Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplements: What Do They Do?

Jan 20, 2014 | Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamins and Nutrients

Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements have wide-ranging benefits that’s don’t get a lot of attention. LivOn Labs has successfully encapsulated Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) and we are excited to tell you all about it!

  • Also known as: Thioctic acid, Lipoic Acid, LA, ALA
  • ALA was discovered in 1948 and officially named Alpha Lipoic Acid in 1951 by Irwin C. Gunsalus and Lester Reed
  • ALA is naturally synthesized in small amounts by plants and animals, including humans.
  • ALA contains an asymmetric carbon, meaning there are two possible isomers: R-LA and S-LA. Only the R- isomer is endogenously synthesized and bound to protein. R-Alpha Lipoic Acid is considered the most bio-available and biologically active form of ALA in the body
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid is a vital cofactor for several important mitochondrial enzyme complexes.
  • The amounts of R-ALA available in dietary supplements are as much as 1,000 times greater than the amounts that could be obtained in the diet.  Animal tissue that includes R-ALA include liver, heart and kidney. Plants with R-ALA include spinach and broccoli, tomatoes, peas and Brussels sprouts.
  • Plasma concentrations of ALA generally peak in an hour or less and decline rapidly.
  • In cells, ALA is quickly reduced to DHLA.
  • ALA functions as an antioxidant.
  • ALA is considered the most important mitochondrial antioxidant given its vital role in mitochondrial electron transport reactions that convert glucose into ATP to produce energy.
  • Recycles other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.
  • Shown to increase natural glutathione synthesis in aged animals.
  • There is no documented “nutrient deficiency” disease associated with ALA.
  • Intravenous ALA is approved for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy in Germany. R-ALA is available by prescription in Germany.  Dosage used in a trial with 1,258 diabetic patients found that a treatment of 600mg/day if IV R-ALA for 3 weeks significantly reduced the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy to a clinically meaningful degree.
  • R-ALA should always be taken on an empty stomach.
  • Most frequently reported side effects of oral Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements include rashes, hives, itching, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These generally occur when supplementing at doses of 1,200–1,800 mg/day.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements should be taken under the guidance of a physician by anyone taking glucose lowering medication or receiving treatment for under-active or over-active thyroid.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements should not be taken by children under the age of 18, unless under the care of a physician.

“Without ALA, you could not obtain energy from the food you eat, and you could not stay alive,” says Burt Berkson, MD, MS, PhD. Find out more about our Lypo-Spheric® Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement.

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