The fatty acid and antioxidant that is throwing up some interesting research.

Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found naturally inside every cell in the body and its purpose is to produce the energy for our body’s normal functions. Alpha lipoic acid converts glucose (blood sugar) into energy. Other names for it include lipoic acid, thioctic acid and ALA.

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 to eliminate potentially harmful substances. Alpha lipoic acid increases the formation of glutathione.

VARIATIONS

Alpha lipoic acid exists in two forms: alpha lipoic acid-R and S-alpha lipoic acid. These two forms contain the same number and composition of atoms but have different arrangements of the atoms in their respective molecules. Natural lipoic acid is alpha lipoic acid-R. S-alpha lipoic acid contains a 50/50 mixture of the two forms.

Studies with the mixture demonstrated beneficial effects in treating a number of diseases and conditions. More recent
research has shown that alpha lipoic acid-R alone is far more effective than S-alpha lipoic acid or the mixture. Recently, pure alpha lipoic acid-R has become available as a nutritional supplement.

HOW IT HELPS THE BODY

Nearly all researchers agree that the decay of mitochondrial function (where the body produces energy) is a major component of the ageing process. Calorie restriction, with adequate nutrition, is the only proven way to slow down the fundamental ageing process in mammals. Many of the benefits of alpha lipoic acid-R closely mimic those of caloric restriction.

A study in a short-lived strain of mouse demonstrated that alpha lipoic acid-R can dramatically increase its lifespan. The National Institutes on Aging are currently funding studies to see if alpha lipoic acid-R can truly slow down the ageing process in humans as it has in mice.

Peripheral neuropathy or polyneuropathy is when an area of the body, usually a part of a limb like a hand or foot, has symptoms of pain, burning, numbness, tingling, weakness and itching It can be caused by injury, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy or by conditions such as diabetes, Lyme disease, alcoholism, shingles, thyroid disease and
kidney failure.

Alpha lipoic acid is thought to work as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue, enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from damage. Preliminary studies suggest that alpha lipoic acid may help peripheral neuropathy.

One of the largest studies involved 181 people suffering the condition taking a supplement of alpha lipoic acid. After
five weeks it was discovered that their symptoms had improved.

Alpha lipoic acid can cross the bloodbrain 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.

Animal studies have shown that by reducing oxidative damage and improving energy efficiency, alpha lipoic acid “improves performance on memory tasks”.

RECOMMENDED PRODUCT

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID ‘R’

Provides 200mg Bioenhanced® Na-RALA per serving, up to x40 better absorbed than ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid.