Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant made by the body. It is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants attack “free radicals,” waste products created when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells. This makes it harder for the body to fight off infections.
Other antioxidants work only in water (such as vitamin C) or fatty tissues (such as vitamin E). But alpha-lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble. That means it can work throughout the body. Antioxidants in the body are used up as they attack free radicals. But evidence suggests alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again (1).
An essential co-factor needed for the mitochondrial function is alpha-lipoic acid. Studies of alpha-lipoic acid examined its properties as a supplement to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. And, as a possible supplement for weight loss.
Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid can help you lose weight according to scientific research. A study published in the “American Journal of Medicine” in 2011, showed that obese people who took 1,800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid per day lost significantly more weight than people who used a placebo product. Another study published in “Current Pharmaceutical Design” in 2010, showed that a dose of 800 mg per day for four months cause a weight loss between 8 and 9 nine percent of body weight in obese or pre-obese teens (2).
Because it acts as an antidote to oxidative stress and inflammation, alpha-lipoic acid seems to fight damage done to the blood vessels, brain, neurons, and organs like the heart or liver (3).
1. Fights Diabetes and Diabetic Complications
Because alpha-lipoic acid can protect cells and neurons involved in hormone production, one benefit is it offers protection against diabetes. ALA is considered an effective drug in the treatment of diabetic distal sensory-motor neuropathy, which affects about 50 percent of people with diabetes. (4) In dietary supplement form, ALA seems to help improve insulin sensitivity and might also offer protection against metabolic syndrome (5) — a term given to a cluster of conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight. Some evidence also shows that it can help lower blood sugar levels.
2. Preserves Eye Health
Oxidative stress can damage nerves in the eyes and cause vision problems, especially in people with diabetes or older adults. Alpha lipoic acid has been used successfully to help control symptoms of eye-related disorders, including vision loss, macular degeneration, retinal damage, cataracts, glaucoma and Wilson’s disease. Results from certain studies demonstrate that long-term use of alpha-lipoic acid has beneficial effects on the development of retinopathy (6) since it halts oxidative damage that can result in modified DNA in the retina. (7)
3. Prevents Memory Loss and Cognitive Decline
Recent experiments using rats have shown that ALA can help reverse the damage in ageing cells of the brain, improve performance in memory tasks, lower oxidative damage and improve mitochondrial function, although we still don’t know how well these benefits can apply to ageing humans. (8)
4. Helps Boost Glutathione
Glutathione is considered the “master antioxidant” by many experts since it’s crucial for immunity, cellular health and disease prevention. Some studies have found that 300–1,200 milligrams of alpha lipoic acid helps increase the ability of glutathione to regulate the body’s immune response and fight off diseases like diabetes/insulin resistance (9) or even HIV/AIDS. (10) In adults, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid seems to positively impact patients with immune deficiency syndromes and serious viruses by restoring blood total glutathione levels and improving the functional reactivity of lymphocytes (11) to T-cell mitogens.
5. Might Help Protect Skin from Damage
Now, when it comes to battling physical signs of ageing on the skin, certain studies have found that topical treatment creams containing 5 percent alpha-lipoic acid can help reduce fine lines caused by exposure to sun ways. Skin damage is one side effect of high amounts of free radicals, which is why antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies are said to keep you looking young.
Here are some of the best food sources of alpha lipoic acid (12):
Organ meat (such as liver, hearts, kidneys from beef or chicken)
Alpha Lipoic Acid Dosage Recommendations
This depends on who you ask, but below are some general guidelines that are within the safe range:
50–100 milligrams for antioxidant purposes in generally healthy adults
600–800 milligrams for patients with diabetes (divided into two doses, usually tablets are 30–50 milligrams each)
600–1,800 milligrams for patients with neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy (13)
Possible Side Effects and Interactions of ALA
Alpha lipoic acid supplements haven’t been studied in children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Side effects of ALA in supplement form are generally rare but for some people can include: insomnia, fatigue, diarrhoea, skin rash or low blood sugar levels (especially in people with diabetes or low blood sugar who are taking medications).
However, speak to your doctor before taking extra alpha-lipoic supplements in these circumstances:
- having a thiamine deficiency (vitamin B1), associated with liver disease/alcohol abuse
- taking any medications for diabetes for insulin control
- recovering from chemotherapy treatment or taking cancer medications
- a history of having a thyroid disorder
We have an amazing dietary supplement in Cellgevity. It combines alpha-lipoic acid with 12 other synergistic organic ingredients to give you a great antioxidant boost for healthy life.
Culled from – DrAxe
1 – https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalipoic-acid
2 – https://www.livestrong.com/article/518207-how-to-avoid-heartburn-from-alpha-lipoic-acid/
3 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10693912
4 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23678828
5 – http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms
6 – https://nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy
7 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15561955
8 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22785389
9 – http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/insulin-resistance-prediabetes/Pages/index.aspx
10 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18315507
11 – http://www.cancer.gov/Common/PopUps/popDefinition.aspx?id=45765&version=Patient&language=English
12 – http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-alpha-lipoic-acid
13 – http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/basics/definition/con-20033336