What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an organic compound and a very powerful antioxidant found in every single cell within our body.
Antioxidants have a very important role to play in keeping us healthy as they attack the ‘free radicals’, otherwise known as waste products which are created when our body turns food into energy in a chemical reaction called oxidation. These free radicals cause harm to our body by damaging cells, tissues and organs which makes it harder for us to fight off infections.
ALA is a powerful antioxidant which stands out from the crowd thanks to it being both fat–soluble and water–soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and fat–soluble vitamins such as Vitamin E have limited access to the body’s tissues. However, as ALA is soluble in both water and fat, it can access and get to work throughout the entire body.
As if that’s not enough, it’s thought that ALA may help regenerate other antioxidants and allow them to become active in fighting free radicals for longer.
Tackling Oxidative Stress
When the body’s cells are flooded by an excess of free radicals, it can lead to a state known as oxidative stress. This is not good news for the body as it can damage cells, disrupt DNA and cause inflammation in the body.
Not only can this accelerate the ageing process, but it can also lead to more serious conditions such as diabetes or even cancer.
As a powerful antioxidant in its own right and with the ability to help maximise the action of other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotene. ALA plays a vital role in helping the body combat free radicals and therefore limits the risk of oxidative stress.
What Is ALA Good For?
The powerful antioxidant properties can reduce inflammation and ageing of our skin.
In one study, scientists discovered that the application of a cream containing ALA to facial skin reduced fine lines, wrinkles and rough skin with no side effects.
By working with other antioxidants in our body such as glutathione, ALA helps to reduce the visible signs of skin ageing. It also offers antioxidant protection against the sun’s harmful UV radiation but it’s important to remember that we also need to protect our skin with sunscreen.
Managing Blood Sugar Levels
Another key role of ALA is to assist in turning glucose into energy. It also helps to fight diabetes, a disease which affects more than 400 million adults worldwide.
ALA helps by:
- Reducing insulin resistance. Studies in adults with metabolic syndrome have suggested that ALA has a notable effect on insulin resistance.
- Improving blood sugar control. These studies also revealed that it may lower fasting blood glucose levels. In animal studies, ALA has lowered blood sugar levels by up to 64%. Scientists believe that ALA works in this way by removing fat which has accumulated in muscle cells.
Whilst ALA has been shown to aid blood sugar control, it is not considered to be a complete treatment for diabetes. It is always important to consult with your doctor as it is possible that it may interact with other medications you are taking.
- Lowering the risk of diabetic retinopathy
Additional Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits
In addition to the above, ALA also promotes healthy nerve function, eases symptoms of nerve damage and lowers the risk factors associated with heart disease.
One study of 73 people with cardiac autonomic neuropathy, which affects the heart, saw a report of far fewer signs of the condition by those people taking 800mg of ALA orally compared to the placebo group.
Studies are also ongoing to see if ALA can help protect the brain and nerve tissue. It is undergoing research to see if it can be used in treatment for stroke and other brain problems, such as dementia, involving free radical damage.
Finally, preliminary studies suggest that ALA may play a significant role in managing some cancers and erectile dysfunction.
How Do We ‘Get’ ALA?
Our body produces ALA naturally but only in small amounts. Certain foods in our diet can increase our levels of ALA, including:
- Red meats
- Organ meats (liver, kidney, heart etc)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Peas
- Rice Bran
IV Treatment Drips
Whilst these are foods are easily accessible, supplements can offer up to 1,000 times more ALA than our body can acquire through diet.
It’s best to take ALA at least 30 minutes before food or drink, so first thing in the morning works well.
Another way to up your ALA levels quickly and effectively is to have an IV drip treatment. This allows ALA to go straight into your blood where it can be transported around the body. As it doesn’t have to navigate your digestive system, ALA supplementation that is absorbed this way will quickly reach your cells and will get to work.
Our Antioxidant IV Booster Drip includes alpha lipoic acid which plays an effective role in protecting the body against free radicals.