Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – also known as thioctic acid, was discovered in 1951 as a molecule identified in the acetyl group transfer phase as well as a coenzyme in the Krebs cycle.
In the 1980s, the scientific community realized that ALA is also a powerful antioxidant.
Several defining properties of ALA over other antioxidants:
In a placebo-controlled, multi-center clinical trial, 600 mg ALA twice a day for 4 weeks increased insulin sensitivity by 27% by increasing glucose processing and elimination rates.
Alpha Lipoic acid has been extensively studied in Europe for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy through 3 large placebo-controlled trials (ALADIN studies). Improvement in conduction parameters and nerve function was noted. In another placebo-controlled trial, coded under the name SYDNEY, ALA-registered group experienced a substantial improvement in the symptoms of neuropathy (burning sensation, numbness)..
In a clinical trial of glaucoma diabetic patients using 150-300 mg / day of ALA, significant improvements in eye disease were observed by improving visual function.
The reperfusion injury is a consequence of ischemia caused by a myocardial infarction or a stroke. If an area is free of blood for a while, as happens in cases of stroke or myocardial infarction caused by a blood clot, reperfusion causes a shock by releasing a large contingent of free radicals. Several studies have led to the conclusion that ALA is a neuroprotector after ischemia. One week after ischemia, ALA-treated patients had significantly higher sensory amplitude and velocity than the placebo group.
Preliminary studies in alcohol-induced liver disease indicate benefits of ALA treatment, particularly for peripheral neuropathy.
Alpha Lipoic acid can have positive effects in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other memory dysfunctions due to trauma or stroke. By reducing the oxidative lesions of the central nervous system caused by free radicals, ALA can reduce the severity of sequelae. ALA protects brain cells against neurotoxicity, considered one of the causes that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
INTOXICATION WITH HEAVY METALS
Clinical studies in vitro and in vivo suggest that supplementation with Alpha Lipoic Acid is a beneficial component in treating the toxicity of heavy metals in particular: lead, mercury and cadmium.
Because taking ALA can lead to low blood sugar, consult your doctor if you are diabetic and are taking hypoglycemic drugs or insulin in order to avoid lowering too much your blood sugar.