3 Ways an Oxaloacetate Supplement Can Protect You

3 Ways an Oxaloacetate Supplement Can Protect YouNeurotransmitters, on a very simplified level, are like mail carriers. They deliver messages to nerve cells that tell the neurons what to do. When they do their job correctly, everything works well.

But one particular neurotransmitter, glutamate, can become toxic to cells when there is too much of it. Glutamate can cause extensive brain damage in the event of a stroke or concussion, and it is a preferred fuel for many different types of cancer cells.

Researchers have discovered that oxaloacetate, an obscure molecule that plays a role in energy production, can remove excess glutamate from the bloodstream and has a protective effect against these hazards.

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1. Oxaloacetate increases energy production.

Cells can produce energy in two different ways. The more primitive, less effective method is glycolysis. The more advanced and efficient method is oxidative phosphorylation. This occurs in the mitochondria, and it produces eight times more energy than glycolysis—while using the same amount of fuel.[1]

Oxaloacetate is an important part of the metabolic cycle that allows oxidative phosphorylation to occur. Without this molecule, cells are forced to rely more heavily on glycolysis.[2] This can lead to decreased production of energy and a decreased supply of blood sugar. In fact, studies indicate that a lack of oxaloacetate can cause energy production to fall by nearly 500%.[3]

2. Oxaloacetate starves cancer.

Cancerous cells rely on simple sugars and glutamate for their fuel supply, and this is especially true for brain tumors.[4] Glutamate also allows cancer cells to grow and divide.[5] When simple sugars and glutamate are abundant, cancer cells can produce more energy. This makes them more capable of spreading and more resistant to treatment.

Fortunately, studies have shown that the consumption of an oxaloacetate supplement can decrease blood glutamate levels by 40%.[6,7] This leads to a reduction of tumor size and invasiveness.[8] Furthermore, patients who are given an oxaloacetate supplement experience an increased survival rate of 237%.[8]

3. Oxaloacetate reduces brain trauma.

In addition to its use as a cancer fuel, glutamate can also trigger the excitation of neurons.[9] This is especially dangerous to stroke victims, and over time, it causes damage to brain cells. However, as oxaloacetate removes glutamate from the bloodstream, glutamate in the brain and spinal fluid is forced to exit, as well.[10]

This allows the brain to recover from strokes and traumatic injuries.[10] Without glutamate, neurons can naturally restore their long-term potentiation, allowing the cells to transmit signals more quickly, which leads to faster neural communication and improved brain function.

How to find an oxaloacetate supplement

Because oxaloacetate is a cellular metabolite, there is no effective way to obtain it from dietary sources. It must be refined and used as a supplement, and is available in capsule form.  As a natural part of the body’s cellular processes, oxaloacetate is a safe supplement with no side effects. Read about another glutamate-fighting supplement, N-acetyl cysteine here.

Share your experience

Have you tried an oxaloacetate supplement? Share your experience with the readers of Natural Health Advisory by commenting below.


[1] The Cell: A Molecular Approach. 2nd edition.

[2] Biochemistry. 5th edition.

[3] J Neurochem. 1988 Mar;50(3):673-80.

[4] Invest New Drugs. 2012 Feb 2.

[5] Trends Biochem Sci. Aug 2012; 35(8): 427-433.

[6] Exp Neurol. 2007 Jan;203(1):213-20.

[7] Neurotherapeutics. July 2012; 9(3): 649-657.

[8] Invest New Drugs. 2012 Feb 2.

[9] Stroke. 1996 Jun;27(6):1060-5.

[10] Eur J Pharmacol. 2009 Feb 14;604(1-3):51-7.

Originally published in 2014, this post has been updated.

  • Gloria

    The article about oxaloacetate was good but vague in telling how much to take and the best way to take it.

  • Jeff R.

    I’m glad that you mentioned that. The studies listed used 1 dose of about 3.5mg of oxaloacetate (when converted to a human dose), and glutamate reducing affects were seen after 1-2 days.

    Oxaloacetate is a small piece of a complicated biological pathway, so it’s overlooked and not well known as a supplement; making it difficult to find. I would look for it in capsule form, or ask a naturopathic doctor. I first learned about it at a conference with some doctors who were using it as a chemotherapeutic agent.

    In the case of brain cancer or stroke, I think it is a very important tool to consider.

  • Jeff R.

    Thanks for asking. To be honest, it’s a pretty obscure supplement right now, which is a good thing because that tells you it isn’t a gimmick that someone’s trying to profit from. I’ll ask some ND herbalists if they know a good source, and then post back here in the comments in a couple of days.

  • Hello;
    Try searching for it as Oxaloacetic acid. It’s the same thing, just a different chemical name. I was able to find a few different options that way.

  • I read somewhere in one of these articles that Benedene has the patent on it in a certain heated form. That may be why we can’t find it other places (except Bulletproof). Here’s the link to Benedene but I’ve had good luck with other Bulletproof products and trust the company so I will stick with them unless it get’s cheaper somewhere else. http://www.benagene.com

  • JOYCE C.

    I have been taking this supplement, along with Magnesium Oxide for about 3 weeks now. I’ve had an Essential Tremor for a number of years now. My GP more or less told me it’s quite common and had to be endured. Eventually, being fed up, I Googled it. I found that taking the 2 supplements has helped some people who left testimonials. Oxaloacetate, from Bulletproof was not cheap but decided to give it 2 months. I can honestly say that I feel that my tremor has improved and I am quietly optimistic.

  • Devin T.

    Regarding dosage and administration, the studies about reducing glutamate levels (references 6 and 7) were rodent studies that the oxaloacetate was injected one that states it was effective at 1 mmol/100 g, the other was at 250mg/kg. Not sure how to scale this based on mmol concentration, but the 250mg/kg would be about 60mg/kg for a human. For an average human, that’s 4.3g to 5.2g… Injected. Assuming it is all absorbed fairly quickly and completely, you could take it orally. No product on the market could really give you that right now. I have yet to find the concentration of oxaloacetate in vinegars. Malic acid on the other hand is a pretty good substitute as it is a precursor and a bit more readily available in over the counter supplements.

  • Thomas d.

    I started taking BeneGene, which contains 100 mg/capsule and niagen which contains 250 mg of nicotinamide riboside about 20 days ago, and one of them is giving m a problem. I am 80 years old enrolled in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, exercise quite regularly, I’m down to 118 pounds.
    A few days ago I was happily and easily exercising on a stationary bike for over 30 minutes and it felt like I could go on much longer, but then I felt something was wrong, looked at the pulse registered on the machine (not always accurate) which was at 140. My limit should be 120, and since I noticed that my blood vessels really stood out above my skin and that it did feel like my heart was racing, so I moved to a treadmill at the lowest setting, but after about five minutes I decided to just stop. Yesterday after walking around the mall (for exercise) for 30 minutes I had the sensation that my legs could keep right on walking but my chest felt tight and I was experiencing shortness of breath even though my oximeter reading were in a range normal for me.
    Additionally, about two months ago I started taking Acetyl L-Carnitine.
    I would appreciate any thoughts about which compound might be most likely problematic for me, or perhaps the dosage is too high,

    Thank you,
    Thomas deLackner

  • I take benaGene as recommended by my doctor. It is oxaloacetate with vitamin C. I buy it on Amazon.

  • Thomas,
    I have also been taking 250mg NR and BeneGene for a few months now. You might try taking the NR and OAA at different times. I found some odd side effects when I took them together. I now take my NR in the morning and my OAA in the afternoon. I do a little burst cardio 3 days a week. Basically I get on an elliptical machine with a built in heart rate monitor and get myself up to 125 BPM as quickly as I can. It usually takes about 90 seconds. Then I control my effort to hold my HR at around 125 for the next 5 minutes. When I first started taking these supplements it seemed like my HR kept wanting to keep climbing. I found myself bursting up to 135. Taking the OAA later in the day seems to have straightened this out for me.
    Overall, the changes in my cardio benchmark after 3 months, I get to my target HR quicker and it takes less effort to hold the target. My breathing is a little easier (I sing under my breath), my HR recovery is quicker and my calorie burn looks about the same.

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