Alpha lipoic acid, also known as lipoic acid is a powerful, natural antioxidant slowly becoming recognized as having some unique properties in the therapy and prevention of a broad range of diseases.
Alpha Lipoic Acid potent and versatile antioxidant may some day be seen as a very important supplement. But for now, not enough is known to recommend it. If you have diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's and decide to take it, tell your doctor.
Scientists first discovered the importance of ALA in the 1950s, and recognized it as an antioxidant in 1988. It has been the subject of a tremendous amount of basic research around the world, some being done at the University of California, Berkeley by Dr. Lester Packer, a leading expert on antioxidants.
In addition to functioning as an antioxidant, this hard-working nutrient assists the B vitamins in producing energy from the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats consumed through foods.
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. Peroxynitrite radicals play a role in the development of atherosclerosis, lung disease, chronic inflammation, and neurological disorders.
Studies indicate that alpha-lipoic acid supplements hold promise for treating various disorders, including HIV infection, liver ailments, and glaucoma. But it has been most intensively studied for preventing complications from diabetes.
If you suffer from any type of medical condition, consult your doctor before trying alpha-lipoic acid supplements.