Acetyl-L-Carnitine May Help Sharpen Your Memory

New research on ALCAR combined with Vinpocetine and Huperzine-A.

Posted Mar 25, 2020

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ALCAR Nootropic Bottle
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Severe dementia, neuropathies (painful nerves), mood disorders, attention deficit, and minor memory issues like inability to remember important dates or events are common problems.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) is a well-known supplement for its various health benefits like; it can help improve fat metabolism, improve exercise endurance, help with memory, boost energy metabolism, and much more. It is an amino-acid with no known side effect when taken as recommended [1].

Earlier research shows that ALC may help make nerves healthier in many ways, and thus also aids in improving memory. It plays an important role in energy production by cellular mitochondria by enhancing the transportation of fatty acids, it also strengthens the action of nerve growth factor (NGF), thus promoting nerve growth. It helps protect nerves due to its antioxidant properties and the ability to increase acetylcholine production [2].

The latest study confirms that ALC is good for brain health and memory

This latest research published in the International Journal of Neurology and Neurotherapy carried out by specialists from the US, UK, and Australia tries to find out if ALC can help improve the so-called episodic memory and working memory [3].

Episodic memory help individuals remember important dates and lifetime events, including various previous emotional experiences. Whereas, short-term memory, as the name says, helps retain information for short duration for further calculations, working, or memorizing.

Inadequacy of these kinds of memories is commonly caused by nutritional deficiencies, diseases like dementia, substance abuse, emotional stress, poor lifestyle choices, and much more. Thus, many people find it challenging to memorize events, important dates like the birthday of a child or marriage anniversary, or do complex mental tasks.

Research into the role of ALC in improving brain functioning, cognitive abilities, memory, is not new. This latest research looks into the role of ALC in enhancing memory. This latest research was carried out in 90 healthy male and female participants aged 22 to 66 years (average age 48.3 years). They took ALC along with other nootropics for 28 days. Researchers ensured that all participants were individuals looking to improve brain health and memory, but were not suffering from any severe illness.

This study demonstrated that people who took ALC had much better mood and attention, continuity of attention, improved speed, and quality of memory.

Nonetheless, the above study has certain limitations, like the use of other medications along with ALC. And the use of ALC in relatively healthy adults.
This raises questions. Will ALC be useful when used alone, or used in adults with brain diseases (like dementia, brain vascular disorders), or in older adults?

Yes, it seems that ALC can help enhance memory even when used alone, and in older adults with brain diseases.

In research published in the journal Dementia and Neurocognitive Disorders, older patients (age 55 to 80 years), with a confirmed diagnosis of dementia or memory deficit due to cerebrovascular disease, received treatment with ALC 1500 mg for 28 days. It was a high-quality, multi-center, and randomized controlled trial. And the study confirmed the benefits of ALC [4].

At the end of 28 days, all the participants of the above study had improvement in cognition/memory. However, there was not much improvement in other dementia/cerebrovascular-disease related symptoms like loss of physical movements or vision impairment.

An important thing worth noticing in these studies is that both of the trials mentioned above were for 28 days only. Twenty-eight days is not a long interval for improving memory or brain health considerably. It is quite probable that people may benefit more on prolonged use of ALC, like for three to six months. There is definitely a need for more protracted studies on the subject.

The above results are consistent with other studies that show the memory-improving effect of ALC in those living with chronic stress [5]. ALC is also useful for slowing down brain aging and preventing age-related decline in mental abilities [6].

This blog post was originally written by Preet Bhinder, MD and published at, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


[1] Office of Dietary Supplements – Carnitine. Accessed February 10, 2020.

[2] Di Stefano G, Di Lionardo A, Galosi E, Truini A, Cruccu G. Acetyl-L-carnitine in painful peripheral neuropathy: a systematic review. J Pain Res. 2019;12:1341-1351. doi:10.2147/JPR.S190231

[3] WesnesKeith A, Josh R. The Effects on the Cognitive Function of Healthy Volunteers of a Combination of Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Vinpocetine and Huperzine A Administered Over 28 Days. Int J Neurol Neurother. 2019;6(2). doi:10.23937/2378-3001/1410089

[4] Yang Y, Choi H, Lee C-N, Kim YB, Kwak YT. A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial for Efficacy of Acetyl-L-carnitine in Patients with Dementia Associated with Cerebrovascular Disease. Dement Neurocognitive Disord. 2018;17(1):1-10. doi:10.12779/dnd.2018.17.1.1

[5] Rababa’h SY, Alzoubi KH, Hammad HM, Alquraan L, El-Salem K. Memory Impairment Induced by Chronic Psychosocial Stress Is Prevented by L-Carnitine. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2019;13:4341-4350. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S225264

[6] Ponomareva EV. Use of Acetyl-L-Carnitine in Gerontological Practice. Neurosci Behav Physiol. 2019;49(4):451-455. doi:10.1007/s11055-019-00754-8