Alpha lipoic acid, also known as Lipoic acid, is contained inside every cell of the body where it helps produce energy. Lipoic acid also helps change glucose (blood sugar) into energy for the body’s needs, which is especially beneficial for diabetics. As an antioxidant, ALA helps to reduce the effects of naturally occurring chemicals called free radicals. Unlike other antioxidants, however, Lipoic acid is unique in that it works in both water and fat. Other antioxidants, such as vitamin c, only work in water or, such as vitamin e, in fat.
Typical healthy bodies produce enough Lipoic acid and therefore do not require supplemental sources. Unfortunately those with diabetes characteristically have low levels of ALA and are frequently unaware of that fact, given that typical mainstream medical doctors frequently do not test for these levels. In fact, it has been proven that certain nerve diseases, such as diabetic neuropathy are at least partially caused by free radical damage.
Diabetic neuropathy, or diabetic peripheral neuropathy, is a common complication of diabetes. Neuropathy is damage to the nerves that allow you to feel sensations such as pain, numbness, and other symptoms in the extremities, typically the legs and feet. There are a number of ways that diabetes damages the nerves, but they all seem related to blood glucose being too high for a long period of time. Nerve damage is one of diabetes most devastating complications that affect more than 60-70 % of all diabetics according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Low calorie foods that taste great are all around us!
Lipoic acid is not new and for decades it has been used in Germany to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy. A study in Diabetes Care recently reported that alpha lipoic acid may partially restore diabetic nerve function after a high dose oral treatment was given for four months. The theory is that lipoic acid may be able to go into all the parts of a nerve cell and potentially protect it against such damage since it works in both fat and water. Supplementation with lipoic acid has also been suggested by some diabetic specialists and it is being further studied in humans for diabetic neuropathy.
While Alpha lipoic acid is made by the body it can also be found in very small amounts in foods such as spinach, broccoli, peas, Brewer’s yeast, brussel sprouts, rice bran, and organ meats. Alpha lipoic acid supplements are available in capsule form at health food stores, some drugstores, and online.
All foods-carbohydrates, fats, and proteins-are broken down into simple organic chemicals. Once foods are sufficiently processed, they enter the cell and are methodically burned to produce energy. Alpha lipoic acid changes certain chemicals that are required for energy metabolism,
and it provides the means by which these essential substances can enter the mitochondrion. Some scientists believe that increasing the intake of AIA can greatly increase the amount of fuel burned in the cell, thereby augmenting the amount of energy available to your body for tasks such as muscle movement, growth, and repair of tissues.
AIA also appears to have the extraordinary ability to prevent damage to the cell at the genetic level. It changes certain chemicals that are required for energy metabolism, and it provides the means by which these essential substances can enter the mitochondrion. Because ALA is operative in so many basic cellular functions it has a great future as a drug for any number of diseases.