fphar-02-00069-g001

Top 9 Proven Health Benefits of Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Lipoic Acid is a natural antioxidant that not only protects the brain but also helps with weight loss and decreases diabetes risk. This antioxidant has many health benefits with little risk of side effects. Learn more about its properties below.

Introduction

fphar-02-00069-g001

Lipoic Acid, also known as alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA), is essentially an antioxidant that can be taken as a dietary supplement. LA is naturally found in the body, mainly the organs, and plants.

ALA is a synthesized version of LA for dietary use.  ALA helps to neutralize free radicals that can cause cell damage.

The Lipoic acid produced in the body decreases with age, which could allow for free radical-induced damage. These free radicals usually come from mutations in mitochondrial DNA, which affect the amount of oxygen produced and released into the body.

Too much oxygen in certain areas of the body can be harmful and life-threatening. However, ALA fights these various consequences in the body.

The Lipoic Acid That I Recommend

Dr’s Best makes a good Lipoic acid, but many people need a higher dosage.  The R-Lipoic Acid by Geneceutic has a higher dosage with no fillers.

Lipoic Acid Snapshot

  • Longevity8/10
  • Inflammation8/10
  • Mood5/10
  • Cognition6/10
  • Energy7/10

Pros

  • Is a strong antioxidant
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Prevents diabetes
  • Protects the brain
  • Prevents bone loss

Cons

  • Can cause allergic skin reactions
  • Might cause nausea, dizziness, etc.
  • Can cause stomach problems

Health Benefits of Lipoic Acid

1) Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Help With Weight Loss

shutterstock_124151698

ALA, along with an energy-restricted diet, promotes weight loss better than taking other supplements and/or dieting alone, especially in women (R).

Even without dieting, ALA can greatly improve glucose and fat metabolism, which means that more of the carbohydrates and fats in foods are being broken down and used for energy instead of being stored as fat. This will cause the consumer to feel the need to eat less (R).

Regiments of ALA at 600 mg a day for at least 10 weeks showed vast improvement over placebo groups (R2).

ALA has the ability to inhibit chemerin production, a molecule that is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. ALA’s ability to reduce chemerin could contribute to its antiobesity/antidiabetic properties (R3).

Results of some studies showed that ALA increased mitochondrial content in cultured human fat cells, which increases the amount of fats broken down for energy use (R).

2) Alpha Lipoic Acid Acts as an Antioxidant

People with diabetes have high glucose levels and are therefore more prone to oxidative stress, which means there is an imbalance of free radicals to antioxidants. Oxidative damage plays a key role in the development of heart and blood vessel dysfunction (R, R2).

Oxidative damage can damage DNA and result in a decrease NAD+ production, which can reduce overall energy. As an antioxidant, ALA can neutralize these free radicals and therefore reduce oxidative damage (R, R2).

In addition, ALA works to promote the activity of other antioxidants such as glutathione and coenzyme Q10, which are two essential compounds in fighting against aging and disease (R3).

3) Lipoic Acid Decreases Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Lipoic Acid reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance, improves the fat profile, and reduces weight, all of which comprise metabolic syndrome (R).

A combination of lipoic acid with acetyl-L-carnitine showed reduced blood pressure and improved function of various arteries. Therefore, ALA and acetyl-L-carnitine together could be a good treatment to lower blood pressure in patients with heart disease (R).

One of the most effective uses of lipoic acid is its ability to reduce insulin resistance especially in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes and ALA has shown to reduce this sensitivity in a couple of weeks (R).

Diabetes causes a high buildup of glucose in the body, which can cause diabetes-induced nerve damage. ALA has resulted in diminished symptoms, which includes burning pain, numbness, and tingling (R).

4) Alpha Lipoic Acid Protects the Brain

shutterstock_372656629

Because of ALA’s effectiveness in treating oxidative stress, it has also shown promise in reducing the effects of brain degeneration (R).

Lipoic Acid shows that it can reduce brain damage and increase survival rate after a stroke. This is most likely due to ALA’s ability to regenerate the antioxidant glutathione, which is often significantly depleted by harmful oxidative damage associated with events such as stroke (R).

Lipoic Acid has also shown many correlations in reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. ALA increases the production of acetylcholine, an essential nervous system messenger that is deficient in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease victims (R).

There is potential for ALA to be used to treat multiple sclerosis because of how it reduces inflammation (R).

5) Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Protect Your Eyes and Vision

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of diseases caused by a large number of mutations that result in rod photoreceptor and cone cell death. The mechanism of cone cell death is unknown, but rods are a major source of oxygen utilization in the retina and, after rods die, the level of oxygen in the outer retina is increased (R).

Once this occurs, the oxygen can damage the eyes and cause loss of vision. Oxidative stress, which can occur in the eyes of older adults, tends to lead to cataracts. However, ALA can reduce oxidative stress, which can prevent cataracts (R).

The enzyme aldose reductase plays an important role in the development of cataracts in diabetes. Lipoic acid inhibited aldose reductase activity as well as inhibit cataract formation (R).

In addition, vision loss is often attributed to glaucoma. But ALA has shown to reduce the effects of glaucoma in many patients (R).

The antioxidant properties of ALA have proven to reduce retinal cell death, which occurs at old age (R).

6) Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Prevent Migraines

shutterstock_345961085

Lipoic Acid has shown that, when taken, it has the ability to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, and even alleviate them all together (R).

Migraines have been linked to mitochondrial disorders, which can lead to issues with too much or too little oxygen, both of which are bad. However, ALA works to reduce oxidative damage and balance out the effects of mutations in mitochondrial DNA (R).

7) Alpha Lipoic Acid Prevents Bone Loss

Oxidative damage in the bones can lead to decaying of the bones, also known as osteoporosis, which often occurs as one gets older (R, R2).

But when applied to bone marrow cells and osteoblasts (bone-forming cells), the antioxidant properties of lipoic acid shows that it can suppress the formation of bone-degrading osteoclast cells. It can also reduce the process of inflammation-induced bone loss (R, R2).

ALA significantly inhibited IL-1-induced osteoclast (bone degrading) formation in cultures of mouse bone and bone marrow cells (R2).

8) Alpha Lipoic Acid Removes Toxic Metals From the Body

Toxic metals, such as arsenic, lead, and mercury, can end up in our food or water, especially in third world countries. Lipoic Acid can work to chelate the metal, by binding to it, and neutralizing the effects. This works to protect the liver, kidneys, and even the nervous system from being damaged by these harmful metals (R, R2, R3).

9) Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Improve Skin Texture

shutterstock_297343301

The antioxidant properties of lipoic acid can also act as “anti-aging” properties as discussed earlier, which has shown to reduce the roughness and photoaging of skin, even more than other commercial creams (R).

Buying Lipoic Acid

Technical Information

  • It is a powerful natural antioxidant and an enzyme cofactor, or activator, of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, and is found to be a substance capable of improving glycemic control, glucose/sugar level, especially in patients with type II diabetes (R).
  • Treatment with ALA increased Fndc5 messenger RNA (mRNA) and irisin secretion in cultured fat cells (R).
  • ALA increases acetylcholine (ACh) production by activation of choline acetyltransferase and increases glucose uptake, thus supplying more acetyl-CoA for the production of ACh (R).
  • ALA chelates redox-active transition metals, thus inhibiting the formation of hydroxyl radicals and also scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS), thereby increasing the levels of reduced glutathione (R).
  • Major biochemical changes in the lens associated with the protective effect of alpha-lipoic acid were increases in glutathione, ascorbate, and vitamin E levels. Treatment with alpha-lipoic acid also restored the activities of glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and ascorbate free radical reductase in lenses of L-buthionine(S,R)-sulfoximine-treated animals but did not affect glutathione reductase or superoxide dismutase activity (R).
  • TNF-alpha increases intracellular ROS in hBMSC and that TNF-alpha and H2O2 induce apoptosis in hBMSC. Our findings also suggest that alpha-LA may have therapeutic applications in halting or attenuating bone loss associated with increased oxidative damage (R).

Sources

  • Vegetables (spinach, broccoli, tomato) (R)
  • Meat (kidney, liver, heart) (R)

Dosage

Recommended oral therapeutic dosages of alpha-lipoic acid range from 600-1800 mg daily (R).

Potential Risks and Side Effects

In rare cases, ALA has resulted in allergic skin reactions in some humans (R).

In some cases, patients have had gut distress such as gas, bloating, nausea, and constipation after taking ALA (R).

Not enough research has been done to prove ALA’s safety in pregnant women (R).

Amazon’s Bestsellers

SaleBestseller No. 1
Doctor's Best Stabilized R-Lipoic Acid with BioEnhanced Na-RALA 100mg 60 veggie caps
  • Essential for energy generation by mitochondria
  • Helps promote the body's antioxidant defenses
  • Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range
  • Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Bestseller No. 2
Life Extension Super R-Lipoic Acid, 240mg, 60-Count
  • Bio-enhanced active form of lipoic acid.
  • Antioxidant powerhouse.
  • Helps protect against oxidative stress.
  • Helps preserve youthful cellular energy.
  • 60 vegetarian capsules; manufactured in the U.S.

Leave a Reply