What neutralizes free radicals in both watery and fatty regions of cells? What produces energy by converting glucose for our body’s normal function? Alpha lipoic acid or ALA. ALA is used to treat diabetic neuropathy, hepatitis and more. Our bodies produce this antioxidant nutrition in small amounts and it occurs naturally in organ meats, peas, rice bran, Brewer’s yeast, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Supplementation is a good way to get an added boost. What other ailments is it used to treat and how much should you take? Why don’t we take a look?
What makes ALA unique and gives it nutritional value is that it is both water and fat soluble, unlike the more common antioxidants vitamins C and E, and it appears to be able to recycle and extend the metabolic lifespan of antioxidants such as of vitamin C, glutathione, and coenzyme Q10, and it indirectly renews vitamin E. Vitamin C lessens oxidative stress while glutathione helps detoxify the liver. Coenzyme Q10 helps convert food energy into energy inside every cell while vitamin E helps with nerve conduction.
Alpha lipoic acid helps treat the symptoms of a common complication of diabetes called peripheral neuropathy. By speeding the removal of glucose from the bloodstream, ALA enhances insulin function and reduces insulin resistance. A large number of cases of coronary heart disease and obesity are a direct or indirect result of those two factors. Symptoms such as prickling sensations, numbness, burning and sharply cutting pain are relieved by this very useful nutritional supplement.
Free radical damage is thought to contribute to aging and chronic illness. ALA helps neutralize those harmful chemicals. ALA can cross the blood-brain barrier; a wall of tiny vessels and structural cells, and pass easily into the brain. It is thought to protect brain and nerve tissue by preventing free radical damage and is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Because of those reasons, ALA is also used to treat a myriad of other illnesses and diseases like cataracts, hardening of the arteries, hepatitis, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, high cholesterol levels, and even human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Alpha lipoic acid has very few side effects. Some that have been reported include headache, tingling or a “pins and needles” sensation, skin rash, or muscle cramps. Since ALA may improve blood sugar control, people with diabetes who are taking medication to lower blood sugar should only take ALA under the supervision of a qualified health professional and have their blood sugar levels carefully monitored. It may alter thyroid hormone levels, so people taking thyroid medications should be monitored by their healthcare provider.