While most people relate l-carnitine to weight loss, there is another form known as acetyl-l-carnitine that offers clinically proven nootropic benefits. This underrated and underappreciated form of carnitine is slowly rising the ranks in popularity, as it has begun to be found in a wide range of products from weight loss aids to nootropic boosters, to even pre-workouts powders. This is one of the few ingredients out there that seems to be useful to just about every supplement user.

What it does

Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been clinically shown to improve cognitive functions like memory and focus[1], reduce levels of fatigue[2], and reduce depression[3].

How it works

Acetyl-L-Carnitine provides extremely high levels of bioavailability (unlike traditional l-carnitine) and the addition of the acetyl group helps allow the compound to bypass the BBB (blood brain barrier).

Once acetyl-l-carnitine reaches the brain, it is broken down into acetyl-CoA (acetyl coenzyme A) which can bind to free-floating choline to form acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a powerful neurotransmitter that enables our brain to work more efficiently, providing us with increased levels of cognition, focus, and memory formation.


The recommended dose for acetyl-l-carnitine is 500-1000mg taken two to three times per day. Many dietary supplements fall well below this suggested dosing however and provide only 500-1000mg in a single daily dose.

For acute mental benefits, a dose of 2000mg can be taken in a bolus manner.