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An Amazing Antioxidant: Alpha-lipoic Acid

An Amazing Antioxidant: Alpha-lipoic Acid | Mr Vitamins
Every cell in your body naturally contains small quantities of the powerful antioxidant Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA*) where it performs the vital function of turning glucose into energy.

What are antioxidants and what makes Alpha-lipoic acid special?

Antioxidants attack free radicals, produced when your body turns food into energy. They prevent the free radicals from damaging cells, tissues and organs and are themselves use up in the process. However ALA is both fat and water-soluble, unlike other antioxidants, and it may be that this property enables it to regenerate other ‘used up’ antioxidants and make them active again.

How can Alpha-lipoic acid help me?

1.    Brain Function

ALA passes easily into your brain where it may be able to protect nerve tissue. Research is being carried out to see if it can help with brain damage caused by free radicals leading to stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease etc.

2.    Glaucoma

This is an eye disease caused by a build up of intraocular pressure leading to optic nerve damage and is the second most common cause of blindness in the US (after macular degeneration). Studies have shown that this eye pressure can be reduced by changes to diet and supplementation with ALA.

3.    Cardiovascular Disease

Promising results have been produced from studies** indicating that ALA:

  • Provided protection against LDL oxidation
  • Changed the action of genes controlling Cholesterol such that enzymes acting as free radical scavengers were increased and LDL production lowered

4.    Diabetes

ALA appears to lower blood sugar levels and help diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pain, burning, tingling etc in arms and legs) though this may only be through intravenous use of ALA, it is as yet unclear whether taking it orally will help.

5.    Anti-aging

The anti-aging properties of ALA lie in its antioxidant activity but it is also being used topically as well as orally to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Am I producing enough Alpha-lipoic acid?

Although you produce enough ALA in your body if you are healthy, the active form (R-Isomer) is found in the following foods
  • Red meat
  • Organ meats, kidneys, liver
  • Yeast (especially Brewer’s Yeast) and in small quantities in
  • Leafy green vegetables, Spinach, Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Tomatoes

Taking Alpha-lipoic acid supplements

ALA can also be taken as a supplement – so our best advice is to ‘ask a Naturopath’ about whether taking Alpha-lipoic acid is best for you as well as the recommended dosage.

Mr Vitamins recommends

Nutralife Alpha_lipoic_acid_200_100cNutralife Alpha Lipoic Acid 200

This potent supplement provides 200mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), a potent free radical scavenger. ALA is known as “the universal antioxidant” because it can dissolve in both water and fat. Find out more about Nutralife Alpha Lipoic Acid and shop online here N.B. If you are currently taking any of the following medications, you should not use alpha-lipoic acid without first talking to your health care practitioner. Medications for diabetes -- Alpha-lipoic acid can combine with these drugs to lower blood sugar levels, raising the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Chemotherapy medications -- Alpha lipoic acid may interfere with some chemotherapy medications. Thyroid medications, Levothyroxine -- Apha-lipoic acid may lower levels of thyroid hormone.
  • In the cells of the body, alpha-lipoic acid is changed into dihydrolipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid is not the same as alpha linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help heart health and is also sometimes abbreviated ALA. Alpha-lipoic acid is also sometimes called lipoic acid.
** See http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalipoic-acid  

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