The antioxidant’s antioxidant is also called the “universal antioxidant” because it's both water- and fat-soluble, so it can quench free radicals in all areas of the cell.
Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute say it’s even more than an antioxidant in that it greatly influences important cellular-stress response pathways that both reduce inflammation and increase antioxidant levels in the body.1
Alpha-lipoic acid also protects cell-wall membranes by interacting with vitamin C and glutathione, which may in turn recycle vitamin E. Its antioxidant power been shown to benefit a number of oxidative stress models such as ischemia-reperfusion injury (which usually follows strokes and heart attacks), diabetes, cataract formation, HIV activation, neurodegeneration and radiation injury.2
Alpha-lipoic acid might also be called universal because it can nicely address diabetes and blood-sugar issues, which are rapidly becoming universal conditions.
Researchers amped up rats on a high-sugar diet so that they would develop diabetes. For half of the rats, though, they also tossed in alpha-lipoic acid. The sugared-up rats developed diabetes in 2.6 months, while it took an entire extra month for the alpha-lipoic acid-supplemented rats to get there – a 38 percent extension before they became diseased. As a bonus, the supplemented group had half the triglyceride levels as the sugared-up rats.3
Rats, schmats, you say? Remember, diabetes is usually accompanied by increased production of free radicals or by impaired antioxidant defenses. Lipoic acid has been found to improve glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, oxidative stress and neuropathy in diabetic patients, particularly diabetic neuropathy, which is numbness in the feet and legs that tends to afflict diabetics.4,5
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 24 overweight middle-aged people were given 600 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid, or placebo, twice daily for four weeks. Insulin sensitivity increased significantly – glucose disposal rate almost doubled. Insulin sensitivity also improved by about 40 percent.6
Then there's weight management and obesity, the long-term health effects of which are deadly. One study by the prestigious American Journal of Medicine had obese people with haypertinesion, diabetes mellitus or hypercholesterolemia take 1200mg/day of alpha-lipoic acid, or 1800mg/day for 20 weeks. The group taking the larger amount lost significantly more weight (though the amount was modest) than the group taking the lesser amount.
The authors said, “Alpha-lipoic acid 1800mg/day led to a modest weight loss in obese subjects. Alpha-lipoic acid may be considered as adjunctive therapy for obesity.”7
The final powerhouse thing to say about alpha-lipoic acid is that it can make you act young again. At least, combined with the vitamin-like natural substance called carnitine and given to rats, it did. Researchers noticed that old rats, like old people, can’t move around quite as nicely as the youngsters. So they gave the old rats the combination of lipoic acid and carnitine, and guess what? The AARP rats first showed 30 percent fewer free radicals kicking around.8 Then the scientists ran the rats through a maze. The young whipper-snappers could go three times further than the old rats – until Popeye showed up with his can of carnitine and lipoic acid. The the old rats caught right up.9
The researchers figured it was mostly due to the carnitine, but carnitine also bumps up free-radical production, which is where the universal goodness of lipoic acid comes in. You can now buy such supplements, which contain 500 milligrams carnitine and 150 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid in them. Take those and take the rat race by storm!
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