14 ASTONISHING BENEFITS OF ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)- THE UNIVERSAL ANTIOXIDANT
ALA, it is considered to be a universal and unique anti-oxidant because it is both fat and water soluble. Alpha lipoic acid is a compound found naturally inside every cell in the body. It's needed by the body to produce the energy for our body's normal functions.
Alpha lipoic acid is a substance that neutralizes potentially harmful chemicals called free radicals. The cells in our body are constantly battling free radical damage caused by toxins and other substances. Antioxidants, such as ALA, scavenge these free radicals and prevent cellular damage. We want to slow down cellular damage as much as possible, as it can cause inflammation and abnormal cells to grow and multiply, leading to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidants help to prolong the aging process and we all want that.
We can't emphasize enough the benefits of lowering inflammation! Abnormal inflammatory responses contribute to diseases such as diabetes, pain, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and many many other health issues.
Recent studies show that ALA prevents inflammation-induced bone loss, reduces inflammation, significantly lowers C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, and improves cartilage degeneration in patients with osteoarthritis.
Alpha lipoic acid can help relieve several components of metabolic syndrome—a constellation of risk factors that often precedes full-blown types 2 diabetes. Multiple studies revealed that lipoic acid reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance, improves the lipid profile, and reduces weight. This fact helps us to believe that alpha lipoic acid could potentially be used as a therapeutic agent for individuals with metabolic syndrome.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body can’t process carbohydrates properly and sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood. This can cause various health issues, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and neuropathy.
Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve fasting blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. It increases our cells’ sugar uptake and helps enzymes turn it into energy. It may also regulate genes that can affect sugar metabolism and diabetes. ALA has also been shown to improve blood flow in diabetics, which reduces common risks associated with diabetes. It also reduces symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve pain or numbness caused by nerve damage. It is a type of nerve damage that results in pain, loss of sensation, and weakness, particularly in the lower extremities. Neuropathy can be caused by injury, infection, or an excess of free radicals in the body which damages nerve cells and increases our risk of many diseases.
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes, in which dangerously high amounts of blood glucose cause oxidative stress and damage nerves. Studies show that alpha-lipoic acid can reduce and in some cases, eliminate symptoms of neuropathy - including pain and promote nerve regeneration.
Nobody needs convincing about the importance of heart health ALA could aid cardiovascular health by improving blood flow and reducing oxidative stress. Research suggests that alpha-lipoic acid could lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and support healthy blood vessel function. It also reduces low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increases high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol. ALA may play a role in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis (artery hardening) and related cardiovascular diseases. It increases nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation (blood vessel widening) and promotes anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic (blood clot-reducing) pathways.
ALA may also help prevent the development of hypertension (high blood pressure) by lowering the level of inflammatory cytokines in the blood and preventing pathological changes to blood vessel cells.
Our liver is responsible for essential functions such as removing toxins and supporting the digestive process. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition in which too much fat is stored in liver cells, has become the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the developed world and can be caused by obesity, type-2 diabetes, and poor diet. If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis, or hardening of the liver.
ALA has been shown to protect the liver in cases of NAFLD by reducing inflammation and oxidative damage in the liver. It also supports liver health by regenerating glutathione—the body’s master antioxidant—which is synthesized in the liver and plays a key role in detoxification and supporting general liver health.
ALA readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is easily taken up by brain cells, where it neutralizes the damaging effects of oxidative stress and improves energy production in the brain, thereby supporting healthy brain aging, mental sharpness, and reducing the symptoms of dementia.
Numerous studies suggest that alpha lipoic acid may help guard against one of the most dreaded conditions associated with aging—Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies have also shown that ALA is able to improve motor-impairment symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease, a major neurodegenerative disorder that leads to a variety of motor disturbances caused by degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain.
In addition, research suggests that lipoic acid might be useful in those affected by multiple sclerosis. Researchers found that ALA improved a variety of inflammatory measures that are associated with the disease.
Increased instances of obesity in our society have encouraged interest in all kinds of weight-reducing approaches. ALA is a very useful addition to a weight loss program. It may improve glucose and fat metabolism, which means that more sugars and fats in foods are broken down and used for energy rather than being stored as fat. Alpha Lipoic acid also prevents the production of chemerin, a molecule linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
However, ALA will not replace eating healthy and remaining active.
Oxidative stress increases with aging and conditions such as diabetes, and it can have detrimental effects on vision. As adults grow older, they become more vulnerable to developing cataracts, opacities of the lens that cloud sight. Alpha Lipoic acid was found to offer notable protection against cataract formation.
Furthermore, a recent studies revealed that the combination of ALA and vitamin E helped prevent retinal cell death in animals with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that also affects humans. As there is currently no effective medical treatment for this vision-robbing disease, the discovery of a nutritional approach to potentially treat retinitis pigmentosa is amazing news!!!
Macular degeneration is a type of blindness that occurs when the central portion of the retina starts to break down with age. It is tightly connected to oxidation. ALA is not only a powerful antioxidant itself but it also regenerates other antioxidants. One of the antioxidants ALA recycles is vitamin E, which slows the progression of macular degeneration. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve vision and slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Mounting evidence suggests that ALA might have immunomodulatory effects on both the adaptive and innate immune systems by providing the necessary back-up support to all immune cells. Specifically, ALA suppresses production of the inflammatory cytokine TNF alpha, it restores and improves normal function to immune system cells like natural killer cells, and regulates the body’s immune system response to certain viruses, including the common cold and flu viruses. It’s also been shown to inhibit the replication of HIV.
Migraines have been linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. ALA is beneficial in both cases. In migraine sufferers alpha lipoic acid has shown the ability to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines.
ALA also increases the efficacy of the migraine medication topiramate. According to the research, the combination of ALA and topiramate is significantly more effective than either drug alone in reducing the frequency and duration of migraines.
ALA may also protect the body against toxic metal contaminants found in the environment and food supply. It works by chelating these dangerous agents, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury and rendering them inactive so that they can be removed by the body. In multiple studies alpha lipoic acid has been shown to provide protection against arsenic poisoning and to safeguard the liver against the effects of cadmium exposure. Studies also revealed that lipoic acid helped protect the delicate nervous system against the harmful effects of mercury poisoning.
Another benefit of alpha-lipoic acid is its contribution to healthier skin. At one end of the spectrum are teenagers and young people who find ALA fights acne, dry skin, and other common dermatological issues. At the other end, older adults turn to ALA to preserve suppleness and help counteract the natural effects of aging such as collagen breakdown. ALA also speeds up wound healing in patients with chronic wounds.
While the idea of maintaining a youthful appearance into extreme old age remains in the realm of fiction, evidence shows that ALA, supplementation could help slow aging.
Multiple studies show that ALA is beneficial in certain autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis. ALA has been shown to reduce inflammation and degeneration of the optic nerve and spinal cord.
It’s very important to note that the body only makes sufficient amounts of ALA for basic metabolic functions, like energy metabolism, and that the full antioxidant benefits of ALA are only achieved when it is present in greater amounts. For this reason, the role of ALA supplementation cannot be undermined.
ALA is commonly found in vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, with smaller amounts found in potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, peas, and tomatoes. ALA is also found in meats, particularly organ meats, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
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