Alpha Lipoic Acid
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Lipoic acid has the peculiarity of being a fat and water soluble antioxidant.
Lipoic acid is known as the "universal antioxidant" because it reduces free radicals in the body, in fat as well as water.
This means that alpha lipoic acid is easily assimilated by the layers of skin lipids and works equally well fighting free radicals in the outer membrane of the cell as well as in the aqueous interior.
R-lipoic acid is a super-antioxidant protecting the body's nerves and cells on a large scale. It can regenerate and prolong the effects of vitamin C, vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10 and glutathione.
Lipoic acid provides essential energy to the body. Our cells need their vital nutrients to produce energy. It's antioxidant effect prevents the ageing of cells and promotes the optimal functioning of the heart, liver and brain.
What is alpha lipoic acid?
Lipoic acid is a sulfur-containing fatty acid. It can be found in many foods, such as spinach, broccoli or yeast extract. It is present In the human body primarily in the kidneys, heart and liver.
Although this substance is naturally present in the foods that we normally eat, such as vegetables and meat, its content is very small. Lipoic acid is essential for the proper functioning of the organs since it helps the mitochondria of the cell metabolism.
Lipoic acid is more effective as an antioxidant than vitamins C and E, since vitamin C acts exclusively in water and vitamin E is only effective in fat. The ability of alpha lipoic acid to act both in water and in fats makes it unique.
The cellular metabolic processes provide energy to the body and help in the division of chemicals and different nutrients that we consume through food, such as carbohydrates, fats, protein and alcohol.
The antioxidant activity of alpha lipoic acid protects the brain and other sensitive organs from damage. Although there have been no definitive clinical trials as yet, it is thought that the action of lipoic acid helps the body with the healing of wounds, injuries and illnesses.
Lipoic acid is so important that a deficiency can have several negative effects on the body. It is known that the same deficiency can manifest itself in different ways and can be very difficult to identify.
In general, lipoic acid deficiency generally manifests itself in the same way as a deficiency of other antioxidants: a weakened immune system, memory problems and loss of muscle mass.
The health benefits of alpha lipoic acid
Studies suggest that lipoic acid provides essential aid to the body with the following processes:
- Increases energy
- Prevents cellular ageing
- Improves memory
- Improve visual acuity
- Stabilises blood pressure at a healthy level
- Repairs damaged nerve cells
- Prevents the appearance of diseases
Various forms of lipoic acid
Lipoic acid food supplements are available in the form of tablets or as a liquid. There are also local application creams and therapeutic injections.
Lipoic acid capsules are currently marketed as an antioxidant to improve energy and in some countries as a prescription medication.
Lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant
Antioxidants are very important to the body as they eliminate free radicals and the harmful effects they cause.
They are chemicals produced in the body during normal cellular processes. When they separate they can cause damage and have an adverse effect on the metabolism, becoming harmful to vital organs.
Antioxidants can prevent this through their link with free radicals, thereby protecting the cell tissues. It is believed that lipoic acid, in addition to its antioxidant and restraining actions is also able to assist in regeneration.
If the body lacks antioxidants, then lipoic acid will fight free radicals in the same way as would any other antioxidant.
Lipoic acid is effective both in fatty and aqueous tissues, so helps strengthen the functioning of cells in all cases. Unlike with vitamins C and E, which are effective only in one way or the other, lipoic acid has a wider range of action as an antioxidant.
Lipoic acid protects the nervous system
Unlike with vitamins, lipoic acid is effective in both fat and water, so it's perfect for protecting brain tissue.
Given that lipoic acid is able to bypass the blood-brain barrier, it is is one of the few antioxidants that can prevent lesions inside the brain caused by free radicals. It is also believed that it helps strengthen the connection between nerve cells and that has a positive impact on sensitivity and response time.
Lipoic acid and its anti-ageing role
All antioxidants have an anti-ageing effect. Free radicals destroy the cell tissue, causing the death of cells and accelerate the ageing of the body. By preventing cellular damage, intact cells reproduce longer, which helps to promote overall health and the well-being that goes with it.
In addition, it has been demonstrated that lipoic acid can regenerate damaged skin when applied locally.
Lipoic acid not only has a positive effect on the outside of the body, but its real benefits lie mainly in its protective function for the brain and other organs.
Animal experiments suggest that lipoic acid may prevent hearing loss in the elderly. Another similar study points to the potential benefits that it may have in the treatment of glaucoma.
Although these assumptions have not been proven conclusively, there are several reports that describe possible areas of application for lipoic acid to improve the health and well-being of the elderly and to prevent certain damage in the body, before it occurs.
Who needs to take lipoic acid?
The intake of lipoic acid is helpful, especially for people who suffer from the following diseases/disorders:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Burning tongue (glossodinia)
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Memory loss
- Wilson's disease or glaucoma
- Loss of vision or cataracts
- Lyme disease
- High cholesterol
- Acne and rosacea
Does lipoic acid have side effects?
Lipoic acid is considered safe, as long as the usage instructions are followed. Very rarely, it can produce headaches, tingling, skin rashes and in extremely rare cases one may experience muscle spasms.
Lipoic acid interactions
Lipoic acid can cause interactions with other medications, especially in cases of people with thiamine deficiency. If you have a thiamine deficiency, consult your doctor before taking lipoic acid.
Lipoic acid intake can affect the medicines used for the treatment of thyroid disorders. You should also consult your doctor if this applies to you.
Recommended doses of lipoic acid
Lipoic acid us usually administered in tablet form. The recommended dose for healthy people who want an antioxidant supplement is between 20 and 100 mg per day.
Reasons for taking dietary supplements containing lipoic acid
Studies suggest that lipoic acid has the following positive effects
- Helps weight loss
- Increases energy
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps memory performance
- Improves brain function
- Stabilises blood pressure at a healthy level
- Lowers cholesterol
- Reduces blood sugar levels