ALA is another huge favorite of ours, and we think the eminent researcher and physician Burt Berkson talks about it better than anyone else: “This remarkable coenzyme, which occurs naturally in younger bodies, but gradually diminishes with age, may very well be one of your best defenses against disease and aging... ALA modifies certain chemicals that are required for energy metabolism, thereby providing the means by which these essential substances can enter the mitochondrion (the powerhouse of the cell).
Sufficient intake of ALA 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."
Scientific testing has confirmed ALA’s ability to increase the sugar-burning capacity of insulin and in some cases has resulted in less insulin dependency. This fact alone makes ALA a very valuable therapeutic agent and should supplement the diet of diabetics. Each bottle contains 180 capsules of 100mg for a three to six-month supply.
Quite Possibly the "Universal" Antioxidant
If it's essential role in health is any indication, alpha-lipoic
acid may very well join the ranks of vitamins C and E as part of your first-line
of defense against free radicals. Discovered in 1951, it serves as a coenzyme in
the Krebs cycle and in the production of cellular energy. In the late 1980s,
researchers realized that alpha-lipoic acid had been overlooked as a powerful
Over the past few years, the pace of research on lipoic
acid has increased dramatically. Last year, Lester Packer, PhD, of the
University of California, Berkeley, published a lengthy review article on alpha-lipoic
acid in Free Radical Biology & Medicine (1995;19:227-50). In April 1996, he
presented a short review of it in the same journal (FRBM;20:625-6).
Several qualities distinguish alpha-lipoic acid from other
antioxidants, and Packer has described it at various times as the "universal,"
"ideal," and "metabolic" antioxidant. It neutralizes free radicals in both the
fatty and watery regions of cells, in contrast to vitamin C (which is water
soluble) and vitamin E (which is fat soluble).
The body routinely converts some alpha-lipoic acid to
dihydrolipoic acid, which appears to be an even more powerful antioxidant. Both
forms of lipoic acid quench peroxynitrite radicals, an especially dangerous type
consisting of both oxygen and nitrogen, according to a recent paper in FEBS
Letters (Whiteman M, et al., FEBS Letters, 1996; 379:74-6). Peroxynitrite
radicals play a role in the development of atherosclerosis, lung disease,
chronic inflammation, and neurological disorders.
Alpha-lipoic acid also plays an important role in the
synergism of antioxidants, what Packer prefers to call the body's "antioxidant
network." It directly recycles and extends the metabolic lifespans of vitamin C,
glutathione, and coenzyme Q10, and it indirectly renews vitamin E.
In Germany, alpha-lipoic acid is an approved medical
treatment for peripheral neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes. It
speeds the removal of glucose from the bloodstream, at least partly by enhancing
insulin function, and it reduces insulin resistance, an underpinning of many
cases of coronary heart disease and obesity. The therapeutic dose for lipoic
acid is 600 mg/day. In the United States, it is sold as a dietary supplement,
usually as 50 mg tablets. (The richest food source of alpha-lipoic acid is red
"From a therapeutic viewpoint, few natural antioxidants
are ideal," Packer recently explained in Free Radical Biology & Medicine. "An
ideal therapeutic antioxidant would fulfill several criteria. These include
absorption from the diet, conversion in cells and tissues into usable form, a
variety of antioxidant actions (including interactions with other antioxidants)
in both membrane and aqueous phases, and low toxicity."
"Alpha-lipoic acid...is unique among natural antioxidants
in its ability to fulfill all of these requirements," he continued, "making it a
potentially highly effective therapeutic agent in a number of conditions in
which oxidative damage has been implicated."
Other research on alpha-lipoic acid has shown that it
help people with genetic defects leading to muscle
myopathies (Barbiroli B, et al., Journal of Neurology, 1995;242:472-7);
reduce ischemia/reperfusion injury to the heart and
brain. (Schonheit K, et al., Biochimica et Biophysica Acta,
1995;1271:335-42; and Cao X and Phillis JW, Free Radical Research,
inhibit the activation of "nuclear factor kappa-B," a
protein complex involved in cancer and the progression of AIDS. (Suzuki YJ,
et al., Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications,
"The therapeutic potential of alpha-lipoic acid is just
beginning to be explored," observed Packer, "but this compound holds great
The information provided by Jack Challem and The Nutrition
Reporter™ newsletter is strictly educational and not intended as medical advice.
For diagnosis and treatment, consult your physician.
For years you’ve
been told to eat your fruits and vegetables
in order to be healthy, and now science is
discovering why. Fruits, vegetables, and
berries are important sources of
antioxidants, which are showing great
promise in the fight against aging and
age-related diseases. Many of the conditions
and ailments associated with aging happen at
a genetic level. As our bodies age, they no
longer heal and repair at the cellular level
as well as they once did. With the
combination of poor eating habits, stress,
and environmental toxins, our cells are
constantly being attacked by toxins known as
Ironically, most of the free radicals
attacking our cells from the inside come
from a natural cause, eating. As the body
metabolizes food, it breaks it down into
individual components. Some of these
components are free radicals, atoms that are
missing an electron in their outer shell.
These atoms attempt to stabilize by
“stealing” an electron, typically from a
healthy cell. As these free radicals
scavenge your body for electrons, they
damage cells and DNA. This natural process
is called oxidation. This same oxidative
process is what causes iron to rust when it
comes in contact with water. Your cells are
literally “rusting” away from the constant
attack of these unstable free radicals.
Our bodies protect
themselves with the antioxidants that we get
from food. Antioxidants block the oxidation
process by neutralizing these free radicals.
The anti-oxidants give up the extra
electron, thus preventing it from being
taken from a healthy cell. As these
anti-oxidants are used up in the process,
there is a constant need to replenish the
body’s antioxidant resources.
Your body can not make antioxidants, it
relies on getting them from food and
supplements. The antioxidants in food are
typically found in the highest concentration
in berries and fruit, but most people don’t
consume nearly enough of these foods to
adequately stock their antioxidant
resources. Supplements can be used to
provide your body with natural antioxidant
sources to protect you from the effects of
aging. Resveratrol, vitamins, A, C, and E,
and proanthrocyanidins are just a few of the
multitude of antioxidant supplements
available without a prescription. The most
effective antioxidant supplements are those
that use natural sources, instead of
synthetic vitamins, to derive their
free-radical neutralizing ingredients.
This is a "one time" purchase.
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