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Alpha Lipoic Acid Overview

Alpha lipoic acid is an enzyme found in the mitochondria – the energy producing structures found inside each cell. As a dietary supplement, alpha-lipoic acid may act as a powerful antioxidant. Its action is enhanced by other nutrient antioxidants like vitamins C and E.

The body under optimum conditions may be able to manufacture enough alpha-lipoic acid for its metabolic functions (as a co-factor for a number of enzymes involved in converting fat and sugar to energy), but additional amounts provided by supplements allow alpha-lipoic acid to circulate in a "free" state. In this state, alpha-lipoic acid has the unique ability to function as both a water- and fat-soluble antioxidant. Most antioxidants are effective in only one area or the other. Vitamin C is usually restricted to the interior compartment of cells and the watery portion of blood, while vitamin E works at the lipid level of cell membranes. Also important is its role in the production of glutathione, one of the chief antioxidants produced directly by the body.

Dosage: Average dosage, 50-100 mg per day.

Side Effects: Alpha lipoic acid appears to be safe as a dietary supplement. Intakes of as much as 600 mg per day have been used for treatment of diabetic neuropathy, with no serious side effects.

(Source: www.supplementwatch.com)

Research Overview

1. Improves several indices of metabolic activity
2. Lowers the degree of oxidative stress
3. Reverses the declines in oxygen consumption and mitochondrial energy production that are commonly observed with aging
4. Enhances mitochondrial energy levels
5. Elevates levels of glutathione and ascorbic acid suggesting that it helps protect and/or recycle these antioxidants and contributes to the overall capacity of the body to neutralize free radical damage
6. May be helpful in patients with diabetes
a. Promotes the production of energy from fat and sugar in the mitochondria
b. Enhances removal of glucose from the bloodstream
c. Decreases insulin resistance
d. Treats peripheral neuropathy associated with diabetes.
e. The American Diabetes Association has suggested that alpha-lipoic acid plus vitamin E may be helpful in combating some of the health complications associated with diabetes, including heart disease, vision problems, nerve damage and kidney disease.
7. May help to protect the brain from damage following a stroke.
8. Prevents cellular damage (from free radicals)
9. Reduces oxidative stress

Alpha Lipoic Acid Abstracts (70)