Archive for the ‘Alpha Lipoic Acid’ Category

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Alpha Lipoic Acid, or ALA is a fatty acid that is naturally found inside every cell within the body, the role of this fatty acid is to convert glucose to energy. However, the truly amazing thing about alpha lipoic acid is that it is also an amazing antioxidant. What sets alpha lipoic acid apart from other antioxidants like vitamin C and E, is that fact that ALA is able to function in water and fat. Researchers also believe that this particular antioxidant has the ability to collect old used up antioxidants, vitamin C and glutathione, and recycle them once it has collected them. This helps the body in tremendous ways as glutathione is responsible for ridding the body of harmful substances. But, believe it or not, this is not all that ALA does for our bodies.

There are several actions that ALA performs within the body on a day to day basis that keep us up and running. First and foremost ALA is an antioxidant, so it destroys free radicals that could harm our cells. However, there are also several conditions that an ALA supplement could help treat. For instance, peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which the there is a problem with the nerve that carries messages to and from the brain; this condition can be extremely painful, and sometimes difficult to treat effectively. But, researchers and studies suggest that ALA is beneficial in alleviating symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Other conditions that researchers suggest ALA may be helpful in treating is cataracts, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, burning mouth syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. But in order to definitively suggest ALA as a treatment, researchers must organize large study groups with conclusive results. These suggestions are being made on the bases of small study groups with positive conclusive results.

So, now that you know what ALA does… where does it come from?

Alpha Lipoic Acid is made by the body, but can be found in very small amounts in certain foods, these foods include:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Rice Bran
  • Organ Meat

ALA is only found in very small amounts in these foods, so using a supplement to aid the body in making, or restoring, the ALA in your system is always a good idea. Most definitely if you have any of the conditions listed above. Researchers have noted that taking an ALA supplement on an empty stomach may aid the body in absorption. Diabetics should be sure to speak with their healthcare provider before starting an ALA regimen. This is because of the effects that ALA has on blood sugar; ALA has shown very positive results on controlling blood sugar, which can cause problems when taking medications used to lower blood sugar. Always remember to abide by the product guidelines when taking any supplement.