Alpha Lipoic Acid: The Universal Antioxidant
Alpha lipoic acid acts as a powerful antioxidant throughout the entire body, though it has especially remarkable antioxidant activity in the brain. It’s sometimes called the “universal antioxidant” because it’s both fat and water-soluble, which is to say it can move into of all types of cells with ease, providing antioxidant protection.
Alpha lipoic acid is a coenzyme that occurs naturally within the body. It’s vital to the energy and protection of all cells, and because it’s involved in the production of energy from carbohydrates, it may also play a role in reducing insulin resistance.
What Can Alpha Lipoic Acid Do for You?
Alpha lipoic acid helps turn glucose (sugar) into usable energy in the body. It works with other nutrients to accomplish this. It is active alongside the B vitamins and aids in the production of energy. It also enhances and prolongs the antioxidant effects of vitamin E, vitamin C and glutathione, helping to prevent oxidative damage to the nerves and brain.
Since alpha lipoic acid also posseses the unique ability to cross the blood brain barrier, it promotes brain health and protects the brain’s cells from free radical damage. Research shows that alpha lipoic acid may be useful in the treatment of eye and nerve damage. It has been used therapeutically for diabetic nerve pain (neuropathy), dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, liver disease, high blood pressure (in combination with acetyl-L-carnitine), high cholesterol, Lyme disease and even weight loss.
Should You Take an Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement?
If you’re looking for an all-around anti-aging supplement with a lot of antioxidant firepower, the answer is yes. While some people can benefit from greater amounts for therapeutic purposes, any amount provides valuable antioxidant protection. Natural production of this nutrient declines with age and declines even further with many progressive diseases so it is best to take higher doses after the age of 50.
How Much Alpha Lipoic Acid Should You Take?
That very much depends on your objective. There are no established recommended doses for alpha lipoic acid. If you are taking it for antioxidant protection and wellness, 50-100 mg per day is a good amount. However if you’re taking it for something more specific such as diabetes and diabetic neuropathy, then anywhere from 400-800 mg per day in divided doses may be beneficial.
Food First: Good Sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Brewer’s yeast, organ meats and red meats tend to be the best dietary sources however alpha lipoic acid isn’t very prevalent in foods. If you want to maintain greater amounts of alpha lipoic acid in your body, your best bet is to take an alpha lipoic acid supplement.