ALCAR vs PLCAR?
- 01-29-2010, 07:46 AM
ALCAR vs PLCAR?
Can anyone shed some light if the two of these should be used together? I know they have slightly different effects. I typically use 1gm of ALCAR before my AM cardio but i'm thinking of switching or possibly adding PLCAR to the regime as well. For the life of me I saw a thread on here a long time ago that was about this....
- 01-29-2010, 08:45 AM
Carnitines: Dissimilar Members of the Same Family
One of the best known amino acid is actually not an amino acid. L-Carnitine (also known as carnitine) is not an amino acid in the strict definition as it is not a component of proteins and more closely resembles a B-vitamin. Many readers are familiar with the general benefits of carnitine, such as its effect on improving cardiovascular health. The main biological effect of carnitine is to shuttle long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, which is the energy manufacturing organelle inside our cells. Systemically, the overwhelming amount of carnitine (approximately 95%) is found in our skeletal muscle and heart tissue cells.
Nutritional scientists use the phrase “conditionally essential” to describe carnitine because under certain conditions of physical stress, disease, or trauma, it may be imperative to consume carnitine. We only produce about 20 milligrams of carnitine internally (de-novo synthesis) on a daily basis. The amounts we get from our diet vary tremendously according to dietary practices. The estimates of carnitine consumption are 72 mg/person/day in Japan, 225 mg /person/day in the U.S., and 290 mg/person/day in New Zealand.
While dietary supplement consumers have favorably embraced carnitines, the array of different carnitine forms available in the market has resulted in consumer confusion. Choices include Carnitine Tartrate, Carnitine Fumarate, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine Arginate, Propionyl- L-Carnitine, to name a few. Which is the best form and what are the differences? To answer these questions requires a slight investigation to uncover the differences in forms and effects of these various carnitines.
One of the main reasons for the different commercial forms of carnitine is because the carnitine molecule is inherently unstable. It has a powerful ability to attract moisture (hygroscopicity), thus resulting in difficulties of formulating in a finished dosage format. This led the two primary pioneers of carnitine manufacturing, Sigma Tau and Lonza, to employ the use of stabilizing salts to eliminate the hygroscopic effect and stabilize carnitine. The addition of the salts tartrate or fumarate results in a stable carnitine for a finished dosage format. These forms of carnitine are called salts of carnitine, as they are not molecular bonds per se, but rather weak ionic interaction. In other words, when you consume a carnitine tartrate or a carnitine fumarate, it results in a release of free of carnitine and the stabilizing salt. Sure, there are differences in the effects of the salt themselves, but in my opinion the differences are minor as the real active compound is the carnitine.
Some forms of carnitine are not stabilized salts but completely different molecules with differences in biological effects. These are not carnitine salts but rather molecular analogs of carnitine. Some examples of these analogs are Acetylcarnitine (also known as Alcar or ALC), Propionylcarnitine (PLC), Carnitine Creatinate, Carnitine Taurinate, and Carnitine Arginate. As a result of the additional compounds bonded to the carnitine molecule, these carnitine analogs offer different biological effects. Unfortunately, for most of these products, there have not been comparative clinical trials conducted to determine if these biological effects are specific to the carnitine analog or to carnitines in general. But, the following can provide some understanding of the carnitine analogs:
“Carnitine Plus” molecules
This is a group of carnitine-based molecules whereby an additional nutrient is bonded to the carnitine. The additional molecule can be Arginine, Creatine, Taurine, Lysine, or other nutrient. These carnitine analogs are likely cleaved into free carnitine plus the accompanying nutrient prior to absorption into the body. Sure, taking a carnitine creatinate is superior to taking ordinary carnitine, but it’s not a fair comparison. A more interesting comparison would be to investigate if there’s any difference after oral administration of a carnitine-plus-nutrient molecule versus a carnitine-and-nutrient mixture - - the latter being a simple mixture of two powders, not a molecular bond, and a lot less costly. So, in general, the “carnitine plus” molecules are still in a phase of proving their worth. Two carnitine analogs, though, are deserving of a special mention because of their difference from ordinary carnitines as well as the amount of clinical data substantiating their use: Propionylcarnitine and Acetylcarnitine.
Propionylcarnitine (PLC) is available commercially in the form of glycine-propionylcarnitine (esterified carnitine) and this is a superb form of carnitine very specific for muscle tissue and cardiovascular protection. In an experimental rodent study, ordinary carnitine and acetylcarnitine had no protective effect on vascular inflammation, but PLC offered significant protection. Although ordinary carnitine and acetylcarnitine have proven cardiovascular benefit, there are some effects of PLC that are superior for particular cardiovascular conditions.
This is one of my favorite forms of carnitine because of its versatility in affecting a variety of tissues including the brain, nerve, and muscle tissue. Ordinary carnitine cannot cross the blood brain barrier (BBB), however acetylcarnitine crosses the BBB and has been proven clinically to benefit the brain. Acetylcarnitine is also a better stimulator of the mitochondria for energy synthesis than ordinary carnitine. The surprising twist is that no pharmacokinetic study has been done with acetylcarnitine to determine if it is absorbed intact. However, it has been determined in a study that consuming acetylcarnitine raises acetylcarnitine levels in the blood, and therefore yielding the desired result. If I had to simplify my life and choose one form of carnitine, based on versatility, price, and proven efficacy, I would choose acetylcarnitine.
A few other points should also be considered in order to best utilize carnitine. First, carnitine is not caffeine, so don’t expect a result in one hour. Carnitine’s effects are really felt after about four weeks of supplementation. Second, use carnitine in conjunction with synergestic nutrients such as D-Ribose (an ATP stimulator), CoQ10, and Magnesium. As to the form of carnitine, remember that there are significant differences in the members of the carnitine family. Use the above as a guide to maximize your results from the benefits of carnitines. In the final analysis, the type of carnitine you choose should be based on your specific health condition and budget.
01-30-2010, 08:31 AM
Awesome, thanks! Is it possible to mix the two? I'm getting conflicting answers weather or not I should use ALCAR and PLCAR together.
Example: ALCAR am prior to cardio and PLCAR throughout the day (DCP)?
01-30-2010, 08:44 AM
01-30-2010, 09:23 AM
What type of benefits should I expect to feel after 4+ weeks?
01-30-2010, 10:26 AM
L-Carnitine - ALCAR Therapeutic Dosages
Typical dosages for the diseases described here range from 200 or 250mg to 1000mg 2-3times daily. Carnitine is taken in three forms: L-carnitine (for heart and other conditions), propionyl-L-carnitine (for heart conditions), and acetyl-L-carnitine (for Alzheimer's disease). The dosage is the same for all three forms.
ALCAR Therapeutic Uses
Carnitine is primarily used for heart-related conditions. Some evidence suggests that it can be used along with conventional treatment for angina, to improve symptoms and reduce medication needs. When combined with conventional therapy, it may also reduce mortality rates after a heart attack.
Lesser evidence suggests that it may be helpful for a condition called intermittent claudication (pain in the legs after walking due to narrowing of the arteries), as well as congestive heart failure. In addition, a few studies suggest that carnitine may be useful for cardiomyopathy.
Carnitine may also be helpful for improving exercise tolerance in people with chronic pulmonary obstruction disease (COPD), more commonly known as emphysema.
Warning: You should not attempt to self-treat any of these serious medical conditions, nor should you use carnitine as a substitute for standard drugs.
One study found evidence that acetyl-L-carnitine is helpful for Peyronie's disease, a condition affecting the penis.
Some studies have found evidence that one particular form of carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine, might be helpful in Alzheimer's disease, but the two most recent and largest studies found no benefit. This form of carnitine has also been investigated for treatment of depression in the elderly.
A genetic condition called fragile X syndrome can cause behavioral disturbances such as hyperactivity, along with mental retardation, autism, and alterations in appearance. A preliminary study of 17 boys found that acetyl-L-carnitine might help to reduce hyperactive behavior associated with this condition.
Additionally, a preliminary study suggests that carnitine may be useful for improving blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. It also might help prevent diabetic cardiac autonomic neuropathy (injury to the nerves of the heart caused by diabetes). Weak evidence suggests that carnitine may be able to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and also help individuals with degeneration of the cerebellum (the structure of the brain responsible for voluntary muscular movement). One very small study suggests carnitine may be helpful for reducing symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. One study suggests that carnitine may be of value for treating hyperthyroidism.
Uncontrolled studies suggest that L-carnitine or acetyl-L-carnitine may be helpful for improving sperm function. Weak evidence also suggests that carnitine may be helpful for decreasing the toxicity of AZT (a drug used to treat AIDS).
Carnitine is widely touted as a physical performance enhancer, but there is no real evidence that it is effective and some research indicates that it does not work. Little to no evidence supports other claimed benefits such as treating irregular heartbeat, Down's syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and alcoholic fatty liver disease.
What are the Scientific Evidence and Facts for ALCAR?
L-Carnitine - ALCAR Angina
Carnitine might be a good addition to standard therapy for angina. In one controlled study, 200 individuals with angina (the exercise-induced variety) took either 2 g daily of L-carnitine or were left untreated. All the study participants continued to take their usual medication for angina. Those taking carnitine showed improvement in several measures of heart function, including a significantly greater ability to exercise without chest pain.70 They were also able to reduce the dosage of some of their heart medications (under medical supervision) as their symptoms decreased.
Another trial that did use a double-blind, placebo-controlled design tested L-carnitine in 52 individuals with angina, and found evidence of benefit. In addition, several small studies (some of them double-blind) tested propionyl-L-carnitine for the treatment of angina, and also found evidence of benefit.
ALCAR and Hardening of The Arteries
People with advanced hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, often have difficulty walking due to lack of blood flow to the legs. Pain may develop after walking less than half a block. Although carnitine does not increase blood flow, it appears to improve the muscle's ability to function under difficult circumstances.
A 12-month double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 485 patients with intermittent claudication evaluated the potential benefits of propionyl-L-carnitine. Participants with relatively severe disease showed a 44% improvement in walking distance as compared to placebo. However, no improvement was seen in those with mild disease. Another double-blind study followed 245 people and also found benefit.
Similar results have been seen in most but not all other studies of L-carnitine or propionyl-L-carnitine. Propionyl-L-carnitine may be more effective for intermittent claudication than plain carnitine.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR Congestive Heart Failure
Several small studies have found that carnitine, often in the form of propionyl-L-carnitine, can improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. In one trial, benefits were maintained for 60 days after treatment with carnitine was stopped.
ALCAR After a Heart Attack
Carnitine may help reduce death rate after a heart attack. In a 12-month placebo-controlled study, 160 individuals who had experienced a heart attack received 4 g of L-carnitine daily or placebo, in addition to other conventional medication. The mortality rate in the treated group was significantly lower than in the placebo group, 1.2% versus 12.5%, respectively. There were also improvements in heart rate, blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and blood lipids. A larger double-blind study of 472 people found that carnitine may improve the chances of survival if given within 24 hours after a heart attack. Note: Carnitine is used along with conventional treatment, not as a substitute for it.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Evidence from three double-blind placebo-controlled studies enrolling a total of 49 individuals suggests that L-carnitine can improve exercise tolerance in COPD, presumably by improving muscular efficiency in the lungs and other muscles.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR and Alzheimer's Disease
Numerous double- or single-blind studies involving a total of more than 1,400 people have evaluated the potential benefits of acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Early studies found some evidence of benefit, although it was generally quite modest. However, the two most recent and best-designed studies found no benefit.
A double-blind placebo-controlled trial that enrolled 431 participants for 1 year found no significant improvement at all in the group treated with acetyl-L-carnitine. A close look at the results appeared to suggest some benefit in individuals who developed Alzheimer's disease at a particularly young age. However, when this possibility was tested in a 1-year double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 229 patients with early-onset Alzheimer's, no benefits were seen.
L-Carnitine - ALCAR and Mild Depression
A double-blind study of 60 seniors with mild depression found that treatment with 3 g of carnitine daily over a 2-month period significantly improved symptoms as compared to placebo. Positive results were seen in another study as well.
L-Carnitine - Alcar and Hyperthyroidism
Enlargement of the thyroid (goiter) can be due to many causes, including cancer and iodine deficiency. In some cases, thyroid enlargement occurs without any known cause, so-called benign goiter.
Treatment of benign goiter generally consists of taking thyroid hormone pills. This causes the thyroid gland to become less active, and the goiter shrinks. However, there may be undesirable effects as well. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) can develop, including heart palpitations, nervousness, weight loss, and bone breakdown.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found evidence that use of L-carnitine could alleviate many of these symptoms. This 6-month study evaluated the effects of L-carnitine in 50 women who were taking thyroid hormone for benign goiter. The results showed that a dose of 2 or 4 g of carnitine daily protected participants' bones and reduced other symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Carnitine is thought to affect thyroid hormone by blocking its action in cells. This suggests a potential concern: Carnitine might be harmful for people who have low or borderline thyroid levels to begin with. This possibility has not been well explored as yet.
ALCAR and Peyronie's Disease
Peyronie's disease is an inflammatory condition of the penis that develops in stages. In the first stage, penile pain occurs with erection; next, the penis becomes curved; finally, erectile dysfunction may occur. Many medications have been tried for Peyronie's disease, with some success. One such drug is tamoxifen (better known as a treatment to prevent breast cancer recurrence.) A 3 month, double-blind study compared the effectiveness of acetyl-L-carnitine (1 gram twice daily) against tamoxifen; the study enrolled 15 men in the first stage of Peyronie's disease and 33 men in the second stage. The result indicated that acetyl-L-carnitine reduced penile curvature while tamoxifen did not; the supplement also reduced pain and slowed disease progression to a greater extent than the drug. Furthermore, while the drug caused various side effectsa and the supplement caused none.
ALCAR and Athletic Performance Enhancement
A 1996 review of clinical studies concluded that no scientific basis exists for the belief that carnitine supplements enhance athletic performance. A few studies have found some benefit, but most have not.
ALCAR Safety Issues
L-carnitine in its three forms appears to be quite safe. However, individuals with low or borderline-low thyroid levels should avoid carnitine because it might impair the action of thyroid hormone.
Individuals on dialysis should not receive this (or any other supplement) without a physician's supervision. The maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
L-Carnitine - Interaction Drug Side Effects You Should Know About
If you are taking;
• Antiseizure medications, particularly valproic acid (Depakote, Depakene) but also phenytoin (Dilantin): You may need extra carnitine.
• Thyroid medication: Do not take carnitine except under a physician's supervision
01-31-2010, 02:12 PM
01-31-2010, 06:04 PM
Remember that L-Carnitine Tartrate is the one proven to upregulate AR in muscle. There is some controversy, but for me it is ALCAR for fat loss and nnotropics, LCART on cycle.
02-01-2010, 06:20 AM
02-01-2010, 10:43 AM
02-01-2010, 12:57 PM
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