Alpha Lipoic Acid to Feel Young Again

Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH

According the the shocking results of a study in which old rats were given Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acethyl L-carnitine the two antioxidants were so effective that they made the old rats younger!

Alpha lipoic acid, (also known as lipoic acid and thioctic acid) is a sulphur-containing vitamin-like antioxidant. It is produced naturally in the body and found in the food sources of brewer’s yeast, potatoes and other foods. Alpha lipoic acid has dual role in human health; it is a powerful antioxidant and a key component for producing cellular energy. As an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid is unique in that it is both water- and fat-soluble; thus it can be used throughout the body. It also extends and enhances the effect of other antioxidants, which are used to defend the body against free radical damage.

In its metabolic role, alpha lipoic acid is a fundamental coenzyme in two vital reactions that lead to the production of cellular energy (ATP). Alpha lipoic acid is not considered a vitamin, but is termed a “conditionally essential” nutrient. This is because presumably the body can produce sufficient levels or it is acquired in sufficient quantities from food. The human body can make enough alpha lipoic acid to prevent a recognizable deficiency disease, though not enough to perform all its functions. The optimal level of alpha lipoic acid varies with each person depending on biochemical differences, lifestyle, exercise and how much oxidative stress they experience. Certain diseases, environmental conditions and age can cause a deficiency in lipoic acid, and thus the body often doesn’t make enough to meet all its metabolic and antioxidant need.
Alpha lipoic acid is involved in the metabolic process of converting carbohydrates into energy. When sugar is metabolized in the production of energy, it is converted into pyruvic acid. The pyruvate is broken down by an enzyme complex that contains lipoic acid, niacin and thiamine. Since the human body tends to have only the minimum amount of alpha lipoic acid to prevent recognizable disease, supplementation may help improve energy metabolism. This is particularly applicable in people with lower than normal levels.As an antioxidant, since alpha lipoic acid is both water-and fat-soluble, it is effective against a broader range of free radicals than vitamin C (water soluble) and vitamin E (fat-soluble). Because of it unique size and chemical structure, lipoic acid has access to virtually the entire body, whereas most antioxidants only protect isolated areas of the body. Inside the cell, alpha lipoic acid is quickly broken down to dihydrolipoic acid, and even more potent free-radical scavenger.
Supplementation with lipoic acid wards off scurvy (vitamin C deficiency).ALA is also used in cases of liver cirrhosis, heart disease, cataracts, heavy-metal toxicity and detoxification support. For use as a general antioxidant, the recommended dose is 20 to 50 mg daily. Although lipoic acid deficiency states have not been demonstrated in human beings, animal studies show that a deficiency of lipoic acid results in reduced muscle mass, brain atrophy, failure to thrive and increased lactic acid accumulation.

Alpha lipoic acid has been used in Europe for over three decades to treat europathy, to help regulate blood sugar, and prevent retinopathy and cardiopathy. It is an approved drug in Germany for the treatment of neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid normalizes blood sugar levels and also reduces the secondary effects such as retinopathy, cataract formation, nerve and heart damage, as well as increasing energy levels. Alpha lipoic acid helps control blood sugar by facilitating the conversion of sugar into energy. Alpha lipoic acid reduces glycation (also known as glycosylation), which is the process in which proteins react with excess glucose. This sugar reaction to protein is just as detrimental as oxygen damage (free radical damage). Alpha lipoic acid helps to keep blood sugar levels under control and reduced levels of glucose mean less glycation. This is important in reducing side effects and slowing aging. In summary, alpha lipoic acid’s effect on blood sugar regulation is through its potent antioxidant capabilities, as well improving blood sugar metabolism, reducing glycosylation of proteins, improving blood flow to the peripheral nerves, and actually stimulating regeneration of nerve fibers.Glutathione is a major cellular antioxidant. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant and facilitator of glutathione production. A strong antioxidant defense system can help prevent this oxidative damage and help keep the immune system strong.

A study was conducted by Dr. Fuchs and colleagues, to determine the short-term effect of supplemental lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid was given as a supplement (150 mg three times daily for a two week period) to patients. Lipoic acid supplementation increased total glutathione in seven of seven patients, plasma ascorbate in nine of ten patients, total plasma sulfur groups in eight of nine patients, and T helper lymphocytes and T helper/suppressor cell ratio in six of ten patients.

Alpha lipoic acid has been beneficial to patients suffering with peripheral neuropathy, a damaging side effect of chemotherapy. Lipoic acid also protects against cell damage as a result of its potent antioxidant effects. Lipoic acid protects a complex called Nuclear Factor kappa-B and prevents it from activating oncogenes. Oncogenes are genes that contribute to dangerous cell proliferation. When these genes are altered by either NF kappa-B or a carcinoen, they cause the cell to become malignant. Lipoic acid can enter the cytosol of cells and protect NF kappa-B from activation by free radical, radiation, or even sunlight.

Alpha lipoic acid may be helpful in other conditions including Liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, heart disease, cataracts, heavy metal toxicity, and support during detoxification. Its role in detoxification is as a chelator (remover) of heavy metals and toxic minerals from the body. Alpha lipoic acid protects the nervous system and may be involved in regenerating the nerves. It is being studied in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Alpha lipoic acid has been shown to improve antibody response in immunosuppressed animals (Quillin 1998).

Alpha lipoic acid has been shown to prevent oxidative stress in neuronal (nerve) tissue. Lipoic acid helps maintain glutathione levels which are found to be depleted in conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Examination of current research reveals protective effects of lipoic acid in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, excitotoxic amino acid brain injury, mitochondrial dysfunction, neuropathy, inborn errors of metabolism, and other causes of acute or chronic damage to brain or neural tissue.

ALA is a potent antioxidant and is used to regenerate glutathione. It offers particular benefits in skin health through preventing glycation (the free radical damage caused by sugar’s toxic effects) causing collagen ‘cross-linking’. When collagen cross-links, it becomes stiff and inflexible, leading to the wrinkling and stiffness of old skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant that is used throughout the body to neutralise damaging free radicals. Scientists have discovered that teamwork between Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl L Carnitine can increase energy in muscle cells and allow you to lead a more active lifestyle. It is also useful for brain function and memory and may help beat the signs of ageing.

Alpha Lipoic Acid 250mg Capsules may help to balance blood sugar levels, slow down the signs of ageing, lower cholesterol level and improve cognitive functions of the brain.

Alpha lipoic acid supplementation is very safe. In over 30 years of extensive use and testing in European clinical trials in the treatment of neuropathy, there have been no reported side effects. As a precaution, until further information is available, alpha lipoic acid is not recommended for pregnant women.

Dr. Packer suggests that Alpha Lipoic Acid may compete with Biotin and interfere with its activity in human organism. For this reason, Biotin is recommanded if the daily intake of Alpha Lipoic acid exceeds 200mg.

Potential Applications: Blood sugar regulation, liver cirrhosis, heart disease, cataracts, neuropathy, immunity, retinopathy, skin health and memory.

Contraindications: As a precaution, until further information is known Alpha Lipoic Acid should not be used during pregnancy.


– Dr Axe: Alpha Lipoic Acid: Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Fight Diabetes >

– Over a hundred Amazing Abstracts based on Alpha-Lipoic Acid Research >



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