All About Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid (1,2 –dithiolane -3-pentoic acid or thiotic acid) is an organosulfur compound that is naturally synthesized by plants and animals, including humans. Alpha lipoic acid functions as an important cofactor for many enzyme complexes, plays a major role in nutrient breakdown and energy pathways.
Alpha lipoic acid has a huge reputation as a potent antioxidant, its dithiol functional group helps eliminate the reactive oxygen species. The thiol (organic compound containing the group –SH) group may get oxidized or reduced. Alpha lipoic acid consists of asymmetric carbon which means that the compound can exist as more than one enantiomer (pair of molecules which are mirror images of each other). R-lipoic acid and S-lipoic acid.
R-lipoic acid occurs naturally in food sources and is covalently bound to protein. Free lipoic acid (unbound) supplements contain a racemic mixture (50:50) of R-lipoic acid and S-lipoic acid.
FOOD SOURCES OF ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha lipoic acid can be obtained from dietary sources like broccoli, avocado, spinach, cauliflower, onions, peas, pistachios, beets, carrots, red meat, organ meat (liver, heart, kidneys).
IS ALPHA LIPOIC ACID & ALPHA LINOLEIC ACID THE SAME?
Both are not the same. Buyers of the supplement often get confused between the terms alpha lipoic acid and alpha linoic acid because both are sometimes abbreviated ALA.
Alpha lipoic acid is an organosulfur compound that is a powerful antioxidant. Alpha-linoleic acid is a plant-based essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid.
ZENITH NUTRITION ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Zenith Nutrition Alpha lipoic acid is the finest quality vegetarian dietary supplement that offers a multitude of health benefits. The supplement goes through strict quality control procedures to confirm purity and potency. The easy to swallow supplement is free of gluten, salt, sugar, preservative, corn, soy, dairy, and yeast.
HOW & WHEN TO TAKE ALPHA LIPOIC ACID?
Since alpha lipoic acid is soluble in water and fat medium, you can consume the supplement with water, fruit juice, milk, or any other fat-based medium.
As per studies, alpha lipoic acid bioavailability is greatly reduced after food intake or when taken with meals. For better bioavailability of the supplement, it is suggested to consume it at least 2 hours after meals or in case taken before, meal should be taken at least 30 minutes after ALA intake. Alpha lipoic acid is also found by studies to be better absorbed on an empty stomach than with food.
WHO SHOULD AVOID TAKING ALPHA LIPOID ACID?
Those who are diabetic, those who suffer from vitamin B1 deficiency, those with liver disease, those who intake excessive alcohol, those with a history of thyroid disorder, those taking any medication for diabetes, pregnant or lactating women must consult a health care practitioner before embarking on alpha lipoic acid supplement.
WHY SHOULD PREGNANT WOMEN NOT CONSUME ALA?
The safety of alpha lipoic acid supplementation in pregnant and lactating women is not established, there’s no surety whether alpha lipoic acid will harm the unborn baby or passes into breast milk and harm the nursing baby. So, alpha lipoic acid supplements should be discouraged in pregnant and nursing women.
WHY SHOULD ONE SUPPLEMENT WITH ALPHA LIPOIC ACID?
Although our body produces alpha lipoic acid without supplements or food sources, it is produced only in small quantities, and this too decreases with aging. Moreover, the amount of alpha lipoic acid that can be gained through supplements is greater than the amounts that could be obtained from the diet. Alpha lipoic acid in supplements is not bound to protein unlike in foods. Hence, Alpha lipoic acid supplements can increase the number of circulating levels of the unbound compound in the body.
Did you know? 1 capsule (300mg) of alpha lipoic acid reflects the amount of alpha lipoic acid equal to found in approximately 400g of pistachios.
Alpha lipoic acid distinguishes itself from other antioxidants in that it is both water and fat-soluble. This property allows it to neutralize free radicals just about everywhere in the body, both inside and outside the cells. It has a broad spectrum of action towards a wide variety of free radicals like reactive oxygen and nitrogen species which have the potential to damage DNA, proteins, and lipids in cell membranes. Alpha lipoic acid works synergistically with other antioxidants, it has a capacity to reduce the oxidized forms of several antioxidants like CoQ10, vitamin C, and glutathione.
SUPPORTS HEART HEALTH
Oxidative stress is the primary cause of endothelial dysfunction, hypertension and heart failure. Oxidative stress increases with aging along with decreased antioxidant defense. Alpha lipoic acid may impact the cardiovascular risk profile through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. ALA has beneficial actions on LDL oxidation, blood lipid profiles, plaque formation, hypertension, and endothelial function. ALA normalizes NADPH oxidase activity, prevents plaque buildup in arteries, and decreases inflammatory cytokines in the blood. As per studies, a decrease in endogenous levels of ALA is likely to increase the chances of atherosclerosis.
HELPS IN DETOXIFICATION
Redox-active metal ions, such as free copper and iron can induce oxidative damage by generating free radicals. Due to its ability to chelate metal ions, alpha lipoic acid supports the mobilization and excretion of heavy metals which would otherwise cause harm to cells and tissues and play a pathogenic role in the body. In addition to this, ALA increases the intracellular antioxidant levels of glutathione which plays a role in detoxification.
MAY PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS
Obesity predisposes people to many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and obstructive sleep. Regular supplementation with ALA has been shown promising to help in weight management and weight loss. Alpha lipoic acid suppresses the activity of the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which is known to reduce food intake and enhance energy expenditure. Alpha lipoic acid decreases insulin resistance and lowers fasting blood glucose levels which help in reducing weight. Through its effect on mitochondrial enzymes, ALA increases metabolism and energy production. Inflammation blunts your metabolism and leads to weight gain. ALA reduces markers of inflammation in the body which directly impacts fat cells.
PROMOTES SKIN HEALTH
When it comes to batting physical signs of aging on the skin, alpha lipoic acid can help reduce fine lines caused by exposure to sun rays. ALA offers antioxidant protection to your skin, it helps improve skin texture. It decreases scars, pimple formation, assists in the regulation of oil production. ALA helps remove dullness from aging skin, makes skin soft, even-toned, reduces puffiness under the eyes, and promotes a healthy glow.
Macular degeneration is directly connected to oxidation. Oxidative stress can damage nerves in the eyes, cause vision damage especially true among older adults or those who eat a nutrient-deficient diet. A good dose of ALA helps preserve your eyesight and prevent age-related eye conditions. Free radicals in your eye can cause eye proteins to clump, which can lead to cataracts and loss of vision. Alpha lipoic acid is not just a powerful antioxidant itself, it regenerates other antioxidants and successfully helps control eye-related disorders.
Alpha lipoic acid can pass the blood-brain barrier, protect the delicate brain and nerve tissue. ALA can reverse the damage caused by oxidative damage in brain cells, improve mitochondrial function and memory tasks. Alpha lipoic acid supplementation may help delay the progression of cognitive decline in aged people and show promising results of improvement of cognitive function and brain health.