With its potent antioxidant properties, research has shown ALA strongly supports the neurovascular system, as well as overall circulatory and blood vessel health. As a short chain fatty acid, ALA can both be absorbed by fatty tissues and maintain its solubility in water, allowing it to be easily excreted from the body when not needed. In addition, orally supplemented ALA readily crosses the blood brain barrier after absorption in the small intestine. It then undergoes distribution via systemic circulation. Once inside the tissues, ALA can exert its antioxidant benefits both inside and outside the cells, including the cellular powerhouse, the mitochondria, where it functions as a coenzyme in several different biochemical pathways. ALA also serves as a sulfur donor, which allows it to support detoxification pathways that require this nutrient. Studies have shown that ALA also modulates the expression of genes which allows it to support blood sugar balance already within normal levels and cardiometabolic health.2
Blood Sugar Balance†
In Germany, ALA has long been used to support neurovascular function. One of the many health benefits of Lipoic acid is its ability to support insulin sensitivity by preventing oxidative damage resulting from dips in blood sugar. A recent randomized, controlled trial looked at the effect of ALA on a measure of blood circulation showed that supplementing with 300 mg of ALA a day for four weeks improved blood flow by 44%.3 ALA is also required for the cellular breakdown of carbohydrates and fatty acids. It supports blood vessel and circulatory health via its role in antioxidant regeneration.
On the molecular level, ALA supports blood sugar balance by activating a protein called adenosine mono-phosphate kinase (AMPK), a regulator of cellular energy.4 AMPK coordinates both long-term and short-term metabolic changes, improving energy production and reducing energy storage. The compound activates cellular metabolism by improving insulin sensitivity, down-regulating genes involved in fat storage and activating genes involved with burning fat. A three-month study using a dose of 600 mg/day of ALA demonstrated a 36% reduction in blood fats and a 38% improvement in oxidative stress.5 An additional placebo-controlled trial on the effects of ALA on 74 subjects found that 600 mg of ALA per day significantly enhanced glucose transport and utilization.6
Lipoic acid has also been used to support eye health. Lipoic acid, at 150 mg per day for one month, was found to improve visual function in patients with severe free radical stress of the eyes.7
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Zempleni J, Trusty TA, Mock DM. Lipoic acid reduces the activities of biotin-dependent carboxylases in rat liver. J Nutr. 1997 Sep;127(9):1776-81 [PMID: 9278559].
- Pershadsingh HA. Alpha-lipoic acid: physiologic mechanisms and indications for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2007 Mar;16(3):291- 302 [PMID: 17302524].
- Sola S, et al. Irbesartan and lipoic acid improve endothelial function and reduce markers of inflammation in the metabolic syndrome: results of the Irbesartan and Lipoic Acid in Endothelial Dysfunction (ISLAND) study. Circulation 2005;111:343-48.
- Lee, WJ, Song KH, Koh EH, Won JC, Kim HS, Park HS, Kim MS, Kim SW, Lee KU, Park JY. Alpha-lipoic acid increases insulin sensitivity by activating AMPK in skeletal muscle. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005; 332: 885-891.
- Ruderman NB, Saha AK, Kraegen EW. Minireview:
malonyl CoA, AMP-activated protein kinase, and adiposity. Endocrinology 2003;144: 5166-5171.
- Jacob S, Ruus P, Hermann R, et al. Oral administration of RAC-alpha-lipoic acid modulates insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo- controlled pilot trial. Free Radic Biol Med 1999; Aug 27(3- 4):309-14.
- Filina AA, Davydova NG, Endrikhovskii SN, Shamshinova AM. [Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open- angle glaucoma] In Russian. Vestn Oftalmol 1995; 111(4):6-8.
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