Alpha Lipoic Acid is the new kid in the anti aging antioxidant field. Antioxidants eliminate the free radicals in our bodies caused by stress, pollution and bad diets. This can lead to cell damage and chronic diseases.
Although Alpha lipoic acid has been known since the 1950s, it was originally thought to be a vitamin and was not classified as an antioxidant until 1988.
All antioxidants basically work the same – they are chemicals that get rid of free radicals – destructive chemicals produced by the body and thought to contribute to aging and ailments ranging from heart disease to stroke.
What's Different About Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha Lipoic Acid is the only antioxidant that is soluble in water and fat. It can go into all cell parts. It's the only antioxidant that can reach the brain.
It is a metabolic antioxidant, which means it is important for cell metabolism or the energy of the cell.
Even though your body makes enough alpha lipoic acid for cell metabolism, there is not enough for the antioxidant properties. There is not any extra alpha lipoic acid in your body, so you've got to get the antioxidant effects by taking supplements.
When taken orally, it is quickly absorbed. It then changes to it's most potent form, dihydrolipoic acid.
What Are The Benefits Of Alpha Lipoic Acid?
- It is currently utilized in Europe to treat peripheral nerve degeneration (neuropathy) resulting from diabetes.
- It helps make Vitamin C and Vitamin E work better.
- It is used to treat and detox the liver.
- Protects and repairs cells.
- Scientists are discovering it may be helpful in treating or preventing cataracts, atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks, and memory and brain function.
What's the Best Form of Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Actually, there are two forms of Alpha Lipoic Acid and if you're not vigilant, you could be taking the wrong form. Most supplements are selling a type of Lipoic Acid that consist of BOTH forms of the antioxidant, called S and R. You should be looking for R – Lipoic Acid which is the only form of lipoic acid that your body synthesizes and can safely metabolize. The label should state that it is ONLY R-Lipoic Acid. Otherwise, you are probably getting the blend, which is only 50% of the R type.
Are there Any Side Effects?
Alpha Lipoic Acid looks to have very few side effects. The recommended dosage is between 50 – 100 mg per day. Higher doses can result in nausea and upset stomach.
People taking medication to lower blood sugar (diabetics), should only take it under a doctor's supervision. Alpha Lipoic Acid may help with blood sugar control and may interfere with the medication.
According to research, alpha lipoic acid can change thyroid levels. It may have the same effect on humans. People taking thyroid medications such as levothyroxine should be monitored by their healthcare provider.
Of course, you should consult with your doctor before taking supplements. It is wise to be tested for hormone and vitamin deficiencies first.