Alpha Lipoic Acid - What is it? and Why We Should Be Using It
Found in the food sources of liver, brewer's yeast and potatoes. Alpha Lipoic Acid (also called Lipoic Acid or Thioctic Acid) was first isolated in 1957. It is a sulphurous fatty acid that was originally thought to be a member of the B vitamin family. It does not however qualify as a vitamin becuase the body can syntheis it in limited amounts. Certain diseases, environmental conditions and age can cause depletion.
Supplementation provides unique free radical protection and may help improve energy levels. Alpha Lipic Acid is involved in reactions in the cell that produce energy rich molecules from carbohydrates. It will dissolve in both fat and water and is able to neutralize fat and water soluble free radicals.
The Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Antioxidant- damage by free radicals may be the basis for the ageing process. They cause harmful chemical reactions that can injure cells, making it harder to fight off infections and lowering resistance to hear disease.
Diabetics- Alpha Lipoic Acid normalizes blood sugar levels in diabetes. As well as increasing energy levels it also appears to reduce the secondary effects of diabetes, including retinopathy, cataract formation, nerve and heart damage.
Liver protection- it has been speculated that Alpha Lipoic Acid may help in conditions where oxidative stress is involved and success has been recorded in a number of conditions relating to liver disease, including alcohol induced damage.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) -Alpha Lipoic Acid can penetrate eye tissues and protect both the lens and the retina from free radical damage.
HIV-there is evidence to suggest that Alpha Lipoic Acid maybe helpful in treating HIV positive patients because it has antioxidant effects and can reduce the activity of an enzyme reponsible for the replication of HIV from the DNA of white blood cells.
People with certain conditions such as diabetes, liver cirrhosis disease and HIV tend to have lower than normal levels of Alpha Lipoic Acid and these seem to experience the greatest benefit. Alpha lipoic Acid is involved in chemical reactions ar cell level that produce energy from carbohydrates. It is generally thought that Alpha Lipoic Acid regenerates or increases levels of other antioxidants like vitamin C , Vitamin E and glutathione (an antioxidant associated with longevity). There is however some recent evidence from animal studies that suggests Alpha lipoic Acid mimics the effects of vitamin E rather than regenerating the vitamin E itself. Alpha Lipoic acid is able to neutralise fat-soluble and water soluble free radicals, protecting both lipoproteins and membranes.Lipoproteins transport chloesterol and other fats in the blood and when damaged they can accumulate in the walls of blood vessels and restrict flow.
Side effects with Alpha Lipoic Acid are rare and include a skin rash. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) was found in human studies and altered thyroid hormone function was found in animal studies, so diabetics and people with thyroid disorders should take medical advice before taking this product.
Not recommened for use during pregnancy or lactation.
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