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Unlocking Youth: Alpha Lipoic Acid's Surprising Anti-Aging Benefits

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Anti-Aging's Nutritional Superstar: Unlocking the Potential of Alpha Lipoic Acid and Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits for Healthier Aging

Unleash the power of nature’s potent antioxidant – Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), which is a naturally occurring fatty acid that offers a myriad of health advantages. From managing blood sugar levels and supporting weight loss to enhancing brain health and lengthening telomeres, Alpha Lipoic Acid is indeed a multifaceted supplement. So, let’s discover the dynamics of this powerful antioxidant and its remarkable anti-aging benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Alpha Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a versatile antioxidant that combats free radicals, regenerates other antioxidants, and is uniquely soluble in both water and fat, enhancing its absorption and distribution throughout the body making it essential to promote longevity.

  • ALA supports the length of telomeres, which are critical to healthy aging.

  • In addition, this wonder nutrient supports weight loss, aids brain health and memory function, improves blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity and even offers relief for diabetic neuropathy.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: A Powerful Antioxidant That Fights Aging

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a fatty acid found in red meats and especially organ meat (liver, etc.). It's also found in lesser amounts in vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, and beets. The challenge is that as you age your natural levels of ALA drop. Oral supplements can, and according to many medical experts should, fill that gap.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Neutralizes Free Radicals

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is one of nature's most potent anti-aging antioxidants. Unlike most antioxidants, ALA is soluble in both water and fat, meaning it can get into all kinds of tissues in your body-- even crossing the blood-brain-barrier! It's really more than just an antioxidant; it’s a powerful fighter in the battle against free radicals. Free radicals, the notorious cellular troublemakers, are unstable atoms that can cause cellular damage, leading to illness and aging. ALA actively neutralizes these pesky free radicals, acting as a defensive shield for cells. The magic lies in ALA's mechanism, as it neutralizes free radicals through a unique process. It accepts and donates electrons, preventing damage without becoming a radical itself. It’s like a superhero that never loses its power! Research suggests that Alpha Lipoic Acid may also play a role in supporting overall health, including Alpha Lipoic Acid reduction of oxidative stress.

Regenerates Other Antioxidants

What makes Alpha Lipoic Acid stand out from other antioxidants? For one, its ability to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as glutathione which is considered your "master antioxidant." (Think of it as the world's best recycler.) That makes ALA an exceptional player in the antioxidant league. Speaking of glutathione, a Danish study showed that centenarians (people over age 100) had higher glutathione levels than those who were 60 to 79. Those over age 100 who were the most active had very highest levels of glutathione. So, using ALA to increase your levels of glutathione is a smart move.

Alpha Lipoic Acid also has the capacity to restore oxidized forms of other antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, thus fortifying our body’s protective barrier against damaging free radicals. But its benefits don’t stop there. ALA also plays a key role in reducing oxidative stress by preventing lipid peroxidation and protein damage, making it a comprehensive shield against cellular damage.

Water and Fat Soluble

ALA’s unique chemical structure enables it to dissolve in both water and fat, making it highly adaptable and easily absorbable in the human body. This dual solubility enhances its role as an antioxidant by enabling it to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) in both water-based and lipid-based environments, safeguarding cells and tissues from oxidative damage in diverse bodily locations.

After oral ingestion, ALA is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and readily transported to various organs, including the brain. As we mentioned earlier, it can cross the blood-brain-barrier, and that's due to its water and fat solubility.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Keeps Your Telomeres Long and Strong

Telomeres are chromosome end-caps that protect your genes and DNA. They have been called the single most important biomarker of aging because they're known to affect your speed of aging and determine your longevity. Many studies have linked longer telomeres with longer lifespan. Telomeres shorten with every cell division. When they become too short to shorten any more, your cells die and your health declines.

Telomere length is a marker of cellular aging and has long been linked with age-related diseases. Environmental factors (including nutrition, fitness, and tobacco) affect your rate of telomere shrinkage. Animal studies have found that those with more rapid telomere shortening live shorter lives than those that shorten more slowly. A mouse study found that those with super long telomeres showed fewer signs of aging and had longer lifespans. And the research has been replicated in people: When researchers conducted a study with thousands of identical twins, longer telomeres were associated with a younger age and a younger appearance.

Telomere shrinkage can be reversed by the enzyme telomerase. Activation of telomerase by natural compounds such as alpha lipoic acid is thought to affect the speed of aging and be a potent age fighter. Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found ALA can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, in mouse blood vessels. Specifically, the researchers found that ALA "protects against telomere malfunction, oxidative stress, and DNA damage."

What about clinical research? Interestingly, a 2019 study found that nutraceutical compounds such as ALA help sustain telomere length in healthy adults, even when adjusted for age and gender. That's why ALA is part of the Telomerase Activation Complex in Green Valley Naturals' Genesis anti-aging formula. But it's only the beginning of why ALA helps you age better than your parents did.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits Blood Sugar Health

If you’re battling diabetes or are at risk for it, ALA could be a game-changer. It has been shown to improve blood glucose control, enhance insulin sensitivity, and provide relief from diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage.

Improves Blood Sugar Control

ALA can be a powerful ally to lower blood sugar levels. It helps overcome insulin resistance by improving insulin sensitivity. Research has shown that ALA supplements can assist in:

  • Regulating blood sugar levels

  • Enhancing insulin sensitivity

  • Repairing impaired glucose tolerance

  • Enhancing hepatic (liver) insulin sensitivity

  • Regulating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to inhibit insulin secretion from beta cells to improve your body's ability to process blood sugar.

In fact, if you're on blood sugar medication, ALA’s ability to enhance insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels means you'll have to carefully monitor glucose levels so blood sugar doesn't fall too low.

Increases Insulin Sensitivity

Improving insulin sensitivity is yet another feather in ALA’s cap. AMPK is an enzyme that plays a role in cellular energy homeostasis by activating glucose and fatty acid uptake and oxidation when cellular energy is low. In other words, it gives your cells fuel whether you're exercising or driving to the grocery store. By activating AMPK in skeletal muscle, ALA:

  • Reduces plasma glucose levels

  • Increases insulin sensitivity

  • Positively influences mitochondria (your cells energy makers)

  • Lowers blood fats

All of these contribute to improved blood glucose metabolism and enhanced insulin action. What that means for you is balanced blood sugar. As a result, Alpha Lipoic Acid supplementation may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose control, helping you manage insulin resistance and possibly even prevent it. The suggested dosage for enhancing insulin sensitivity ranges from 600 to 1,800 milligrams per day, with adjustments made based on individual needs under the supervision of a medical professional.

Reduces Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, alpha lipoic acid can help there, too. By leveraging its antioxidant properties, ALA can:

  • Delay or reverse peripheral neuropathy

  • Improve motor-nerve conduction velocity

  • Protect nerves from ischemia

  • Alleviate neuropathic symptoms

In layman's terms, alpha lipoic acid enhances nerve blood flow, decreases oxidative stress, and enhances nerve function, which helps address the nerve damage of diabetic neuropathy. Clinically relevant improvements have been found with a daily ALA supplement of 600 mg for five weeks or intravenous treatment of 600 mg per day over the course of three weeks.

Alpha Lipoic Acid for Weight Loss and Metabolic Support

If weight loss is your goal, ALA might be your new best friend. Because of its ability to balance blood sugar and support metabolic health, Alpha Lipoic Acid can help you manage metabolic syndrome and keep your weight in check.

A large-scale study of 1,612 obese men and women performed in Italy found that a daily dose of ALA resulted in weight loss. Specifically, the researchers found that ALA supplementation reduced weight, resulted in a healthier body mass index (BMI), smaller waist circumference, and better blood pressure.

Supports Energy Production

As we mentioned earlier, alpha lipoic acid plays a vital role in energy production. It helps convert glucose into energy at the cellular level within the mitochondria, helping maintain the body’s overall energy equilibrium. In instances of fatigue, oral alpha lipoic acid supplementation can be an effective remedy, boosting energy levels and mitigating fatigue.

Prevents and Manages Metabolic Syndrome

ALA is more than just an antioxidant; it also serves as a potential remedy for managing metabolic syndrome because it:

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Improves insulin levels

  • Lowers glucose and serum triglycerides (fats)

ALA is shown in science to remedy various aspects of metabolic syndrome, including diabetic polyneuropathy (neuropathy that affects multiple nerves and limbs) and insulin resistance.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Supports Brain Health and Memory

ALA is a neuroprotective agent that supports brain health and enhances memory function. It slows memory loss, delays the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and provides neuroprotective effects. ALA’s neuroprotective effects are impressive. It guards against oxidative stress, boosts antioxidant activity, and promotes the Nrf2 signaling pathway.

Slows Memory Loss

ALA serves as a natural remedy for memory loss because this potent antioxidant crosses the blood-brain-barrier. Studies have shown that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may experience cognitive improvement from ALA supplementation.

Slows Alzheimer's Disease Progression

ALA has a significant role in managing the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. By reversing oxidative stress, reducing amyloid burden, and improving memory, ALA is a promising preventive measure for Alzheimer’s disease. Research suggests that ALA supplementation could alleviate cognitive deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease patients, especially those with diabetes. What's more, studies suggest that ALA can lower neuron death in Parkinson’s disease.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Dietary Supplements: Choosing the Right One

Selecting the appropriate ALA supplement is vital for harnessing its maximum potential. When selecting an ALA supplement, buy only from a reputable retailer with cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Process) certification to ensure quality and potency of your supplement. Green Valley Naturals has cGMP certification among others.

Dosage

The suggested dosage of alpha lipoic acid for adults is a key factor in determining its effectiveness. The general guideline is a daily dose ranging from 200 to 1,800 mg depending on individual circumstances and health objectives. However, the dosage can vary based on the specific health condition and should be customized under the supervision of a healthcare professional knowledgeable in the use of supplements.

Recommended Forms

The form of Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement can greatly impact its absorption and overall effectiveness. R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) or a combination of R-lipoic acid and S-lipoic acid are the suggested forms for supplementation as R-ALA is considered to be more biologically active and has greater bioavailability.

Dietary Sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid can also be sourced from food, especially organ meats and certain vegetables.

Organ Meats

Organ meats such as heart, kidney, and liver are abundant sources of ALA. However, the cooking process can influence the ALA content in organ meats, with exposure to high heat potentially degrading ALA. Despite their high ALA content, organ meats should be consumed in moderation due to their high cholesterol and saturated fat content.

Vegetables

Vegetables are another great source of ALA. Some vegetables that are particularly high in ALA include:

  • Spinach

  • Broccoli

  • Tomatoes

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Peas

Cooking methods can influence the ALA content in these vegetables. Certain methods, such as boiling and steaming, can enhance the antioxidant capacity and preserve ALA. Consuming ALA-rich vegetables can offer various health benefits, including neutralizing free radicals, decreasing inflammation, and regulating blood sugar levels.

Summary: Alpha Lipoic Acid and Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits

Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits are truly impressive, from lengthening telomeres to managing blood sugar levels, supporting weight loss, promoting skin health, and enhancing brain health. With the right dosage, purity, and form, ALA can be a powerful addition to your anti-aging health regimen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does alpha-lipoic acid do for your body?

Alpha Lipoic Acid acts as an antioxidant in the body, helping convert glucose into energy and combating free radicals. It is also used as a medication to treat chronic diseases associated with oxidative stress. The functionality of ALA becomes more intriguing with its capability to restore other antioxidants. ALA is like the ‘Phoenix’ among antioxidants – it has the ability to regenerate crucial antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutathione, enabling them to continue their vital functions in addressing oxidative stress in the body. This restoration process helps strike a balance between oxidative stress and antioxidant defense systems, a key component for fostering overall health.

What vitamins should not be taken with alpha-lipoic acid?

Avoid taking Alpha Lipoic Acid with other herbal/health supplements that lower blood sugar, such as devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, and Siberian ginseng.

Is it safe to take alpha-lipoic acid daily?

Taking Alpha Lipoic Acid daily is generally considered safe. Studies suggest that adults can take up to 2,400 mg without experiencing harmful effects. However, it's important to stick to recommended doses or your doctor's recommendations for optimal benefits.

What are the symptoms of alpha-lipoic acid deficiency?

The symptoms of Alpha Lipoic Acid deficiency, also known as lipoic acid synthetase deficiency, include seizures, muscle control issues, feeding difficulties, and psychomotor delays. This condition is rare and can lead to serious neurometabolic disease.

What are the benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)?

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) offers numerous health benefits, including managing blood sugar levels, supporting weight loss, promoting skin health, enhancing brain health, in addition to lengthening telomeres to support healthier aging and a longer lifespan. These benefits make it a valuable addition to your anti-aging health regimen.

Tsoukalas D, Fragkiadaki P, Docea AO, Alegakis AK, Sarandi E, Vakonaki E, Salataj E, Kouvidi E, Nikitovic D, Kovatsi L, et al. Association of nutraceutical supplements with longer telomere length. Int J Mol Med. 2019;44:218–226. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31115552/

Ametov, Alexander S., MD, et al, “The Sensory Symptoms of Diabetic Polyneuropathy Are Improved With α-Lipoic Acid,” Diabetes Care 2003;26(3):770–776

Andersen HR, “Lower Activity of Superoxide Dismutase and High Activity of Glutathione Reductase in Erythrocytes from Centenarians.” Age and Aging 1998;27:643–648.

Belenguer-Varea Á, Tarazona-Santabalbina FJ, Avellana-Zaragoza JA, Martínez-Reig M, Mas-Bargues C, Inglés M. Oxidative stress and exceptional human longevity: Systematic review. Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 Mar;149:51-63. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2019.09.019. Epub 2019 Sep 21. PMID: 31550529. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31550529/

Mecocci P, Polidori MC, Troiano L, Cherubini A, Cecchetti R, Pini G, Straatman M, Monti D, Stahl W, Sies H, Franceschi C, Senin U. Plasma antioxidants and longevity: a study on healthy centenarians. Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Apr 15;28(8):1243-8. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(00)00246-x. Erratum in: Free Radic Biol Med 2000 Sep 1;29(5):486. PMID: 10889454. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10889454/

Haussmann MF, Winkler DW, O'Reilly KM, Huntington CE, Nisbet IC, Vleck CM. Telomeres shorten more slowly in long-lived birds and mammals than in short-lived ones. Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Jul 7;270(1522):1387-92. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2385. PMID: 12965030; PMCID: PMC1691385. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12965030/

Muñoz-Lorente, M.A., Cano-Martin, A.C. & Blasco, M.A. Mice with hyper-long telomeres show less metabolic aging and longer lifespans. Nat Commun 10, 4723 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12664-x

Xiong, S., et al. PGC-1α Modulates Telomere Function and DNA Damage in Protecting against Aging-Related Chronic Diseases. Cell Reports. VOLUME 12, ISSUE 9, P1391-1399, SEPTEMBER 01, 2015. https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(15)00825-6.

Salehi B, Berkay Yılmaz Y, Antika G, Boyunegmez Tumer T, Fawzi Mahomoodally M, Lobine D, Akram M, Riaz M, Capanoglu E, Sharopov F, Martins N, Cho WC, Sharifi-Rad J. Insights on the Use of α-Lipoic Acid for Therapeutic Purposes. Biomolecules. 2019 Aug 9;9(8):356. doi: 10.3390/biom9080356. PMID: 31405030; PMCID: PMC6723188. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31405030/

Nguyen H, Gupta V. Alpha-Lipoic Acid. 2022 Sep 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 33231971. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33231971/

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