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Information Article on ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)

ntioxidants are known for their anti aging properties. They fight free radicals created in our bodies from stress, aging, pollution and bad diet that can create cell damage and contribute to chronic disease. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a fairly new antioxidant and shows promise as being one of the most important discoveries in the antioxidant field.
Although Alpha lipoic acid has been known since the 1950s, it was originally thought to be a vitamin and wasn't classified as an antioxidant until 1988. All antioxidants basically work the same - they are chemicals that get rid of free radicals - destructive chemicals produced by the body and thought to contribute to aging and ailments ranging from heart disease to stroke.

What's Different About Alpha Lipoic Acid?

Alpha Lipoic Acid is soluble in both water and fat, which means it can move into all parts of the cell to neutralize free radicals. It's the only antioxidant that can reach the brain. It is a metabolic antioxidant, which means it is important for cell metabolism or the energy of the cell.

The body actually makes enough alpha-lipoic acid for cell metabolism,however it acts as an antioxidant only when there is an excess of it and it is in the "free" state in the cells. There is little free alpha-lipoic acid circulating in your body, unless you consume supplements. It is readily absorbed when taken orally, and once inside cells is shortly changed to its most powerful form, dihydrolipoic acid.

What Are The Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid?
  • It is currently utilized in Europe to treat peripheral nerve degeneration (neuropathy) resulting from diabetes.
  • It helps make Vitamin C and Vitamin E work better
  • It is used to treat and detox the liver
  • Protects and repairs cells
  • Scientists are discovering it may be helpful in treating or preventing cataracts, atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks, and memory and brain function.
What's the Best Form of Alpha Lipoic Acid?

Actually, there are two forms of Alpha Lipoic Acid and if you're not vigilant, you could be taking the wrong form. Most supplements are selling a type of Lipoic Acid that consists of both forms of the antioxidant, called S and R. You should be looking for R - Lipoic Acid which is the only form of lipoic acid that your body synthesizes and can safely metabolize. Unless the label specifically states that it is R Lipoic Acid, you are most likely getting the blend.

Are there Any Side Effects?

Alpha Lipoic Acid seems to have very few side effects. The recommended dosage is between 50 - 100 mg per day. Higher doses can result in nausea and upset stomach. Alpha lipoic acid may benefit blood sugar control, so people with diabetes who are taking medication to lower blood sugar should only take it under their physician's supervision. Animal studies indicate that alpha lipoic acid may alter thyroid hormone levels, so it could theoretically have the same effect in humans. People taking thyroid medications such as levothyroxine should be monitored by their health care provider.

As always, you should check with your physician before taking any supplements and also look into hormone and vitamin deficiency testing.

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