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Accidentally took ALCAR, is this stuff safe?


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#1 Heinsbeans

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 07:14 AM


So I was looking for a safe brain supplement to help me focus. All over the medical websites they talked about how extremely safe and beneficial ALCAR is and that people should start supplementing with it. It was advertised on TV, Youtube, books, magazines and internet as a "natural brain nutrient". I could not find any concerning harmful side effects or contradictions. It was even recommended by a reputable medical doctor, Dr. Weil: http://www.drweil.co...tine-ALCAR.html

I initially wasn't going to buy any supplements because I had to order them online. But when I was in the shopping center, I came across a health store and saw ALCAR on the shelf. The store assistant came up to me and explained to me that ALCAR is a safe natural brain supplement, I asked her few questions regarding safety and she just kept convincing me that it's safe. I don't consider myself a risk taker, I just believed her because I assumed that she wasn't allowed to lie and recommend customers harmful supplements and that she's knowledgeable since she worked there. And first thing you assume when you shop at the health store is that it's "healthy"(at least for me). When I checked the bottle, all it said was how great it is and I could not find any warnings about ALCAR and only later on found online that it wasn't FDA approved.

The store assistant recommended me to take 1.5g daily but luckily I decided to only take 500mg for 2 days. I recently discovered that ALCAR could create free radicals if taken too much. I searched about in ALCAR and free radicals in logecity forum through google search engine(site:longecity.org ALCAR free radical) and found most post saying that if it's below 4g, it should be fine. But in one post called "ALCAR and age adjusted dose ranging" says 20 y/o shouldn't take any because they risk oxidated stress.

So I'm worried that even just the amount 500mg might have been too much for me(I'm 20 y/o). I regret believing the store assistant and wasting $90 of my hard earned cash. I stopped using after 2 days and wish ALCAR was a prescription only like in Canada. I went and asked the doctor about what happened but the doctor just said "They aren't telling you the risks because they want you to buy it. Don't buy stuff from health store, stick to OTC" and he didn't know if it was safe for me or not. I've been having sleepless nights because of this. I want to find out if it really was safe for me or not. Is there any other forum or medical professional I can ask about this? I'm considering seen a specialist and asking him about it.

So I'm wondering if you can tell me whether this amount was safe for me. I'm mainly concerned about my brain health. Did ALCAR in the dosage I took reduce my lifespan, increased risk to cancer, disease or disorder? Even if it did create free radicals, is it that bad for you? I heard that alcohol and exercise creates free radicals as well. Does the body have enough mechanisms(like glutathione) to deal with the amount of oxidative stress I got from ALCAR?

Cheers

#2 mustardseed41

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 12:47 PM

Start planning your funeral now....good grief

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#3 niner

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 01:32 PM

I don't consider myself a risk taker, I just believed her because I assumed that she wasn't allowed to lie and recommend customers harmful supplements and that she's knowledgeable since she worked there. And first thing you assume when you shop at the health store is that it's "healthy"(at least for me). When I checked the bottle, all it said was how great it is and I could not find any warnings about ALCAR and only later on found online that it wasn't FDA approved.

Hmm. A learning experience. This can be usefully applied to all salespersons, particularly those in the financial industry.

So I'm worried that even just the amount 500mg might have been too much for me(I'm 20 y/o). I regret believing the store assistant and wasting $90 of my hard earned cash. I stopped using after 2 days and wish ALCAR was a prescription only like in Canada. I went and asked the doctor about what happened but the doctor just said "They aren't telling you the risks because they want you to buy it. Don't buy stuff from health store, stick to OTC" and he didn't know if it was safe for me or not. I've been having sleepless nights because of this. I want to find out if it really was safe for me or not. Is there any other forum or medical professional I can ask about this? I'm considering seen a specialist and asking him about it.

So I'm wondering if you can tell me whether this amount was safe for me. I'm mainly concerned about my brain health. Did ALCAR in the dosage I took reduce my lifespan, increased risk to cancer, disease or disorder? Even if it did create free radicals, is it that bad for you? I heard that alcohol and exercise creates free radicals as well. Does the body have enough mechanisms(like glutathione) to deal with the amount of oxidative stress I got from ALCAR?

You can hold off on seeing that specialist. The specialists are right here. You have NOT harmed yourself. Low doses of ALCAR are safe, even if you are 20 years old. At that age, they may or may not be useful. Your doctor was kind of right, except for the "stick to OTC" advice. OTC drugs have lots of dangers; you can certainly kill yourself with them, and many people do. I don't know if the doctor mentioned it, but dietary supplements are not under the same FDA scrutiny that pharmaceuticals are. They are under very little scrutiny, in fact, although the FDA does attempt to get some of the truly toxic ones off the market. When dealing with supplements, I recommend sticking to established major brands. You know what the real tragedy is here? You spend $90 on ALCAR! It should have cost way less than that. I never shop in "health food stores". They are typically hugely overpriced, their stock might be old, and there's no telling what kind of crap they carry. (Some such stores are ok, but most aren't so hot.) I get all supplements from reputable internet sellers like Swanson or iherb. I have never had a problem with either of them.

You probably didn't get any oxidative stress from such a low dose of ALCAR. That's only been a problem at very high doses. In fact, it might even be protective at the lower dose. You are correct that the body has systems to deal with oxidative stress, and free radicals are created by exercise. So you may now relax; I hope you get some sleep.

#4 pycnogenol

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 02:07 PM

I take 500 mg every morning of ALCAR and have for many years and yet I'm still here. :-D

Edited by pycnogenol, 24 July 2011 - 02:07 PM.


#5 triplecrown

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 04:24 PM

There are people out there and some on this forum that have taken ALCAR at doses of 1.5-2grams daily for many years. ALCAR actually has been shown in research to protect against peroxidation.

Personally I take 1gram daily in the morning, usually every other day.

Other reported benefits from ALCAR include:
* Protects and Enhances Mitochondrial Function
* Enhances Immune Function and IGF-1 levels
* Protects against the loss and reduction in axonal transport of substance P
* Reduces HPA axis hyperactivity
* Increases hippocampal synaptic contact zones
* Protects against stress-induced neuroendocrine changes
* Enhances long-term memory
* Increases learning capacity
* Prevents age-related memory deterioration
* Helps maintain a normal number of both axosomatic synapses and giant bouton vesicles
* Increases membrane fluidity and counters the increase in membrane viscosity seen both in aging and in neuronal lipid peroxidation
* Protects cell membranes from physical stress
* Reduces lipofuscin accumulation in neurons
* Helps neurons remain energetic by using alternate energy sources such as lipids and ketones
* Increases the efficiency of neuronal transmission
* Protects against ischemia/reperfusion induced cellular damage and lowers lactic acid levels and speeds recovery from ischemic events
* Protects neuronal RNA from damage
* Helps maintain cholinergic transmission between neurons
* Protects against DNA breakage
As Niner said stay away from the overmarked up supplements in health food stores and buy from Iherb, Swanson, etc. Also buy from established companies, like Life Extension Foundation, Now foods, Swanson, Healthy Origins, Dr.s Best, etc.

#6 DaneV

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 09:45 PM

I would be more worried about your hypochondria then these couple doses of ALCAR if I were you.
You can take grams of this stuff and still be 100% safe.
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#7 Watson

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:33 PM

In all seriousness, I think your self-inflicted stress and worry over this have in all probability caused you significantly more bodily harm than the ALCAR, which I believe is safe (and, in fact, beneficial). Learning how to manage stress, fear, and worry will be crucial to your success in health and in life in general. Educating yourself (about what's worth worrying over and about how to think about and deal with problems) will help you to do this better.
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#8 Spectre

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:19 AM

ALCAR is great for you, lol. Seriously though.

#9 Heinsbeans

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 05:03 AM

Thank you nightlight, your reply eased my anxiety.

The first time I took ALCAR I most likely drank green tea 4 hrs later. And when I took it again 6 days later, I definitely drank 3 cups of green tea 4 hrs later. Could my consumption of green tea 4 hrs later prevented any possible free radicals or would that have been already too late?

Perhaps I don't need to worry about free radicals from ALCAR so much since I heard that alcohol creates massive amounts of free radicals as well. Is it likely that my consumption of alcohol(150ml red wine, 13.5% alcohol and 188ml beer, 3.5% alcohol) produced more free radicals then from 500mg of ALCAR? I know this is a strange comparison but if it did then my fear towards ALCAR will totally vanish. Although that doesn't mean I'll keep drinking alcohol, I'll probably stop due to it having too many negatives.

Thanks.

#10 nupi

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:46 AM

Are you for real???

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#11 hbar

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:48 AM

If you're worried about oxidative stress and free radicals from a couple of very normal doses of ALCAR, you're probably going to die from stress long before any supplements you might take have had a chance to extend your life (if such a thing were possible).

You may think this is a sarcastic answer, but it's not. There's a reason others have said similar things, and that's because learning to live a more relaxed, reduced-stress life will do way more good for you than most/all supplements will. And on the flip side, the level of anxiety you seem to have had over just a couple of pills of ALCAR has probably done way more damage to your body than the ALCAR ever could have (if it actually did any damage at all).

My advice: relax, you're 20 years old for God's sake. At your age you probably don't want to be messing with a lot of supplements anyway. Eat well, drink modest amounts of wine/green tea, exercise, and supplement with essential nutrients that you aren't getting from your diet (most likely fish oil, magnesium, vitamin D).

The fact is that there are a million supplements out there, each one being pushed by its manufacturer as the be-all and end-all to perfect health and longevity. The truth, of course, is that while some of them may actually have positive benefits in humans that outweigh the negatives, many of them are just a waste of your time and money. There's still so much we don't know about what works and what doesn't work, and *why* certain supplements have the effects that they do. At your age, eating well and exercising should be all you need, and in another 20-30 years when you start getting up there a bit, there should be lots more scientific evidence for certain kinds of supplements.

One last piece of advice: just because someone has an MD, that doesn't mean they're giving you unbiased advice. Of course Dr. Weil thinks people should be taking ALCAR - his company sells a combination of ALCAR and ALA! You really think there's no financial incentive to promote the benefits of a supplement he sells? Unfortunately that's how it is with a lot of the "big" names in the supplement industry - you might initially think they've got your best interests at heart, but they're really in it for the money. What you should rely on are randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials (and even those you can't always trust), not the opinions and anecdotal evidence of people with questionable motives.
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