Facts About Alpha Lipoic Acid - The Universal Antioxidant
Alpha Lipoic Acid has been called the "universal" antioxidant. It boosts glutathione levels in cells, has potent antioxidant action in almost all the tissues of the body, and is a co-factor for some of the key enzymes (alpha keto acid dehydrogenases) involved in generating energy from food and oxygen in mitochondria. Recent findings show that both alpha lipoic acid and its reduced form, dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) function as potent antioxidants within the body, and that both these compounds may be efective in preventing and treating the complications of diabetes and, perhaps, aging itself.
One of the leading free radical researchers in the world is Lester Packer, who heads the Membrane Bioenergetics Group and Department of Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Packer's review article entitled "Alpha-Lipoic Acid As a Biological Antioxidant" (in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine) presents a compelling case for the "universal" antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid. After reviewing hundreds of studies dealing with the antioxidant properties of alpah lipoic acid, Dr. Packer came to the conclusion that:
The alpha lipoic acid-dihydrolipoic acid redox couple approaches the ideal; it has been called the "universal antioxidant". Alpha lipoic acid is readily absorbed from the diet. It is rapidly converted to DHLA in many tissues . . . One or both of the components of the redox couple effectively quench a number of free radicals in both lipid and aqueous domains. Both DHLA and alpha lipoic acid have metal-chelating activity. DHLA acts synergistically with other antioxidants, indicating that it is capable of regenerating other antioxidants from their radical and inactive forms. Finally, there is evidence that they may have effects on regulatory proteins, and on genes involved in normal growth and metabolism.
One of the beneficial effects of both alpha lipoic acid and DHLA is their ability to regenerate other essential antioxidants such as vitamins C & E, coenzyme Q10, and glutathione. In clinical studies to date with alpha lipoic acid, there have been no reported serious adverse side effects, even at the high doses used to treat diabetes and patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
Excerpt from Alpha Lipoic Acid - The Universal Antioxidant,
in The Directory of Life Extension Supplements. 2000, pg 166.