The Health Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is also called thioctic acid or just lipoic acid and abbreviated ALA — but don't confuse it with the other ALA, alpha linoleic acid – which is an omega fatty acid. Alpha lipoic acid is a compound found naturally inside every cell in the body. It's needed by the body to produce the energy for our body's normal functions.
Alpha lipoic acid is also an antioxidant, a substance that neutralizes potentially harmful chemicals called free radicals. What makes alpha lipoic acid unique is that it functions in water and fat, unlike the more common antioxidants like vitamin C and E.
1. Lipoic Acid Lowers Inflamation
You know we can’t talk enough about the benefits of lowering inflammation! Abnormal inflammatory responses contribute to diseases such as diabetes, pain, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and many many other diseases.
2. Lipoic Acid Prevents and Helps Improve Diabetes
Taking alpha-lipoic acid improves blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes with it’s insulin-mimeticing activity, and by improving the body’s handling of glucose as well as it’s utilization. Lipoic acid also increases glutathione (GSH) levels In patients with diabetes, where diabetes often lowers GSH. In patients with type-2 diabetes, lipoic acid improved erectile dysfunction, reduced BMI, overall cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides.
3. Nerve Pain/ Neuropathy
Europe has licensed alpha-lipoic acid for the treatment of neuropathy (nerve damage). It has been shown to improve symptoms such as stabbing, burning, the feeling of limbs and/or toes being asleep, numbness, and prickling sensations. It is suggested that it is best to take 600-1800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid per day (lower doses do not work for nerve pain) for neuropathy, and to give it time as it may take up to 4-6 weeks before feeling results.
4. Lipoic Acid Relieves Pain
Not only does lipoic acid improves the quality of life in patients with neuropathy, it also has shown that it decreases sciatic pain caused by a herniated disc, relieves chronic neck pain, and reduces symptoms and impairment from carpel tunnel, as well as reducing postoperative pain after carpal tunnel surgery.
5. Lipoic Acid May Improve Osteoarthritis
Studies have shown that lipoic acid decreased inflammation and ameliorated cartilage degeneration.
6. Lipoic Acid Increases Weight Loss
Research suggests that taking alpha-lipoic acid for 8-48 weeks can reduce body weight in people who are overweight. Even without dieting, lipoic acid can greatly improve glucose and fat metabolism resulting in more sugars and fats being broken down in foods and used for energy instead of being stored as fat. This was shown to also results in the urge to eat less.
Lipoic acid has also shown to inhibit the production of chimeric, a molecule that is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome.
7. Lipoic Acid Improve Metabolic Syndrome
Lipoic acid improves cholesterol, reduces weight, reduces insulin resistance and blood pressure, all contributing factors of metabolic syndrome.
8. Lipoic Acid Decreases Bad Cholesterol
Studies confirm that lipoic acid reduces LD cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
9. Improves Aging Skin and Sun Damaged Skin
Alpha-lipoic acid reduces fine lines and skin roughness caused by sun damage and improves elasticity and reduces wrinkles and roughness of aging skin.
10. Lipoic Acid Fights Cancer
Cell-based and animal model studies have shown that lipoic acid inhibits the initiation and promotion stages of cancer. Lipoic acid has shown the ability to inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation, and decrease cancer cells ability to survive in lung cancer patients.
11. Lipoic Acid Prevents Bone Loss
Postmenopausal women with low bone density showed an increase in bone density when taking alpha-lipoic acid, and several studies have shown that lipoic acid inhibits inflammation induced bone loss. Another study showed that lipoic acid not only stopped the bone resorption, but stimulated its formation.
12. Lipoic Acid Helps Keep Blood Pressure in Healthy Range
Lipoic acid has a beneficial effect in preventing hypertension by lowering the level of inflammatory cytokines in the blood, thus preventing pathological changes to blood vessel cells and normalizing changes in blood pressure.
13. Lipoic Acid Improves Alzheimers and Dementia
When lipoic acid was given daily to patients with dementia, the progression of disease was slowed. Another study showed that patents with AD lipoic acid led to a stabilization of cognitive functions.
14. Lipoic Acid Can Prevent Migraines
In patients with migraine, lipoic acid has shown the ability to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines as it help with both mitochondrial disorders and oxidative stress, both linked to migraines.
Lipoic acid also improves the effectiveness of the migraine drug, topiramate while helping reduce the side effects of the drug. (R). The combination of lipoic acid and topiramate was significantly more effective at decreasing the frequency and duration of migraines than when just taking the drug alone.
15. Lipoic Acid May Help Those with Parkinson’s Disease
Lipoic acid decreases α-synuclein accumulation in the substantia nigra area of the brain, improves motor dysfunction, protects against dopaminergic neurons loss, inhibits the activation of nuclear factor-κB, and decreases pro-inflammatory molecules.
16. Lipoic Acid Helps Those with Multiple Sclerosis
Lipoic acid has been shown to be highly effective at suppressing and treating MS. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and may be useful in treating MS by inhibiting activity that interferes with T-cell migration into the brain/spinal cord, and reducing Th1 and Th2 cytokines.
17. Lipoic Acid May Help with High-Risk Pregnancies
In high risk pregnancies, lipoic acid can speed up the return to normal pregnancy conditions and improve the conditions of both the mother and the fetus (R). Additionally, smaller number of miscarriages was recorded with lipoic acid supplementation (R). Lipoic acid decreases inflammation in women with gestational diabetes and reduces cervical inflammation after an episode of preterm labor.
18. Lipoic Acid Improves Sperm Quality
Lipoic acid has been been shown to increase total sperm count, sperm concentration, and mobility In infertile men.
In Addition, Lipoic Acid:
Encourages Normal Thyroid Hormone Levels
Acts as a Powerful Antioxidant
Removes Toxic Metals from the Body
Promotes Wound Healing
Promotes Normal Heart Health
Promotes Muscle Regeneration After Exercise
Protects the Brain
Can Help Reduce Side Effects of Antipsychotics
Can Protect Your Eyes and Vision
May Help with Ulcers
Encourages Healthy Skin
May Help with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Counters Other Toxic Compounds
Natural Sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid
liver, kidneys, and heart, contains the largest amounts of this nutrient
broccoli, spinach, tomatoes
flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts
An oral dose of 600 mg once daily appears to provide the optimum risk-to-benefit ratio, however; larger doses up to 1800 mg can be taken as advised by your health practitioner.