What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)?
In the late 1980s, scientists realized that alpha-lipoic acid, a compound
initially classified as a vitamin when it was discovered three decades
earlier, possessed potent antioxidant properties that could prevent healthy
cells from getting damaged by unstable oxygen molecules called free
radicals. In fact, this vitamin-like compound has proved to be many times
more potent than such old guard antioxidants as vitamins C and E. As a
perk, it even recycles C and E (as well as other antioxidants), enhancing
*This revolutionary anti-oxidizing supplement that rejuvenates your body's
cell to give you glowing, radiant skin and increased energy.
Because it dissolves in both water and fat, this so-called "universal
antioxidant" is able to scavenge more wayward 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
See All LifeSource Vitamins Alpha Lipoic Acid Products, Articles, and Studies:
ALA is a powerful antioxidant, soluble in both water and lipid. Alpha
Lipoic Acid is called the "Universal Antioxidant" because of its dual
solubility. ALA is called Metabolic Antioxidant because it plays a vital
role in the energy production of the cells. Able to reach and protect both
water and lipid portions of skin with potent antioxidant benefits. "Spares"
levels of other antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and E, which are naturally,
present in cells, thus working to increase their levels. Dual solubility
enables ALA to be rapidly available to the skin. The skin develops a
healthy youthful glowing appearance. Gentle yet powerful -- 400 times more
potent an antioxidant than Vitamins C or E. Present naturally in the skin.
Promotes optimum efficiency for the production of energy and aids in
Also known as lipoic acid or thioctic acid, Alpha-Lipoic Acid is mainly
derived from dietary sources (spinach, liver, brewer's yeast), although
scientists have discovered that the body does manufacture small supplies of
its own. In order to get the concentrated doses needed to treat specific
ailments, however, many experts recommend supplements.
The body needs ALA to produce energy. It plays a crucial role in the
mitochondria, the energy-producing structures in cells. The body actually
makes enough ALA for these basic metabolic functions. This compound acts as
an antioxidant, however, only when there is an excess of it and it is in
the "free" state in the cells. But there is little free ALA circulating in
your body unless you consume supplements or get it injected. Foods contain
only tiny amounts of it. What makes ALA special as an antioxidant is its
versatility-it helps deactivate an unusually wide array of cell-damaging
free radicals in many bodily systems. In particular, ALA helps protect the
mitochondria and the genetic material, DNA. As we age, mitochondrial
function is impaired, and it's theorized that this may be an important contributor to some of the adverse effects of aging. ALA also works closely
with vitamin C and E and some other antioxidants, "recycling" them and thus
making them much more effective.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is being studied in animals and in humans as a
preventive and/or treatment for many age-related diseases. These range from
heart disease and stroke to diabetes and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
disease, as well as declines in energy, muscle strength, brain function,
and immunity. It is also being studied for HIV disease and multiple
sclerosis. In Germany it is already prescribed to treat long-term
complications of diabetes, such as nerve damage, thought to result in part
from free-radical damage; there is also evidence that it can help decrease
insulin resistance and thus help control blood sugar.
Most of the metabolic reactions in which alpha-lipoic acid participates
occur in mitochondria. These include the oxidation of pyruvic acid (as
Pyruvate) by the Pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme complex and the oxidation of
alpha-ketoglutarate by the alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase enzyme
complex. It is also a cofactor for the oxidation of branched-chain amino
acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) via the branched-chain alpha-keto
acid dehydrogenase enzyme complex.
For Weight Lifting - Body Building - Elite Athletes - & Individuals
who Work out regularly:
- Powerful Antioxidant and mimics insulin*
- Enhances Glucose Utilization*
- Enhance Amino Acid Transport*
Lowers Blood Sugar*
- Increases Creatine Uptake*
- ALA increases your muscles uptake of glycogen. This increases muscle cell
volume and contributes to that full pumped feeling when you work out.*
- This is a very desirable effect as the increase in muscle glycogen also
increases other important nutrient transport that contributes to cell
volume and muscle growth.*
- ALA is not thermogenic but it does appear to contribute to favorable body
composition changes. This is believed to be due to a nutrient partitioning
effect where nutrients are channeled more to lean tissue and away from fat
- ALA will help enhance the efficiency of many different supplements. One,
in particular, is Kre-Alkalyn or LifeSource's buffered creatine. ALA will
help enhance the absorption of Kre-Alkalyn (creatine) into the muscle cell
by providing a transport vehicle by its unique ability to mimic insulin. As
we said in an earlier answer, you must use ALA in a capsule form and not in
a pre-mixed powder.*
- ALA is also one of the most potent antioxidants available. And, when
taken with other antioxidants it actually enhances their antioxidant
Alpha Lipoic Acid is approved in Germany as a drug for the treatment of
polyneuropathies, such as diabetic and alcoholic polyneuropathies, and
liver disease, as well as an approved treatment for diabetic neuropathy.
Numerous studies in both animals and humans have produced promising results
with lipoic acid in this neuropathy. In animal models and culture studies,
lipoic acid has demonstrated antioxidant properties that help reduce or
eliminate a sequence of events that include reduced endoneurial blood flow
and oxygen tension, which are pre-requisites of neuropathy. In addition,
some of these studies have revealed favorable lipoic acid effects that
appear to be independent of its antioxidant properties, including increased
glucose uptake, promotion of new neurite growth and chelation of transition
metals thought to play a role in diabetic neuropathy.
In some animal experiments, lipoic acid, administered for up to three
months, significantly reversed the increase in nerve vascular resistance
and the decrease in nerve blood flow in diabetic rats. Nerve conduction
velocity was entirely restored in some nerve groups after three months of
treatment. Human clinical trials have been similarly encouraging. In one of
these studies, subjects received 200 milligrams of intravenous lipoic acid
daily. After 21 days, significant pain reduction was achieved in most
In a larger, multi-center, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled
study of 328 patients with type 2 diabetes, significant improvements were
recorded in several clinical measures of diabetic polyneuropathy, including
pain, numbness, paresthesia and burning sensations. These results were
evident after three weeks of intravenous lipoic acid given five times
weekly in doses of 600 and 1200 milligrams. Pill form you should try 500 to
1,000 mg per day. Only after consulting your doctor!
Nerve conduction velocity has not been shown to improve in the short-term
human studies conducted so far. One group of researchers has suggested that
proof of neurophysiological improvement in these neuropathies may emerge
from long-term lipoic acid supplementation studies, as has been the case in
some animal model studies. "A period of several years," they have observed,
"is required to slow progression of diabetic neuropathy due to
normalization of blood glucose levels."
There is evidence, too, that lipoic acid may help prevent or slow the
development of atherosclerosis for which diabetics are at higher risk. It
may do this, in part, through a gene-regulatory mechanism that helps
prevent endothelial cell activity that has been implicated in the
progression of atherosclerosis.
With respect to atherosclerosis, in general, lipoic acid's antioxidant and
metabolic effects appear to offer some protection, as demonstrated in
various animal models. Recently, researchers demonstrated, in a 16-week
randomized trial, that lipoic acid, in oral doses of 600 milligrams daily
for eight weeks, significantly inhibits the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in
healthy human subjects. The supplements also significantly reduced levels
of F-2 isoprostanes, markers of oxidative stress. In this study, lipoic
acid proved to be superior to vitamin E in decreasing levels of plasma
protein carbonyls. Protein oxidation and LDL-cholesterol oxidation are
implicated in heart disease.
Various animal studies have suggested that lipoic acid can prevent or
reduce cell and tissue damage in heart attacks and stroke. There is
extensive animal work showing that lipoic acid can exert significant
protective effects against ischemia-reperfusion injury.
ALA is believed to work in this context, at least in part, through its
antioxidant properties and its reported ability to increase cellular levels
of glutathione that are typically depleted by the reactive oxygen species
formation that characterizes ischemia-reperfusion. More research is needed
to further elucidate these mechanisms and determine whether these results
will apply to humans.
Animal work is also suggestive of some modest benefit from lipoic acid in
the treatment of various neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's
disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and
Huntington's disease. Results to date, however, remain inconclusive.
Clinical studies are needed. There is some evidence that children afflicted
with inborn errors of Pyruvate metabolism may derive some benefit from
lipoic acid treatment. Those with Wilson's disease, a genetic disorder
characterized by disturbed copper metabolism, may be helped by lipoic acid
as well. The supplement has also proved useful in conferring some
protection against cadmium poisoning and hexane inhalation. It has also
been used in some liver toxicities, such as Amanita phalloides mushroom
ALA's role in immunity is not well understood. There are reports that it
can augment antibody response in some animal models of immunosuppression.
This research warrants a follow-up.
Claims that lipoic acid slows the aging of the brain and is an anti-aging
substance generally seem to be related to its potent antioxidant
properties. Direct proof of anti-aging is lacking, but there is some animal
work suggestive of some possible anti-aging effects.
Rats were fed a lipoic-acid supplemented diet to see whether the substance
can reverse age-related declines in metabolism and mitochondrial function.
Un-supplemented aged rats (24 to 26 months) exhibited ambulatory activity,
said to be a general measure of metabolic activity, which was threefold
lower than that of young controls. But this decline was significantly
reversed in similarly aged rats supplemented with lipoic acid for two
Diabetic Neuropathy presents a major public health problem. It is defined
by the symptoms and signs of peripheral nerve dysfunction in diabetic
patients, in whom other causes of neuropathy have been excluded.
PATHOGENETIC MECHANISMS THAT HAVE BEEN IMPLICATED IN DIABETIC
a) increased flux through the polyol pathway, leading to accumulation of
sorbitol, a reduction in myo-inositol, and an associated reduced
Na+-K+-ATPase activity, and b) endoneurial microvascular damage and hypoxia
due to nitric oxide inactivation by increased oxygen Free radical activity.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid seems to delay or reverse peripheral diabetic neuropathy
through its multiple antioxidant properties. Treatment with alpha-lipoic
acid increases reduced glutathione, an important endogenous antioxidant. In
clinical trials, 600 mg alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve
neuropathic deficits. This review focuses on the relationship of
alpha-lipoic acid and auto-oxidative glycosylation. It discusses the impact
of alpha-lipoic acid on hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress and examines
the role of alpha-lipoic acid in preventing glycation process and nerve
LifeSource Vitamins Alpha Lipoic Acid - ALA - Shown to help with Anti
Aging, skin, hair and overall health, Jumpy Leg Syndrome, restless legs,
HIV / AIDS, Alzheimer's patients, including preventative. Cataracts and
Glaucoma Diabetes, Fat Loss, Heart health.
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