Today, after a gut wrenching early morning cardio session, I followed my regular routine of taking two 500mg capsules of acetyl-l-carnitine. No big deal. This supplement has been around forever and doesn’t really get much hype. The only reason I added it to my supplement stack in the first place is because Robb Wolf recommended it back in 2011 in his “My Training at 39” blog post which happens to be exactly how old I am now. Then I showered and made breakfast.
After breakfast I notice that the top shelf of the refrigerator, usually cluttered with various items, is almost completely bare. I haven’t seen it this empty in a while. It looks naked. The reason for it’s current lack of clutter is that I’ve run out of groceries and my Shipt shopper isn’t due deliver new ones for another two hours. In case you’re not familiar, Shipt is an app I use to get my groceries delivered. Think of it as Uber for groceries. The time it saves me is profound. Sure you pay a little more for your food and you have to tip, but you know what costs even more? Diabetes.
Think of it this way, not having to shop for groceries eliminates an errand you would otherwise have to complete before meal prepping. Less errands frees up some time ensuring said meal prep actually gets done. If after after shopping for groceries and doing the one million other things you have to get done in a day you get home and are too tired to meal prep, then the Sugar Demons automatically win the next day when you make a terrible food choice because you didn’t have anything prepped. Lose enough battles to the Sugar Demons and you get Diabetes which can cost you an arm and a leg, literally. Still not convinced it’s worth it? Think about all the dumb little “luxuries” we allow ourselves every day–designer coffees, overpriced glasses of wine, in-app purchases. We don’t gain much from any of these thing, but with Shipt you can spend money on something that actually buys you more time. Buying time is the wisest luxury buy you can make in my opinion.
Anyway, back to the refrigerator. With the top shelf clear I notice for the first time how dirty it is. The surface looks discolored in places. Little particles of food matter have settled into the creases along the borders of the shelf. Since nothing is currently occupying the shelf I decide it would be easy to pull it out and wash it. First I google “what do I clean my refrigerator with”. According to marthastewart.com (no bullshit) warm water with dish soap works just fine. So I pull out the shelf and wash it. Done. But then I realize the rest of the fridge needs cleaning too. So I start obsessively pulling out drawers and shelves, including a shelf that was fastened in with screws which requires me to find a screwdriver to complete the task. About 45 minutes later the entire refrigerator is spotless. That’s what happens when you take acetyl-L-carnitine. You see what needs to get done and you just do it. Normally, I would’ve just done the easy part, cleaning the top shelf, and then hit the recliner for some Netflix. The acetyl-L-carnitine gives me the mental energy to get a lot more things done. It helps me write more, stay focused on tasks at work, and it gives me the mental fortitude I need to do the things that need to get done so I can win against the Sugar Demons, even when I’m tired.
Acetly-L-Carnitine is the common amino acid L-Carnitine with an Acetyl group attached that allows it to cross the blood brain barrier where it does some pretty amazing things. It has strong antioxidant properties but what supplement doesn’t? Seriously, whenever a supplement claims to be an antioxidant I can’t help but roll my eyes. Eat some blueberries, a few green veggies, maybe take a multivitamin and you’re already getting all the antioxidants you need. I don’t take acetyl-L-carnitine for the antioxidant effect but it’s there so I have to mention it. More importantly it directly contributes to acetylcholine production. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that helps us to form and keep memories. In other words, it boosts your ability to remember stuff if you’re deficient. In addition it boosts two more neurotransmitters–Noradrenaline in the hippocampal formation, and Serotonin in the cortex. These two neurotransmitters are involved in mood and motivation. That’s where the magic is in my opinion. I feel like getting more shit done when I take it.
After experimenting for the past six months with acetyl-L-carnitine my final verdict is that it’s awesome for people like me who run out of mental energy by mid day. It basically does the opposite of what sugar does to my brain. I tend to cycle it for six weeks and then give myself a week or two off the same way I would with caffeine. I haven’t read that it’s necessary to do this, but I like to give my body a break from any non-standard supplement just to be safe. This stuff is dirt cheap too. You can pick up a bottle of 200 capsules for around $20. I use the NOW Foods brand, but there are several reputable manufacturers.
I don’t sell this stuff or get any kind of compensation or reward if you go out and buy it. This is just information I feel like sharing with my friends and readers of my blog. I’d love to get some feedback from people who decide to try acetyl-L-carnitine or have used it in the past. Also, this is the kind of information that will be in my upcoming book about sugar addiction, or as I like to call it–my war against the Sugar Demons.