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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Other names: lipoic acid, thioctic acid, ALA

Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found naturally inside every cell in the body. It's needed by the body to produce the energy for our body's normal functions. Alpha lipoic acid converts glucose (blood sugar) into energy.

Alpha lipoic acid is also an antioxidant, a substance that neutralizes potentially harmful chemicals called free radicals. What makes alpha lipoic acid unique is that it functions in water and fat, unlike the more common antioxidants vitamins C and E, and it appears to be able to recycle antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione after they have been used up. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that helps the body eliminate potentially harmful substances. Alpha lipoic acid increases the formation of glutathione.

Alpha lipoic acid is made by the body and can be found in very small amounts in foods such as spinach, broccoli, peas, Brewer's yeast, brussel sprouts, rice bran, and organ meats. Alpha lipoic acid supplements are available in capsule form at health food stores, some drugstores, and online. For maximum absorption, the supplements should be taken on an empty stomach.

Why Take ALA?

Besides taking ALA for its general benefits as an antioxidant, studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid can help with the following conditions:

• Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
• Coronary Heart Disease
• Metabolic Syndrome (high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol
• Peripheral Neuropathy (caused by diabetes and other conditions, such as Lyme
disease, alcoholism, shingles, thyroid disease and kidney failure)
• Diabetes (improving glucose metabolism and helping diabetics utilize insulin better)
• Liver Disease
• Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer (increasing long-term survival)
• Impaired Brain Function (as a treatment for stroke and other brain disorders
involving free radical damage, including Alzheimer's disease)
• Effects of Aging (improving blood flow and enhancing immune function, restoring
levels of glutathione, a protective antioxidant and detoxification compound)
• Degenerative Diseases (ALA is a strong anti-inflammatory agent)
• Glaucoma and Cataracts

Sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid
• naturally made in the body
• spinach
• broccoli
• peas
• brewer’s yeast
• Brussels sprouts
• rice bran
• organ meats