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  • Marisa Maher, L.Ac

Supplement Saturday - Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant. It is endogenously synthesized in the human body and is essential for cellular metabolism. It acts as an antioxidant, regenerates vitamins C and E. Yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes are good sources of alpha-lipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid is most commonly taken by mouth for diabetes and nerve-related symptoms of diabetes including burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms.



How does it work?


  • Alpha-lipoic acid seems to help prevent certain kinds of cell damage in the body, and also restores vitamin levels such as vitamin E and vitamin C. There is also evidence that alpha-lipoic acid can improve the function and conduction of neurons in diabetes.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid is used in the body to break down carbohydrates and to make energy for the other organs in the body.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid seems to work as an antioxidant, which means that it might provide protection to the brain under conditions of damage or injury. The antioxidant effects might also be helpful in certain liver diseases.


Possibly Effective for

  • Diabetes. Taking alpha-lipoic acid by mouth or intravenously seems to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, there is other evidence that shows it does not affect blood sugar. Reasons for these differences may be the length of time that the patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, whether or not the patient already uses antidiabetes drugs, or the purity of the alpha-lipoic acid treatment. Alpha-lipoic acid does not appear to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes.

  • Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Taking 600-1800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid by mouth or by IV seems to improve symptoms such as burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms of people with diabetes. It may take 3 to 5 weeks of treatment for symptoms to improve. Lower doses of alpha-lipoic acid don't seem to work.

  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia).Taking alpha-lipoic acid for up to 16 weeks seems to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol in people with or without hyperlipidemia.

  • Obesity. Some research shows that taking alpha-lipoic acid for 8-48 weeks can slightly reduce body weight in adults who are overweight. But early research shows that alpha-lipoic acid doesn't seem to improve body weight in children who are overweight or obese.



Safety - ALA should be used in caution in people:

  • Of Asian and Native American origin

  • Thiamine deficiency and alcholism

  • People with cancer

  • liver impairment

  • Thyroid disorders


Foods High in ALA:

  • Organ Meats

  • Spinach

  • Broccoli

  • Tomatoes

  • Garden Peas

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Rice Bran

  • Yeast


Reference


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