Zap High Cholesterol with Alpha Lipoic Acid
Is your cholesterol too high? If so, consider adding alpha lipoic acid to your anti-aging arsenal. Preliminary research in animals suggests that it’s a powerful ally. In one study, it virtually reversed the ill effects of a high-fat diet. Animals on a high-fat diet that got supplemental alpha lipoic acid had a 73% reduction in total cholesterol, a 75% reduction in triglycerides, a 71% reduction in harmful LDL cholesterol, and more than doubled their beneficial HDL!
Researchers have found that alpha lipoic acid actually changes the action of genes that control cholesterol. It cranks up production of enzymes that act as free radical scavengers, and it lowers production of LDL cholesterol. (Yang, RL et al. Nutrition 2008 June; 24(6):582-8.)
Animals that get alpha lipoic acid also store less fat in their livers. That reduces their chances of developing a fatty liver, despite a high-fat diet. Non-alcoholic fatty liver is becoming an all-too-common diagnosis these days, due to abdominal obesity and poor eating habits.
Alpha lipoic acid is called the universal antioxidant because it works in both fat-soluble and water-soluble environments. That’s a great trait to have, because it means it can move into and out of cells and get from your blood into your brain easily. It does the jobs of both vitamin C and vitamin E, and it helps regenerate other antioxidants, including powerful glutathione. It’s the workhorse of our bodies’ antioxidant system.
Although it’s not yet known how much of a cholesterol-lowering effect alpha lipoic acid might have in humans, there are other proven benefits. Research shows that alpha lipoic acid alleviates symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, including cardiac autonomic neuropathy, by improving blood flow to nerve cells and energy metabolism in nerve cells. Alpha lipoic acid can also protect brain and muscles from ischemia, a lack of oxygen due to inadequate blood supply. That makes it good for people who have transient ischemic attacks or peripheral artery disease (PAD).
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Using dietary means instead of drugs to reduce cholesterol helps you avoid harmful drug side effects, such as muscle and liver damage. Research is proving that alpha lipoic acid may be a smart choice. We recommend a minimum of 25 mg per day for general maintenance and at least 250 mg per day for a clinical strength dose. For maximum effectiveness, you may take up to 750 mg per day.
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Article updated on: December 17th, 2008