(NaturalNews) Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that is made by the body, in small amounts and is found in every cell. It is also known as a metabolic antioxidant because in its absence, the cells of the body wouldn't be able to turn glucose into energy.
Nicholas V. Perricone, MD, author of "The Wrinkle Cure" wrote an article on how ALA will play a major part in the future for the treatment of aging skin. According to him, Alpha-lipoic acid helps with the elimination of damaged collagen resulting in erasing of wrinkles and facial scars.
In addition to combating the ravages of aging, Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to be effective for glaucoma, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, hepatitis C, diabetes induced impotence, and it represents a promising therapy for multiple sclerosis.
Alpha-lipoic acid as a recycler
Alpha-lipoic acid is effective on its own, but in combination with other elements with antioxidant properties and its ability to be soluble in fat and water, it can travel to all the cells of the body to deactivate free radicals. This is why ALA is often called the recycler.
For instance, it helps renew the inhibiting factors of glutathione, vitamins E and C after they have used their antioxidant attributes to counteract free radicals, which are atoms or groups of atoms that are known for damaging your immune system's healthy cells; causing diseases such as heart disease, cancer and being a catalyst in aging quicker than you should. Alpha-lipoic acid can reduce the oxidative stress of these unstable molecules.
Alpha-lipoic acid assisting glaucoma
Glaucoma is one of the eye diseases that damages the optic nerve and impairs vision. It is characterized by increased intraocular pressure in some but not all cases. More than three million Americans have this condition. It's the second leading cause of blindness (after macular degeneration) and with the baby boomer population increasing, it's expected to become more common.
There seems to be hope on the horizon for this devastating disease. Conventional medical therapies for glaucoma include pharmaceuticals (such as beta-blockers), laser therapy, surgery and osmotic agents in the form of eye drops. However, several studies demonstrated that dietary modification and Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation can significantly lower intraocular eye pressure.
Alpha-lipoic acid beneficial to circulatory problems
In the American Society for Nutritional Sciences Journal, A. Stephanie D. Wollin and Peter J. H. Jones of the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, presented and article expressing how Alpha-lipoic acid provided protection against LDL oxidation and modulation of hypertension. Therefore, ALA represents a possible protective agent against risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers have found that Alpha-lipoic acid actually changes the action of genes that control cholesterol. It cranks up production of enzymes that act as free radical scavengers, and it lowers production of LDL cholesterol.
In another study, it virtually reversed the ill effects of a high-fat diet. Animals on a high-fat diet that got supplemental alpha lipoic acid had a 73 percent reduction in total cholesterol, a 75 percent reduction in triglycerides, a 71 percent reduction in harmful LDL cholesterol, and more than doubled their beneficial HDL.
This is just a partial list of how Alpha-lipoic acid is being utilized. Research has and continues to be done on ALA and the benefits it provided for other medical issues, such as olfactory loss, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer's, and environmental pollution.
This powerful antioxidant has been in use in Europe for several decades. American researchers are a bit behind in discovering the benefits of Alpha-lipoic acid. Supporters hope that as time progresses, we'll learn how this valuable inhibitor operates to support the human body.
Sources for this article include
Balch, P. A., & Balch, J. F. (2000). Prescription for Nutritional Healing (3rd ed.). antioxidants (pp. 53). New York: Every/Penguin Putnam Inc.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine - Volume 19, Issue 2, August 1995, Pages 227-250.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D. of Yale University School of Medicine - The use of topical ascorbyl palmitate and alpha-lipoic acid for aging skin. Published date: February 1998.
Challem, Jack J. Natural therapies for reducing intraocular eye pressure: Rationale and two case reports. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 4, 4th quarter, 2002, pp. 209-12.
Adil E.L. Midaoui, Aziz Elimadi, Lingyun Wu, Pierre S. Haddad & Jacques de Champlain, Lipoic acid prevents hypertension, hyperglycemia, and the increase in heart mitochondrial superoxide production - American Journal of Hypertension 16, 73-179 (March 2003).
Stephanie D. Wollin and Peter J. H. Jones-School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada Alpha-lipoic acid and Cardiovascular Disease, The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 133:3327-3330, November 2003.
Yale University of Medicine Heart Book, Dr. Henry R. Black, April 9, 2002.
Yang, RL et al. Nutrition 2008 June; 24(6):582-8.
Keegan A, Cotter MA, Cameron NE. Effects of diabetes and treatment with the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid on endothelial and neurogenic responses of corpus cavernosum in rats. Diabetologia 1999;42:343-50.
Roy P, Venkat Ramana G, Naidu MU, Usha Rani P. Recent trends in the nitrergic nervous system. Indian J Pharmacol 2005;37:69-76.
Alan C. Logan, ND, Cathy Wong, ND (Cand.) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Oxidative Stress and Dietary Modifications. Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Oct); 6 (5):450-459
Dennis N Bourdette, Department of Neurology L226, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR - Alpha-lipoic acid in multiple sclerosis: a pilot study, Presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 28, 2004
Dr. Burton Berkson The Berkson Clinical Study, Alpha Lipoic Acid Breakthroughs, Published Sep 9, 1998
About the author: A.J. enjoys studying about ways to prevent and support health issues through natural means. This has become her life's work.