Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): Inflammation & Heart Health Benefits

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Looking for something that can fight inflammation and oxidation and is easily accessible?

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is your answer. It is a type of fatty acid that comes from the mitochondrial family and is able to provide defense against both inflammation and oxidation. This fatty acid is synthesized in your body and the best way to get more of it into your system is by sourcing it from your diet. You can get ALA by eating some vegetables and fruits, but the best sources are usually meat.

Recently, alpha-lipoic acid has become readily available in supplement form. Even in supplement form, it has shown great results when it comes to fighting oxidation and inflammation. Besides these two very powerful capabilities, alpha-lipoic acid is also able to give your advantage when fighting heart disease, liver disease, and neurological decline which often occurs as we age or if you develop diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant. To be specific, it’s an anti-oxidative compound. It functions alongside the already present anti-oxidative abilities of our bodies and the mitochondria in them. Because of its ability to fight oxidative damage it has excellent anti-aging abilities as well. Many of the aging effects that we experience as we get older are caused by oxidant damage, and alpha-lipoic acid can reverse this damage and thus reduce the aging effect.

Another term that alpha-lipoic acid can be recognized as is thioctic acid. It’s mostly located in meat, specifically the organ tissues, and can also be found in some fruits and vegetables. The following foods have the greatest amount of alpha-lipoic acid in them, and you should definitely consider them if you are looking to increase your alpha-lipoic acid intake:

  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Heart Tissue
  • Liver
  • Kidney

In many cases, alpha-lipoic acid is combined with other supplements that contain l-carnitine in them since both are related to the way they function in our body. Whenever you take alpha-lipoic acid, your body is able to increase the production of antioxidant enzymes, which results in huge oxidation-reduction in your system. In addition to decreasing oxidation, blood glucose can also be decreased by alpha-lipoic acid intake.

Benefits of Benefits And Side Effects Of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)

The antioxidant powers of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) can lead to many other benefits which we can gain advantage from. We have listed some of these benefits below:

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

Studies and research have pointed to an advantage of taking ALA in addition to CoQ10, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium for up to two months before the surgery and for 1 month post-surgery. Doing so has been verified to reduce complications related to CABG surgery significantly.

Diabetic Nerve Pain

Research has shown that if taken orally, ALA can actually help you reduce the burning feeling, pain, and numbness in your legs and arms if you are a diabetic. It generally takes about 5 weeks before you can see the symptoms improve.

Pre-Diabetes

Taking ALA at a 600 mg dosage through an IV has shown to decrease the levels of blood sugar drastically, especially at the times when they often rise after meals.

Diabetes

Taking ALA orally has also been proven to reduce overall blood sugar levels in those who are suffering from diabetes.

Weight Loss

Additional studies have also concluded that taking ALA daily at 1800 mg for roughly 20 weeks can help you lose weight. It is one of the main benefits that many people seek to gain when taking alpha-lipoic acid.

Vitiligo

This is a condition in which pigment is lost in certain areas of the skin. Research shows that taking a combination of alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E daily in addition to light therapy can improve the skin coloration in people who have Vitiligo.

Other Effects Of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)

The function of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is to prevent damage that can occur in certain cells in our body. It can also help our body restore the levels of vitamin E and vitamin C. Finally, even conduction of our neurons and how they function can be greatly improved by simply taking alpha-lipoic acid.

Alpha-lipoic acid is also used when carbohydrates are broken down in our body. This means that ALA can contribute to the production of energy in our system which can be used as fuel by all of our organs.

Since alpha-lipoic acid also functions as an antioxidant it can also protect our brain from damage which can occur due to free radicals present in our system. Specific liver diseases can also be impacted by taking alpha-lipoic acid in a positive way.

When taken orally, through an IV, or when applied onto our skin, alpha-lipoic acid is considered to be safe amongst adults. It has been discovered that some people have developed a rash when they took ALA orally. Those who have thiamine deficiency or who are at risk of developing it should stay away from ALA if they are supplementing with thiamine.

Since ALA can also lower your blood sugar levels, it is strongly suggested to carefully monitor your glucose levels if you are a diabetic who is supplementing with ALA. Additionally, pay very close attention to your blood sugar levels if you take other medications which are designed to reduce it. If you are a diabetic and are planning to supplement with ALA, please speak to your doctor about your intentions first.

Possible Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) Side Effects

Besides the obvious effects that Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) has on your body like lowering your blood sugar levels and reacting adversely with thiamine, there aren’t many other possible side effects.

Research is still limited about the effects that taking ALA can have on those who are breastfeeding or are pregnant. Supplementation with ALA during pregnancy and breastfeeding should be avoided for those reasons.

As we mentioned earlier, blood sugar levels can be reduced if using ALA. You should adjust your blood sugar medication if you take any. Speak with your doctor to decide the best dosage alteration.

Consuming alcohol can reduce your thiamine levels. Since the combination of thiamine and ALA can present complication and serious health problem, we strongly suggest that you do not supplement with alpha-lipoic acid if you drink heavily. If you decide to take ALA anyway, then we suggest that you take a thiamine supplement by itself at another point during the day with plenty of time between supplementations.

An overactive or underactive thyroid treatment can be impacted by ALA supplementation. If you suffer from one of these conditions, please speak with your doctor about your intention to supplement with ALA.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) Summary

While alpha-lipoic acid can deliver a ton of different benefits for your body, it can also create many complications if not taken seriously and with caution. If you suffer from various medical conditions or specific single conditions, talking to your doctor about your ALA supplementation intentions is absolutely vital. They will be able to determine how much of an effect ALA will have on your body and other medications you might take.

Be very cautious if you decide to use alpha-lipoic acid and you are a diabetic. ALA can reduce blood sugar levels and if combined with certain diabetes medication it can lead to hypoglycemia which can have serious effects on your body.

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