Know Your Nutrients: Alpha Lipoic Acid

This next post in the series which explores key nutrients that are required by our bodies to support our optimal health and wellbeing. Each nutrient will be described in terms of its role, highlighting various key benefits, including our potential for deficiency, dietary sources, and potential benefits for supplementation.

Alpha Lipoic acid (ALA) is a proven and effective supplement that has been extensively researched since it was isolated in 1951. Many clinical studies have validated its benefits. Found mainly in the mitochondria (where nutrients are converted to energy), ALA has many valuable properties. ALA supports our antioxidant systems, helps remove heavy metals from our blood streams and plays a role in glucose metabolism.1

As an antioxidant, ALA is unique as it reacts as both a lipid and water soluble compound.2 It is a powerful neutraliser of reactive molecules and free radicals within our bodies. In addition, it has the ability to restore the reduced / oxidized glutathione (one of the body’s most important and potent antioxidants).3 ALA is also able to regenerate the reduced forms of other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. Furthermore, ALA has the ability to chelate ionic metals and counteract their oxidizing effects, which gives it enormous antioxidant capacity.4

ALA has also been reported to possess beneficial effects in the treatment of diabetes due to its insulin-mimetic effects.5 With additional valuable effects reported in preventing or relieving symptoms of diseases related to oxidative stress including cardiovascular disease. Studies have suggested anti-atherogenic (plague forming) properties, preventing low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and improving lipoprotein metabolism.6

Typical dietary sources of ALA are muscle meats, heart, kidney, and liver, and to a lesser degree, fruits and vegetables. Though available from these normal nutritional sources, it is not likely that appreciable amounts of ALA are consumed in our typical Western diet to offer additional therapeutic effects.7

As a dietary supplement, ALA is typically a mixture of the R-form (natural, biologically active form) and S-form (manufactured form), with some products containing only R-ALA. Typical amounts in dietary supplements range from 50 to 600 mg ALA.8 Bigvits have sourced a variety of premium ALA products to provide a range of options for supplementation. 

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This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.