Before I start this post, I want anyone reading to know that I am not giving you nutritional advice with this one! This is just a story about how I accidentally increased my mental clarity, focus and mood, by accident.
Right, so for those who don’t know me. I’m a busy guy.
I tell you to sleep lots, relax and recover but I can’t always follow my own advice on these. It’s just the cost of doing business. It has caused me to look for more ways to get an edge in my performance both in business and training, I still love to lift and not having the same energy to put into training as I used to does bother me from time to time.
So, I got this stuff after reading that it has caused a modest but significant increase in testosterone levels in quite a few studies. All good right?
Maybe those leg sessions won’t feel quite as heavy?
Acetyl L-Carnitine is a form of Carnitine, an amino acid. It’s not a drug, we produce the stuff in our bodies and get it from meat, but in smaller amounts.
I started taking this stuff in powder form every day to see if I’d notice any changes in muscle mass, strength, perhaps aggression?
Well I don’t know how it worked for that. I haven’t noticed any significant changes, but I didn’t get any bloodwork done either so who knows.
Anyway, here’s what DID happen.
It must have been the second day I’d been taking it that a member commented that I seemed more upbeat than usual..
I mean, .. what’s that supposed to mean anyway?
But she was right, I did have more energy, and my mood was pretty good.
She noticed me mixing up the powder into a drink, and it’s since become known as ‘happy juice’..
I did start taking it at a time when my mood wasn’t great anyway, so I guess it made it more noticeable.
I’ve found this to be a pretty reliable effect since too.
Anyway, that’s half of the benefit that I got from Acetyl L-Carnitine.
The focus has been pretty mental. I didn’t notice quite how much until I got busy and forgot to take it one day. I wasn’t slow to get things done, but I wasn’t getting things done at the same rate i had for the past few weeks.
It’s not like caffeine either, you don’t feel wired.. just clear.
Like there’s no background noise in your head anymore.
I don’t think it’s had any effect on training, who knows? But the effects on mental clarity well worth it to me.
I’m pretty confident that these are genuine effects and not placebo as I just didn’t expect them.
And what I did expect to happen, well it didn’t.
So how does Acetyl L-Carnitine work?
Well, no one’s 100% sure, but there have been some pretty good theories.
It may increase Acetylcholine levels
Acetylcholine is a transmitter that appears to help us learn better. Higher levels are associated with better cognitive abilities whereas a deficiency is associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Limited research suggests that it does, and while Carnitine hasn’t been proposed as a viable treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease or mental decline just yet, there are currently studies underway to investigate the possibility.
It raises noradrenaline and serotonin levels
Noradrenaline is stimulating, and serotonin is relaxing. This probably explains the happy focus I experienced. An entire class of antidepressants (SSRIs) work by increasing serotonin levels, and this is also part of the reason that people go for sweet foods when they’re stressed. Carbohydrates also increase serotonin.
It enhances brain metabolism
It’s been show that Acetyl L-Carnitine improves energy metabolism in the brain in a similar way to how creatine does in the muscles. This also adds a neuroprotective effect to safeguard brain health during times of stress.
Not bad for an amino acid right?
Worth noting, to take advantage of all of the effects, it probably needs to be taken on an empty stomach.
All in all, it was a pretty welcome discovery!
Until next time,