Alpha-Lipoic acid has the ability to participate in the production of energy in the body , as well as a number of physiological processes. This is the reason we can call it a supplement with multiple effects. However, this supplement doesn’t have the popularity that its relatives have. That’s why I think it deserves the same attention as every other supplement. For starters, the ALA should not be confused with linoleic acid ( which is also often shortened to ALA) – which is found in walnuts, flaxseed oil and some other oils.
Supplement that deserves attention
Lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is naturally produced in the body, and therefore are referred to as ” metabolic” antioxidant. Originally it was discovered in the 1930’s. A few years after its discovery, scientists showed increased interest in alpha-lipoic acid as a serious supplement . As a result of studies, lipoic acid has been given the name “universal antioxidant”. This is because the acid enhances the effect of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E.
Antioxidants help the body fight against free radicals, too fast oxidation. Free radicals are known physiological phenomenon and occur as a result of stress, metabolic byproducts and physical activity – such as stressful exercise. Excessive amounts of free radicals, cause inflammation , heart disease and premature aging. The only way to slow down this process is to ensure that our body has enough antioxidants fighting against the damage caused by free radicals.
Unlike other antioxidants, which are soluble either in water or fats, lipoic acid is soluble in both water and fat. This characteristic allows it to be easily absorbed and transported through the cell membrane . This unique feature of lipoic acid provides support against free radicals both inside and outside the cell, while other antioxidants provide support outside the cell rather than inside, where it takes a larger part of the action.
It helps the body to use glucose
Besides being a powerful antioxidant, one other alpha-lipoic acid benefit is the one where it helps the body use glucose, so it is beneficial in lowering blood sugar in cases of diabetes. This is equally important when it comes to both athletes and regular people.
ALA finds its way into complex supplements as it also has unique transportation properties which help the transportation of nutrients to the muscles.
It helps in converting the food we eat into energy
Lipoic acid is also a co-factor for some of the important enzymes responsible for converting the food we eat into energy, known as ATP ( adenosine -tri phosphate) . ATP is essential for providing energy for cell functions , and the energy source for the muscles for an extremely short , explosive intervals.
Where to get Lipoic Acid ?
Though our bodies are able to synthesize ALA, we still require an additional intake through food or through supplements . The richest sources of alpha-lipoic acid are red meat, spinach, broccoli, yeast and certain organic meats (heart, kidneys).