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Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
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Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Discovered in 1951, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an important universal antioxidant that performs many many functions in the body. It is a fatty acid that is naturally found inside every cell in the body similar to choline.  It is necessary to produce energy.

Read on to find out what it is and why using supplements with ALA in them will benefit you.

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?

6360521 AlphaLipoicAcid 1 Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a fatty acid that is naturally found inside every cell in the body.  It is necessary to produce energy for the body’s everyday functions as it converts glucose into energy.  ALA is also an antioxidant that works in both water and fat, unlike some other antioxidants.  It can also recycle antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione after they have been used up by the body.  Glutathione is an important antioxidant and ALA increases the formation of glutathione.  It also enhances the antioxidant functions of vitamins C and E.

ALA directly supports detoxification within the liver.  It can prevent cell damage, regulate blood sugar levels, chelate toxic metals from the blood, and enhance mental function and muscular energy production.

Sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Sources for ALA include the following:

• naturally made in the body
• spinach
• broccoli
• peas
• Brewer’s yeast
• Brussels sprouts
• rice bran
• organ meats

Uses for Alpha Lipoic Acid

5617357 AlphaLipoicAcid 2 Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)ALA has a number of uses in the body.  These include:

• Peripheral neuropathy – ALA can improve symptoms of peripheral neuropathy as it works as an antioxidant in water and fatty tissues, allowing it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from damage.
• Brain function – because ALA can cross the blood-brain barrier, its antioxidant qualities protect brain and nerve tissues from damage.
• Age related conditions – because of its potent antioxidant qualities, ALA is excellent for protecting from free radical damage that contributes to aging and chronic illness.
• Diabetes – ALA can be used to reduce the pain, burning, parasthesia, and numbness associated with diabetic neuropathy, to increase glucose transport, and to improve cardiovascular function.
• Weight loss – research has shown that ALA may have benefits in controlling appetite, weight, and metabolism.  ALA influences the activity of AMPK, an enzyme that plays an important role in regulating appetite and metabolism.
• Detoxification – ALA increases the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that plays a role in the detoxification and elimination of potential carcinogens and toxins.  It is also a chelating agent, binding to heavy metals and assisting their removal from the body.
• Cardiovascular disease – ALA can protect against cardiovascular disease as it has a beneficial action on the oxidation of bad cholesterol, blood lipid profiles, plaque formation, and high blood pressure.
• Cognitive decline – because ALA can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, it may have an effect on improving memory and slowing age-related cognitive decline.
• Liver disease – ALA can help with the treatment of chronic hepatitis as it relieves stress on the liver and helps to rid the body of toxins.

TECHNICAL SUMMARY:

The power and benefits of ALA as an essential nutrient continues to be supported by research. ALA is increasingly found in higher dosages in leading nutritional products.This is a most potent antioxidant – it prevents healthy cells from getting damaged by unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. In fact, ALA has proved to be many times more potent than other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E; it even recycles C and E (as well as other antioxidants), enhancing their effectiveness. Because ALA dissolves in both water and fat, this so-called “universal antioxidant” is able to scavenge more free-radical cells than most antioxidants, the majority of which tend to dissolve in either fat or water but not both. Alpha-lipoic acid can reach tissues composed mainly of fat, such as the nervous system, as well as those made mainly of water, such as the heart. In addition to functioning as an antioxidant, ALA assists the B vitamins in producing energy from the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats consumed through foods. Alpha-lipoic acid is administered in hospitals to treat cases of acute poisoning that affect the liver. Studies indicate that alpha-lipoic acid supplements help in treating various disorders, including HIV infection, liver ailments, and glaucoma, as well as for preventing complications from diabetes. Specifically, alpha-lipoic acid helps to Treat symptoms of nerve damage in people with diabetes. In addition, because of its effect on glucose metabolism, lipoic acid may improve the glucose-lowering action of insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar). Alpha-lipoic acid may improve long-term memory. In addition, alpha-lipoic acid holds promise for preserving brain cells following a stroke or other type of trauma that restricts blood flow to the brain. As an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid holds promise for protecting the body against changes in healthy cells that lead to cancer. It lessen numbness and tingling in the body. In animal studies, alpha-lipoic acid increased blood flow to the nerves and improved transmission of nerve impulses. As an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid shields the liver from potentially harmful cell changes and assists it in flushing toxins from the body. This makes it useful in treating such liver disorders as chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Alpha-lipoic acid supplements have also proved effective in minimizing liver toxicity following exposure to poisons such as heavy metals (including lead) and toxic industrial chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride. Because it plays a part in cellular energy production, ALA helps in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Alpha-Lipoic Acid is a broad-spectrum antioxidant and immune-system booster. This means it may be able to play a valuable role in increasing energy and maintaining overall health in chronic-fatigue-syndrome sufferers.

ala molecule Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Potential Side Effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid

In some people, side effects of ALA may include headache, tingling or a feeling of pins and needles, skin rash, or muscle cramps.  The safety of ALA in pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or people with kidney or liver disease is unknown.

ALA may improve blood sugar control so people that have diabetes and that are on medication to lower blood sugar should only take ALA under medical supervision in order to avoid hypoglycaemia.  ALA may also alter thyroid hormone levels so people with thyroid issues that take thyroid medications should be closely monitored by a medical professional

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