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Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid
What is Alpha-lipoic acid? Is it a laundry detergent for your clothes? An elite fraternity at an Ivy League school? Or a nutritional powerhouse protecting your body from nasty free radicals?
Also, called Alpha-lipoate, thioctic acid, or just lipoic acid, ALA is sometimes abbreviated as LA. It is easy to confuse Alpha-lipoic acid with alpha linolenic acid (abbreviated “ala” - small “a”). Be careful when reading about LA, ALA or ala, so you can differentiate between them.
Often referred to as the “universal” antioxidant, the unique part about ALA is that it has the ability to function in either water or fat. This is unlike other antioxidants, such as vitamin C (water-soluble) or vitamin E (fat-soluble). An interesting note, ALA also helps “recycle and restore”, as it regenerates antioxidants, (particularly vitamin C and E), while assisting the production of glutathione, another powerful antioxidant.
Besides being produced by the body, ALA can be found in foods, such as spinach, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts, whole grain rice, potatoes, and organ meats. Dietary supplements provide additional support – best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach.
Benefits of Alpha lipoic acid:
- May help balance diabetes glucose levels and nerve-related symptoms. The combined antioxidant and hypoglycemic actions of ALA may protect against kidney complications and other problems associated with diabetes.
- Provides nerve support and protection for those with Peripheral Neuropathy. Studies have shown 600 mg of ALA is best tolerated and also provides benefits for this condition.
- Strong anti-inflammatory agent.
- Crosses the blood-brain barrier, and helps protect the brain from free radical damage and memory-loss. Because ALA can pass easily into the brain, it has protective effects on brain and nerve tissue.
- Studies found that animals treated with ALA suffered less brain damage and had four times greater survival rate after a stroke than animals who did not receive this supplement.
- May protect skin from photodamage and aging.
- May protect against free radical damage, which contributes to accelerated aging and chronic diseases, such as chronic fatigue symptom, HIV/AIDS, cancer, liver disease, and even cardiac autonomic neuropathy.
- A study has shown that Hepatitis C may be improved with the triple antioxidant combination of ALA, silymarin and selenium.
- Recommended for cataracts, glaucoma, and eye disease, such as Wilson’s disease.
- Studies show there may be helpful benefits for multiple sclerosis, cholesterol imbalance, liver disease, pancreatic disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, and stroke patients.
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements are available as capsules. It may also be given by injection under the supervision of a health care provider.
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