Alpha Lipoic acid (also known as ALA or thioctic acid) is a unique water- and fat-soluble antioxidant that also helps to regenerate and recycle other antioxidants within the body. Antioxidants play a central role in reducing free radicals formed in the body.
Free radicals are generated by the body as a by-product of normal everyday metabolic processes and also through exposure to environmental toxins including pesticides, heavy metals or chemicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that contain unpaired electrons, so they tend to gravitate and bind to other molecules within the body (in an attempt to improve stability), producing chemical reactions that may be detrimental to health. Antioxidants fill the gap and bind with these reactive molecules to counteract their harmful effect and improve the stability of the molecule.
ALA has the unique ability to be able to bind to and quench water- and fat-soluble free radicals helping to support the body’s antioxidant network. ALA supports the antioxidant function of vitamins C (water-soluble) and E (fat-soluble), coenzyme Q10 and glutathione, your ‘master’ antioxidant.
It’s all about balance
A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is important for health. When the number of free radicals begin to outweigh the body's ability to control them, a condition known as oxidative stress develops. Free radicals and oxidative stress have the ability to harm lipids (fats) in your body such as cholesterol, proteins and even your deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
What can ALA do for you?
The versatility of ALA makes it an excellent choice as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger to:
- Assist sugar and carbohydrate metabolism and supports cellular uptake of glucose – ALA plays a key role in the citric acid cycle, acting as a coenzyme to regulate glucose metabolism and insulin activity. Insulin is the hormone responsible for glucose control and uptake.
- Support energy production – ALA is an essential cofactor for coenzyme complexes involved in energy production, playing a role in carbohydrate metabolism to produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
- Support blood vessel health – Blood vessels are lined with vascular endothelial cells which form the physical barrier between blood and the vessel wall and play a role in vasodilation and constriction. The elasticity of the vessel wall is regulated by nitric oxide (NO) which is produced by the enzyme endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). ALA’s antioxidant activity reduces the risk of oxidative damage to blood vessels.
- Support nervous system health and function – The potent antioxidant activity of ALA reduces free radicals formed in the body so is important in reducing the risk of oxidative damage to nerves within the central and peripheral nervous systems. See more here Alpha Lipoic 300.