Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that helps the body turn glucose into energy. It can be confused with alpha linolenic acid because both are sometimes abbreviated as ALA. Found in every cell of the body, alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that attacks free radicals, waste products from the body’s conversion of food into energy, that can cause illness and cell degeneration. Alpha-lipoic acid is a particularly versatile antioxidant because it is both fat-soluble and water-soluble, allowing it to work in every part of
the anatomy and protect cells both inside and out.
Adding to its potency as an antioxidant is alpha-lipoic acid’s ability to rehabilitate other antioxidants such as glutathione and vitamins C and vitamin E. Most other antioxidants at work in the body tend to wear themselves out and dissipate, but alpha-lipoic acid can rehabilitate these free radical-fighting substances and get them working again. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid helps the body use glucose; hence, it is useful in lowering blood sugar levels and in the management of diabetes
and may help prevent the cellular damage accompanying the complications of diabetes. It also has a protective effect on the brain and nerve tissues.
In combination with vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid appears to be an effective treatment for radiation poisoning.
Foods containing taurine and alpha lipoid acid have shown the ability to help repair of damaged collagen fibres.
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by injury, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy, excess alcohol intake or by conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, Lyme disease, shingles and thyroid disease. Symptoms can include pain, burning, numbness, tingling, weakness and itching.
lpha-lipoic acid works as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue, enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from the damage caused by peripheral neuropathy.
Deficiency of alpha-lipoic acid
Because it works synergistically with many other nutrients, deficiency symptoms for this substance alone are difficult to characterise or diagnose. A true deficiency can mimic the general symptoms of inadequate antioxidant activity, including weakened immune function, decreased muscle mass and memory problems.