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Alpha lipoic acid (known as thioctic acid) is a vitamin like natural antioxidant. Alpha lipoic acid is sometimes referred to as the "universal antioxidant," since it is soluble in both fat and water.
ALA has several potential benefits for diabetics. It enhances glucose uptake in non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM), inhibits glycosylation(the abnormal attachment of sugar to protein) and has been used to improve diabetic nerve damage and reduce pain associated with that nerve damage. Most studies have used intravenous APA, but oral supplementation have proved partially helpful in treating at least one form of diabetic neuropathy, using 800 mg per day.
There is preliminary evidence that ALA, taken in the amount of 150 mg daily for one month, improves visual function in people with glaucoma.
ALA has been shown to inhibit the replication of the HIV virus in the test tube. It is not known whether supplementing with ALA would benefit HIV-positive people.
ALA has been given to people who have eaten poison mushrooms, significantly increasing the survival rate. Such a treatment should be prescribed by a nutritionally oriented doctor and should not be attempted on one's own.
The body makes small amounts of ALA. There is only limited knowledge about the food sources of this nutrient. Foods that contain mitochondria (a specialized component of cells), such as red meats, are believed to provide the most alpha lipoic acid.
ALA was thought to be a vitamin when it was first discovered, subsequent research determined that it is created in the human body and is not an essential nutrient. For this reason, humans are not known to be deficient in ALA.
The amount of ALA used in research to improve diabetic neuropathies is 800 mg per day and 150 mg per day for glaucoma. Much lower amounts, such as 20-50mg per day are recommended by some doctors of natural medicine for general antioxidant protection, although there remains no clear evidence that such general use has any benefit.
Side effects with ALA are rare but can include skin rash and potential of hypoglycemia in diabetic patients. Individuals who may be deficient in Vitamin B1 (such as alcoholics) should take Vitamin B1 along with ALA supplements.
Love Your Liver With Alpha Lipoic Acid
by James J. Gormley (Natural News)
Even though the liver is not pretty, it is an extremely important organ. Reasons to appreciate our liver abound since this organ does all of the following and more: saves up energy; makes bile to help break down food; keeps pollution from hurting us; stops cuts from bleeding too long; kills germs; gets rid of toxic chemicals; and helps build muscle.
Liver disease affects one in 10 Americans or about 30 million people including children. Liver disease begins with inflammation. If left untreated over time, inflamed liver tissue begins to scar or become fibrous, a condition known as fibrosis. If fibrosis is not treated or healed, irreversible damage can occur, called cirrhosis; this can lead to liver cancer. If the liver loses most or all of its function, a life-threatening condition called liver failure can result. To complicate matters further, there is hepatitis C, a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus or HCV. It is fortunate that 15 to 40 percent of people who contract HCV are able to successfully fight off the virus within the first six months, sadly most of the patients who are not able to beat the virus wind up developing a long-term, chronic hepatitis C infection. Over 4 million Americans have been infected with hepatitis C and the virus is responsible for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths annually. This is one of the most common reasons for liver transplants
Alpha Lipoic Acid
One nutrient that has been the focus of related research and which shows the greatest promise for liver health has curiously not yet attained the level of popularity enjoyed by milk thistle; it is: alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid (or ALA) was discovered by University of Illinois enzymologist Irwin Gunsalus in 1948 and described and characterized by University of Texas biochemist Lester J. Reed in March 1951.It is a natural substance that, according to ALA pioneer Burt Berkson, M.D., in the December 2007 edition of the Townsend Letter, is the "rate-limiting factor for the production of energy from carbohydrates." In other words, without alpha lipoic acid we could not obtain energy from the food we eat and we could not stay alive.
The first large scale human clinical studies using alpha lipoic acid in the U.S. were carried out in the 1970s by Berkson, Frederick C. Bartter, M.D. and other scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The researchers gave the nutrient to 79 people with severe liver damage; 75 of those, according to Berkson, recovered full liver function. In 1999 Berkson published three case reports using a triple-antioxidant supplement regimen in patients with liver disease, including chronic hepatitis C infection. After several months of treatment with a combination of Alpha lipoic acid, Selenium and Silymarin, all three patients recovered most or all of their liver function, avoided liver transplantation and went on to live healthy, productive lives free of the symptoms of liver disease. From 2006 to 2008, studies in humans have shown that alpha lipoic acid can provide important improvements in the following: recovery following liver surgery; protection from chemotherapy side effects and chemical poisoning; liver regeneration and protection against liver and kidney damage from acetaminophen-containing drugs (e.g., Tylenol, Anacin-3 and Percocet). Since acetaminophen poisoning sends over 56,000 people to emergency rooms each year in the U.S., these study results are all the more impressive.
Alpha lipoic acid helps in the areas of nerve health (e.g., diabetic neuropathy), metabolic health (e.g., insulin resistance and weight control) and brain health. In an industrialized world heavily burdened by pollution and toxic chemicals, alpha lipoic acid has emerged and rightly so, as a nutritional ray of hope for many.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (100 capsules)