Dietary supplements such as Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) are usually taken to make up for deficiencies, if any. Moreover, nutrients derived from dietary supplements do help reduce risk of several common diseases. Alpha Lipoic Acid has many benefits and truly deserves the title of a multi-tasking supplement. But as recommended by the FDA, one should talk to a healthcare provider before actually using it. This is because dietary supplements may interact with medications or other dietary supplements. Further, if you have a health condition, you may be placing yourself at even greater risk.
Do not confuse alpha-lipoic acid with alpha-linolenic acid. While the best form of alpha lipoic acid is the pure R form, the synthetic S form is what is more widely used. Find out how much of each of these elements in there in your ALA supplement. Find the specific purpose of using alpha lipoic acid supplements, the benefits and possible side effects. Check why ALA is helpful to adults, obese people and most critical to bodybuilders.
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant. Human body makes small amounts of alpha lipoic acid. The best food sources are dark green leafy vegetables including spinach and collard greens, broccoli, potato, yam, carrot, beet root, Brewer's yeast and animal foods such as red meat, certain organ meats like kidney, heart and calf's liver.
How ALA supplements help?
Dietary supplements cannot replace the essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fats that form part of a healthy diet. Dietary supplements only supplement the diet and should not be considered substitute for natural food. Supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure diseases. The purpose of taking dietary supplements should be to help make up for deficiencies and meet adequate nutrient needs, achieve fitness goals, promote optimal physical health, improve emotional well-being or reduce risk of diseases.
With specific reference to Alpha liopic acid supplement, understand that though the body is capable of making ALA, it is only sufficient for the basic metabolic process. To gain benefit of its antioxidant properties, an excess of ALA is required so that it can circulate freely throughout the body.
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements?
For a host of reasons Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements are sought after. It is gaining popularity for its unique abilities to help support excellent health. Therapeutic reasons such as slowing the ageing process, improving vitality, fight deficiency, weight reduction, prevention and treatment of certain diseases and health conditions, healthy skin are some of the benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid.
The elderly are likely to be at greater risk of nutrient deficiency. Early in life our bodies produce amounts sufficient to do its work. But the process of ageing brings about a reduction. By midlife, there is just enough ALA to meet body's most basic needs for metabolic functions. There aren't food sources that are high enough in ALA to make a sizeable difference. But a good Alpha Lipoic supplement contains a few hundred milligrams of synthetic alpha-lipoic acid.
Certain conditions such as high blood sugar, weakened immune system, frequent colds or infections, eye problems like cataracts or glaucoma are indicators of lack of alpha lipoic acid.
A recent study has found that regular use of alpha lipoic acid supplement may help obese individuals lose weight. It works by increasing the rate of glucose uptake and oxidative metabolism. The result is that more energy is used faster with fewer calories available for storage as fat. This works as adjunctive therapy for obesity and not a miracle solution that will enable weight loss on it own. A combination of healthy diet which includes food rich in ALA, regular exercise contributes to achieving weight loss target.
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements help people with type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that the intake of supplement can improve insulin resistance. It increases insulin sensitivity, the efficiency of insulin and the uptake of glucose.
Studies also found that alpha-lipoic acid supplements can help with neuropathy, nerve damage caused by diabetes or cancer treatment. There is a reduction of symptoms like pain, tingling, and prickling in the feet and legs. It may also help protect the retina from some of the damage that can occur in people with diabetes.
To a great extent, alpha lipoic acid supplements also help to reduce glycation, the damage that sugar does to the body, including accelerated ageing.
ALA is the only known antioxidant that can easily enter the brain which explains why it is being used to treat Alzheimer patients. Alpha-lipoic acid supplement has also been researched as a treatment for many other conditions. These include Amanita mushroom poisoning, glaucoma, kidney disease, migraines, HIV, sciatica, cancer, liver problems, hepatitis, strokes, vascular disease, cataracts, multiple sclerosis, burning mouth syndrome and peripheral arterial disease.
Alpha lipoic acid supplement is critical to body-builders. Intense workouts cause the body to produce more free radicals. Not all free radicals are bad. Some are even used by the body for energy. Free radicals are required to produce vital hormones and fight bacteria and viruses. However, many of the free radicals can cause cellular damage. The antioxidant property in Alpha lipoic acid works in conjunction with Vitamins C and E, to ensure that the free radicals do not cause damage to muscles. An increase in stamina and strength is another benefit that can be derived from using Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements.
There is proof that long-term use of alpha-lipoic acid supplement might help with the symptoms of dementia. Other studies suggest that an alpha-lipoic acid cream might help skin damage related to aging.
How Alpha Lipoic acid supplements work?
- The strong antioxidant properties protect the body from destructive molecules called free radicals which are highly-reactive particles, a normal by product of metabolism. Damage to body's cells is contained.
- Activates enzymes that handle energy producing molecules.
- Alpha-lipoic acid's allow mitochondria (the power plants in cells) to turn glucose or sugars in the body into energy.
- Works as an internal repair mechanism. Monitors the health of each of the trillions of cells and activates the cells that it needs to solve the problem.
- Most antioxidants work well either in a fat-soluble or a water-soluble environment. As Alpha Lipoic acid supplement is both water and fat soluble, it can get into all cell parts to neutralize free radicals.
- It is readily absorbed throughout the body as its both water and fat soluble. In this manner it protects the integrity of cells ranging from the brain to the liver.
- Helps in collecting energy and nutrients from the food we eat.
- Increases production of glutathione which helps dissolve toxic substances in the liver by neutralizing free radicals produced in our bodies and protecting cells.
Are there any side effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Talk to your health care provider to know possible reaction with medications being taken, possible effect on prevailing health condition etc.
Proper dosage keeps you safe. A typical dosage for general wellness might be 100 mg to 200mg a day. The dosage may vary subject to intended purpose. There is no recommended daily dose for alpha lipoic acid. The side effects are usually a result of over dosage. Intake of ALA higher than 40 mg can cause insomnia. Although no life-threatening side effects have been associated with high doses of alpha lipoic acid (ALA), it is still a very potent substance.
Most common side effects of alpha lipoic acid supplements may include headache, or muscle cramps, stomach disorder, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence and the likes. Excessive intake of ALA can lead to the lowering of blood sugar.
Allergic reactions may include tingling or a 'pins and needles' sensation, skin rashes, itching, swelling of extremities and face, chest tightness and difficulty in breathing. You should discontinue use if these symptoms are felt.
The possibility of interactions with other medicines is high. Talk to health care provider if you are taking medicines for lowering blood sugar such as metmorfin (Glucophage), glipizide (Glucotrol), and glyburide (DiaBeta). There may be harmful interactions if ALA is taken with these medications. Taking ALA can increase risk of hypoglycemia in patients taking medications for diabetes including insulin.
To get the best benefits, take recommended dosage and combine it with regular exercise program and a healthy diet.