very easy to read.

    I enjoyed this post a lot. Thanks for putting it together.

    (Every time I think about nootropics, I think of Bradley Cooper. LOL!)

    Well done!


    • Hey Steven,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I always think of the movie ‘Limitless’ too.

      It really got people thinking about what’s possible with nootropics. The world of nootropics has been growing ever since.

      If you think of any questions later, just give me a holler!


  3. Hey Michael,

    I used L-Carnitine for years as a workout supplement, but this was purely for the physical benefits.

    I hadn’t heard of ALCAR until very recently, but the benefits seem hard to ignore. Do you have any suggested ALCAR supplements that you could point me towards?

    Appreciate the post, Michael.



    • Hi Gareth,

      Thanks for reading my article. Really appreciate your interest!

      Yes. If you click on this link, it will take you to the site for DoubleWood. They sell all kinds of solo nootropics online.

      If you go to the ‘supplements’ tab at the top of the home page and hover over it, acetyl l-carnitine is literally the first item to show on the drop down list.

      I like using DoubleWood for custom stacking. They have a wide range of products to choose from, they’re good quality, and reasonably priced.

      As always, if you think of any questions later, just give me a holler!


  4. Hi Michael,

    I’m really impressed with the benefits ALCAR has to offer, especially for dementia. That study you mentioned had some truly remarkable results.

    The reason I was interested in this article is because there are times when I really need an energy boost. Especially in the afternoon.

    ALCAR seems like an ideal solution, and I’d like to give it a try. Is there anywhere I can get a decent ALCAR supplement?

    Thank you for mentioning the potential side effects as well, even if they are relatively mild.

    Keep up the great work!


    • Hi Olga,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and leaving a comment!

      I just replied to Gareth, who had the same question as you.

      If you would like to give ALCAR a try, I recommend DoubleWood supplements for individual nootropics and custom stacking.

      Just click on the link above, and go to the ‘supplements’ tab at the top of the home page.

      Acetyl L-Carnitine is the first item on the drop down menu. Just run through the prompts, and you can place your order online.

      Please let me know how it goes for you, and post another comment.

      Good luck!


  5. Hi Michael,

    I like the fact that you occasionally get ‘off track’ in your story 🙂 You have a very entertaining way of presenting this information.

    I always get a bit dizzy when I see too many medical terms that I can hardly pronounce. But don’t worry, I got a lot out of this article.

    You covered all the essential points on ALCAR, and how to use this supplement for best results.

    Thanks for putting this together! It was a fun read!


    • Hi Hannie,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed my article, and got some value out of it.

      By all means, if you have friends that you think could benefit from this post, use the social share buttons on my site to send it to them.

      Sharing is caring!


  6. Hi Michael,

    Great info and lots of important facts in this article on ALCAR!

    I’ve learned so much, and I actually want to get some of this product today. Where can I buy it? Is there a supplement you can recommend?


    • Hi Alyse,

      Glad you liked my post. Really appreciate your interest!

      You are the 3rd person today to ask where to get a good ALCAR supplement! LOL!

      I just told Gareth and Olga they can check out DoubleWood. If you just click on this link, it will take you to their home page.

      Go to the ‘supplements’ tab at the top, and when you hover over it, a drop down menu will show. Acetyl L-Carnitine is literally the first item on the list.

      Just select it, run through the usual prompts, and you can place your order.

      I always recommend DoubleWood for solo nootropics and custom stacking. They have lots of good quality products on offer, and their prices are reasonable.

      If you think of any other questions later, just give me holler!

      And please let me know what you think once you give ALCAR a try. I’d love to hear your feedback!


  7. Hi Michael,

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever come across for ALCAR and ALA.

    I’m familiar with ALA because I’ve been taking it for the last 3 months for infertility issues. This article really helped me understand how ALA and ALCAR are related.

    You are saying that taking ALCAR and ALA together is better than taking them separately, because they support each other? Does this only apply to enhancing intelligence?

    I’ll look into it further on my own, and obviously won’t need it if my wife and I are successfully pregnant by then (fingers crossed!).

    But I’m still very intrigued by what these 2 supplements can do together for overall health and cognition. You have definitely piqued my interest!!!

    I really appreciate your detailed review. I’ve already seen some benefit from it.


    • Hello Habib!

      Thank you for writing in and sharing your insights!

      Wow! I’m so excited for you and your wife! I hope the ALA you’re taking helps you both become parents in the near future!

      The synergy between ALCAR and ALA helps ALCAR continue to work as an antioxidant, which benefits all aspects of our health, including cognition.

      How much it helps with infertility in particular, I’m not sure, but if you do some research online, I’m pretty sure you can find the answers you’re looking for.

      Thanks once again for writing in, and please leave another comment if you have good news to share!


  8. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for putting so much information together on ALCAR – this post almost reads like an encyclopedia!

    I have learnt a lot about the specific functions of Acetyl L-Carnitine, especially effects on fat and it’s antioxidant powers.

    Being someone who has an interest in natural herbal remedies, do you know whether this is available in as near its natural form as possible?

    For example, taken as a tablet but produced only from natural plants?

    Thanks for this post.

    • Hi Ola,

      Thanks for reading my post! Really appreciate your interest!

      If you prefer using natural sources of L-Carnitine, the best recommendation I can make is to eat more foods rich in this particular amino acid.

      This includes red meat, dairy, and certain vegetables.

      You can check out this link from the National Institutes of Health(NIH) for more information.

      Unfortunately, L-Carnitine in its’ raw form is very poorly absorbed by the brain.

      Acetyl L-Carnitine is L-Carnitine with an acetyl group added to it. The acetyl group is what makes it an effective nootropic.

      If you want to use ALCAR as a nootropic, it’s going to be something that gets processed in a lab, and there’s really no way around that.

      Sorry I don’t have better news for you, but if you wanted to look at a good herbal nootropic for energy, Rhodiola Rosea is a good option.

      You can check out my full review on rhodiola, and see if you think it might work for you.

      Thanks once again, and please leave another comment if you need help.


  9. Hey Michael,

    Well, if you enjoyed putting your article together, I certainly enjoyed reading it!

    To be clear, I’m always in favor of using natural sources of nutrients, as opposed to supplements.

    I’ve seen so many supplements on the shelf claiming to be good for you that I’m very skeptical as to how useful they might be for my health.

    However, there are situations when it’s not enough to eat the right foods, like with many elderly people. We sometimes lose the ability to absorb certain nutrients as we age, so supplements become necessary.

    Having read your article, I must say I have learnt from it, and it even seems that ALCAR might be one of the very rare supplements I’d consider using.


    • Hi Kerryanne,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad my article could showcase the value of ALCAR for you.

      I favor naturally sourced supplements as well.

      That’s why I’ve written as many reviews as possible on herbal nootropics first, and looked at synthetically made products later in the history of this site.

      There are lots of choices to be made as a consumer, and they’re usually based on what you feel most comfortable with, and your list of priorities.

      If you wanted to know more about herbal nootropics that are good for energy and mental focus, I recommend you look at my articles on Rhodiola Rosea, and Bacopa Monnieri.

      They both have some impressive benefits for energy and cognition, especially when taken together.

      Thanks once again, and feel free to leave another comment if you have any other questions.



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