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Cholinergic Mechanisms of ALCAR

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#1 chrono

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:47 PM

I've been promising to further explain the acetylcholine-increasing mechanisms of ALCAR, and its utility in serving as a "choline source" for piracetam, for several months now. The problem was that it led to a study of a large number of interconnected mechanisms lacking in recent and definitive research. But as this subject comes up a lot, I decided to post an explanation of the most-implicated pathways, to be updated when I have more time to retrieve and digest more papers.

For greater ease in future editing, and because of the length, I've posted this review as a blog entry.

Posted Image

I will post in this thread when I make a significant update to this review. Feel free to post questions, corrections, or contributions.

I'll also ask anyone who has taken ALCAR with piracetam to post a detailed account of their experience, to attempt to make this thread a more cohesive resource concerning this combination. I'll post my own shortly.
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#2 medievil

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 12:02 AM

That looks impressive, good work!

Goddamned this + thing ran out again.

Edited by medievil, 27 August 2010 - 12:03 AM.

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#3 chrono

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 10:56 PM

^^ haha, thanks. You should splash out for a student membership, you get at least twice as many per day, plus access to the articles forum and longer post editing time (among other things). And we need as many nootropic/supplement people as we can to participate in site votes and whatnot, so they don't think we're slacking off ;)

Edited by chrono, 27 August 2010 - 10:56 PM.

#4 aLurker

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 05:43 PM

Brilliant post. ALCAR made my experience with Piracetam seem smoother and the stimulatory effects seemed much more natural with ALCAR in the mix.

A question: how would an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor affect ALCAR (and Piracetam)?

#5 Imagination

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 05:42 PM

The only nootropics i am taking at the moment are alcar and piracetam, alcar has become more of a staple supplement for me. I hadn't really noticed the effects that much, but today i was hungover after a heavy night and I don't normally take nootropics the following day as I don't usually have work to do. But had work today and my brain was working at half speed, the effects from the piracetam and alcar where quite significant, back to my old self within half an hour after taking it.

It is most likely to be the effects from the alcar I suspect, but taking the piracetam doesn't seem to be doing any harm. Only just recently re introduced this, didn't get on well with it in the past when taking it with choline or on it's own. I really don't react well to choline, but alcar is ok, i think it's more of a negative reponse to the choline it's self that the acetylcholine increase, as I don't get any negative effects from Alcar or huperzine a.

#6 babcock

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 12:37 PM

Nice 86 references. Talk about work!

#7 arvcondor

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 11:56 PM

Wanted to give this thread a bump. It's been a couple years since I took ALCAR, but I'm going to reintroduce myself to it. Advice on when/how to take it (aside from ALA co-supplementation)?

#8 SE102

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 04:40 AM

For us lowly humble simple types. When and when should I take and not take it?

Thatd be helpful :D

#9 chrono

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 05:49 PM

Forgot to add my personal account here, though I've probably mentioned it a zillion times in other threads.

Alone, the effect of ALCAR is barely noticeable subjectively; I tend to feel a little 'brighter' mentally, and perhaps in mood as well—but I probably couldn't pin down a time when it kicked in, or even identify it in a blinded test. Alone, piracetam is also very subtle, and probably just on the edge of something I could identify subjectively. I notice it most by its effect on linguistic/verbal tasks.

When combined, the experience is quite pronounced, and I notice an improvement in many cognitive domains. Still the most pronounced is verbal eloquence; when writing or speaking, I find it much easier to parse concepts into words, and to choose words more accurately based on shades of meaning. I also notice a general improvement in executive function, finding analysis to flow more smoothly, and more connections to occur (though more in the logical than 'artistic' sense). But perhaps the most useful indication is attention; multitasking becomes effective (rather than random and flightly), and I'm able to concentrate on a single task for much longer that baseline (when reading a book, my mind will frequently wander; this effect is greatly attenuated). I can't say how much of this efficacy stems from my attentional problems, and how much might be experienced by people without attentional deficits. For that reasons, I'd still be interested in hearing others' experiences here, particularly comparisons to the criteria I mentioned.

My dosage is 1.5g, twice a day, with 800mg piracetam. I take both together first thing in the morning, and then about 5-6 hours later. If I fail to redose, I perceive a fairly sudden drop-off in my ability to attend to a single task, and to maintain my interest in challenging activities I enjoy, about 6-7 hours after this dose.

I choose not to cosupplement with ALA; while an effective antioxidant with an elegant mechanism (rebound increase of endogenous antioxidant systems), I'm disturbed by its ability to exert changes in mice for a long time (very large portions of their lifespan) after discontinuation, suggesting a modification of genetic factors. The supposed necessity of ALA with ALCAR is based on an incomplete picture of Dr. Ames's research; in rats, the human equivalent of 4g/day was not pro-oxidant (see this thread).

For people just beginning to take ALCAR, I would suggest starting at 500mg, to ease into it. As with any cholinergic, some have reported depression, and will experience varying effects at varying dosages. The doses can be divided in two or three, depending on your needs, and whether taking it at night impacts your ability to sleep (it doesn't, for me). Just increase the dose by increments of 250-500mg, as tolerated, and keep it below 4g/day total if you want to be on the safe side as far as oxidation is concerned.

Edited by chrono, 25 September 2010 - 05:50 PM.

#10 rvogels1

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 05:07 AM

Very impressive. Upon introspection, I independently came to the same conclusion that something simply wasn't right with the coupled supplementation of a direct choline source and piracetam. ALCAR and piracetam harmoniously synergize together. It's beautiful. I'm happy to now have knowledge of the chemical changes underlying my cognitive enhancement, so many thanks. The supplemental choline-induced headache in my hindbrain-ish area around the back of my neck and the back of my lower head was pretty annoying, and counter-productive.

However, I'm disappointed, borderline angry, that everyone pushes the choline supplementation so hard. Surely I'm being overly cynical when I have thoughts about it being a baseless marketing ploy. Lamentably, I doubt it...

Hopefully your efforts become more widely appreciated as this is the synergy we all desire. At least the core of the change we seek. Inquiring and inexperienced minds need this information.

PS: I was thinking of a way that perhaps supplemental choline could be effectively used without engendering discomforting, distracting headaches. You made reference to studies showing that choline is effectively absorbed when cholinergic neurons are thoroughly engaged. ALCAR would thus be most effective during the morning dose when we're waking up and probably even later in the day; but, perhaps direct choline supplementation would be effective during the cognitive peak based on your circadian rhythms, or when you're just starting to become immersed in a task that will most definitely engage cholinergic neurons. I don't know, it sounds possible to me. Perhaps I'm just trying to find a way to avoid wasting the tub of choline I purchased :)

Sorry if this was the wrong place to post or if this is redundant, or something.

Edited by rvogels1, 11 January 2011 - 05:08 AM.

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#11 Justchill

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 01:35 PM

Is it usefull to take ALCAR without piracetam?
What are its benefits?
Should you cycle ALCAR?

btw, alcar smells and tests awfull

#12 Patrick Bateman

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 05:36 PM

Is it usefull to take ALCAR without piracetam?
What are its benefits?
Should you cycle ALCAR?

btw, alcar smells and tests awfull

ALCAR does smell horrible, but I love the taste! Then again, piracetam taste doesn't bother me at all.

ALCAR has a lot of benefits besides stacking with piracetam. I'll leave it to someone who knows more than I do to give details, but ALCAR seems to be in the stacks of a large portion of very smart people, piracetam or not.

#13 JChief

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 05:17 AM

Great post. Bumping! I have just started ALCAR along with uridine and omega 3 fatty acids. I also added piracetam back. Couldn't resist ;)
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#14 tothepoint

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:21 PM

Hi Chrono,

Can you repost the blog link? The link is dead.

#15 nowayout

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:55 PM

Just a basic question. What are the subjective mental/psychological/physiological effects of upregulating choline metabolism supposed to be?

In short: What would you take cholinergics for?

I am asking because I don't seem to get a clear picture anywhere. It seems as if cholinergics should reduce anxiety, for example, but some say choline can worsen depression. A small minority have reported that it can increase libido, etc. In short, it is all very confusing.

#16 BioFreak

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:17 PM

The link is still dead. Would be great if you could repost the review.

#17 vali

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 10:02 PM

Here is a link to the blog post he mentions: http://www.longecity...nisms-of-alcar/
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#18 magta39

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:16 AM

What choline source are you using with ALCAR? Ok I found it...alpha GPC.....

Edited by magta39, 08 August 2013 - 01:34 AM.

#19 Godof Smallthings

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 03:38 AM

The point of taking ALCAR for me is to avoid taking a choline source - when I take both ALCAR and choline, I get negative symptoms.

For those who can take choline supplementation without any headaches or tension - great - but for those of us who are, as Dave Asprey calls it, choline dominant, supplemental choline is like taking a poison with no positive effects, only negative.

I do fine when I take salmon oil, ALCAR and soft boiled eggs; ALCAR is energizing for me - but almost every time I take lecithin or Alpha GPC I get nasty neck tension, headache symptoms and lowered mood.

So do NOT assume that piracetam necessitates a choline source for you personally, until you have tried piracetam only first - without choline, established that this causes you negative effects, which then go away after you start to take choline.

#20 formergenius

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 08:32 AM

Seeing as there have been reports of adverse effects with combining Choline and Coluracetam, I was wondering whether ALCAR might be a decent alternative to compliment Coluracetam, because it increases Acetyl-CoA (outside the mitochondria).
Any thoughts on that? And would it heighten the risk of hyperglycemia (though hyperglycemic risk is "pharmacologically negligible" with Coluracetam itself)?

#21 creature

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 08:35 PM

I have some ALCAR coming in a few days, and I have been taking piracetam for a little over a month now. The piracetam has given me some noticeable effects, I think I have a slightly better memory especially for numbers. But I'm waiting to see how ALCAR will change things.

So are you saying the body still needs choline when taking piracetam, but what a normal person gets in their diet is plenty? I ask this because ALCAR contains no choline but in the diagram choline is still needed to combine with the acetyl group to form ACh.

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#22 Godof Smallthings

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:33 AM

It's not so much about 'the body' as it is about 'your body'.

Whether you need supplemental choline or not depends on how you feel when you take piracetam only. If you have achieved positive results with just piracetam and no supplemental choline, that is a strong indicator you would not benefit from additional choline - however, if you happen to have choline lying around, it would certainly be worthwhile to see what happens if you take that with piracetam as well.

If you experience low mood, irritability, neck or muscle tension, then you should not take supplemental choline.

Everyone who eats a normal diet gets some choline that way. For some of us, that is already plenty. For others, it makes sense to supplement.

Observe your own reactions and you will know.

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