Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has gained a lot of attention in recent years. It is an organic compound found in all human cells, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body.
Your body produces alpha lipoic acid naturally, but it is also found in a variety of foods and as a dietary supplement.
It is an essential cofactor for energy production in the mitochondria, known as the powerhouse of cells – where it helps enzymes turn nutrients into energy.
What’s more, it has powerful antioxidant properties and is known to be a free radical scavenger.
Alpha lipoic acid is soluble in water and fat, which allows it to act on all cells or tissues in the body.
The body usually produces enough alpha lipoic acid to supply the enzymes with what they need to function.
When taken as a dietary supplement, lipoic acid exhibits additional properties that may be unrelated to function in the mitochondria. They include:
- Stimulation of glucose metabolism, leading to lower blood glucose levels;
- Antioxidant defenses;
- Anti-inflammatory responses;
- Delayed skin aging,
- Improved nerve function.
Benefits Of Alpha-lipoic Acid
With this, the compound establishes itself as a possible complementary treatment for people with diabetes, heart disease and age-related cognitive decline.
Humans produce alpha lipoic acid in only small amounts. That’s why supplements can optimize your intake, which can contain up to 1000 times more alpha lipoic acid than dietary sources such as red meat and dark green vegetables.
Alpha lipoic acid in body weight control
There is growing evidence that alpha lipoic acid can influence weight, albeit in a modest way.
Animal studies indicate that it may reduce the activity of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is located in the hypothalamus of the brain.
When AMPK is more active, it can increase feelings of hunger. However, human studies show that alpha lipoic acid only slightly affects weight loss.
One study reviewed 10 articles from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving ALA.
It was found that ALA treatment coincided with a statistically significant mean weight loss of 1.27 kg compared to the placebo group.
In conclusion, ALA treatment showed small but significant short-term weight loss compared to placebo.
Research, published in 2020 in The Journal of Nutrition, looked at the effects of 24 weeks of daily doses of 600 milligrams of lipoic acid supplements on 31 people, with a similarly sized control group receiving a placebo.
The data clearly showed a loss of weight and body fat, greater synthesis of antioxidant enzymes and less potential for inflammation in overweight adults who took lipoic acid supplements.
It is noticed that alpha lipoic acid is not effective if it is taken as a single treatment for weight loss, but it can be considered a good ally in combined and multidisciplinary treatment.
Ally against diabetes
Alpha Lipoic Acid has become popular as a potential aid for diabetes, as it has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in both animals and humans.
Studies in adults with metabolic syndrome have shown that it can reduce insulin resistance and lower fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin levels.
Additionally, alpha lipoic acid may lower the risk of diabetes complications.
It is proven to relieve symptoms of nerve damage and reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy (eye damage), which can occur with uncontrolled diabetes.
Decreases cardiovascular risk
The endothelium is a membrane that forms part of the lining of blood vessels and the heart.
Under normal conditions, the endothelium maintains normal vascular tone and blood fluidity.
However, risk factors, including obesity, initiate a chronic inflammatory process that is accompanied by reduced release of relaxing signals (nitric oxide) and antithrombotic factors, and by an increase in vasoconstrictive and prothrombotic products, resulting in the formation of atherosclerotic lesions, i.e. deposition of fatty material in the arteries that can lead to reduction and blockage of blood flow.
Endothelial dysfunction is a condition where blood vessels cannot dilate properly, which also increases the risks of heart attack and stroke.
In recent years, it has been suggested that oxidative stress contributes to endothelial dysfunction, and there is converging evidence from clinical trials, animal models and in vitro studies that ALA may increase vasodilation, mainly by increasing nitric oxide production and its effects antioxidants.
For this reason, it is possible that ALA contributes to reducing cardiovascular risk, especially in people with chronic inflammation, such as diabetes and obesity.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function
Alpha lipoic acid can also recycle “used” antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E and a potent amino acid compound known as glutathione.
Whenever these antioxidants neutralize a free radical, they destabilize and turn into free radicals.
Alpha Lipoic Acid helps restore them by absorbing excess electrons and converting them back to their stable form.
Alpha Lipoic Acid has been shown to reduce several markers of inflammation. In an analysis of 11 studies, ALA significantly decreased levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) in adults with high levels of CRP.
In the pathogenesis of inflammation, the NF-kB factor modulates inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL) IL-1β and IL-6. ALA expresses its anti-inflammatory effect through inhibition of NF-kB, thereby suppressing the activation of other inflammatory cytokines.
May decrease memory loss
Damage from oxidative stress is believed to play a critical role in memory loss. Because alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant, studies have examined its ability to slow the progression of disorders characterized by memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Human and laboratory studies suggest that alpha lipoic acid contributes to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by neutralizing free radicals and suppressing inflammation.
Ally in Covid-19 infection
ALA may strengthen human host defense against SARS-CoV-2 and may play a vital role in the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients as it is a potent antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and inhibits factor activation. nuclear kappa B (NF-kB), increases intracellular glutathione and increases intracellular pH, and may have an antiviral effect.
May prevent tissue and cell damage by decreasing lactate production in COVID-19 patients. The use of ALA with insulin in patients with diabetes may also have a synergistic effect against SARS-CoV-2.
The use of ALA in the treatment of Covid-19 infection has no scientific evidence, but it is possible that it is a good ally due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and studies are being carried out.
While there is no set dosage, most evidence suggests that 300 to 600 mg is sufficient and safe. Based on most current evidence, a maximum daily dose of up to 1800 mg is presumed to be safe in adults.
To date, few studies have examined the safety of alpha lipoic acid in children and pregnant women. These populations should not take it unless directed to do so by their physician.
If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before taking alpha lipoic acid, as it may interact with other medications that help lower blood sugar levels.
What is alpha lipoic acid?
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an organic compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body, with the difference that it is soluble in both water and fat, and thus is able to act in various parts of the body. For example, alpha lipoic acid can recycle both vitamin C (which is water soluble) and vitamin E (which is fat soluble).
Why was I prescribed alpha-lipoic acid?
In addition to its skin health benefits, research is looking at ALA’s benefits for:
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Alzheimer’s disease
Despite ALA’s potential benefits, it has low bioavailability, which means our bodies have a hard time absorbing it. Modern formulas have improved the stability of ALA and increased the amount your body can absorb topically and orally. Bioavailability appears to be higher in adults as they age.
How does alpha lipoic acid work?
This compound is involved in energy metabolism, acting in the reduction of oxidative processes and inflammation.
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