Alpha-Lipoic Acid: An Essential Anti-Inflammatory And Antioxidant Supplement
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful supplement you can use to help prevent oxidative stress.
It has the ability to scavenge free radicals in a very efficient manner and also enhances the production of glutathione. Glutathione is one of the main antioxidants your body naturally produces.
ALA also has been proven to chelate, or bind, to toxic metals, helping to remove them from the body. Toxic metals are also contributors to oxidative stress, so these three functions of the ALA supplement make it a powerful defense against harmful free radicals.
Since oxidative stress is the source of almost all chronic disease and chronic pain, then ALA is an amazing adjunctive molecule to manage the symptoms of these problems. It’s most commonly used to fight the nerve pain symptoms associated with diabetes.
The structure of the lipoic acid molecule is an eight-carbon dithiol compound. Because of the two thiol groups, it is amazingly antioxidant. These thiol groups are very good at accepting free radicals and neutralizing them.
Glutathione, the antioxidant that ALA helps enhance the production of, is very important in the cell’s ability to bind to and dispose of excessive and potentially damaging metals. These include copper, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, nickel, cobalt, iron, and lead.
ALA helps to increase glutathione levels inside the cells. This enhances our ability to detoxify from pollutants and toxins.
Cellular metabolism naturally produces free radicals, or reactive oxygen species (ROS). These might also be reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Excessive amounts of nitric oxide (NO) are produced during inflammatory conditions and this leads to the RNS and thus nitrosative stress (NS). This then leads to cellular injury and death.
Too many ROS and RNS will lead to protein misfolding, protein aggregation, DNA damage, RNA damage, lipid peroxidation, cellular wall destruction and more problems.
There is a normal level of ROS and RNS that is needed for cellular communication. The problem happens where there is too much stress and inflammation. This happens with pollution, lifestyle stress, toxins, poor diet, obesity, etc. It behooves us all to have a way to help the body neutralize excessive ROS and RNS.
Taking ALA as a supplement is just one way to do this for ourselves.
Our cells and mitochondria can either eliminate or neutralize excessive ROS and RNS. Elimination requires enzymes and chemical reactions. Neutralization requires molecules that can link to the ROS or RNS and make them inert; such substances are vitamins A, C, E and glutathione, zinc, selenium, etc.
Each antioxidant is highly specific and can only neutralize one or two types of free radical species. This is why a diet rich in many different micronutrients is so necessary. This is also why it is important to supplement with groups of different antioxidants daily.
Our main endogenous antioxidant is glutathione. This substance not only neutralizes free radicals, but it recycles Vitamins C and E. These are essential exogenous molecules that we must have for antioxidant functions.
In addition, glutathione is needed for DNA repair, protein synthesis, transport of amino acids and in enzymatic reactions. Glutathione is utilized in every system in the body; this is especially true of the nervous system and of the immune system.
Because ALA promotes and enhances glutathione levels, it too is important for the function of all systems to include the nervous and immune systems. It’s especially important for those with diabetes as well. Long-term high blood sugar is associated with lower amounts of glutathione – this can lead to oxidative stress and tissue damage.
A study found that supplements that enhanced glutathione levels helped to lower oxidative damage in people with uncontrolled diabetes – regardless of their high sugar levels.
ALA is important for maintaining the balance of metals in the body and brain too. Many metals are massively important for health and immunity. However, like all else in the body, you can have to few or too many of these metals. ALA binds to excessive levels of copper, zinc, iron and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury).
This is due to the geometry of the molecule with a backbone of charges that envelope the metal ions.
In short, alpha-lipoic acid should be strongly considered as daily supplementation for your diet. It should be one of a variety of antioxidants to assist in anti-aging functions, nervous system function, immune system function and all general cellular repair and protection processes.
If you have diabetes, this is an essential supplement for naturally improving your symptom management routines.
ALA will allow your own glutathione production to be better and more effective. It also will help to combat excessive levels of damaging metals in our industrialized environments.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid is one of the best supplements you can take to enhance your overall wellness. Most of us aren’t getting the antioxidants we need from our diets alone, and ALA’s ability to supplement your antioxidant intake, bind to oxidative heavy metals, and assist your body in producing its own essential antioxidants makes it a powerhouse supplement for fighting off the ravages of oxidative stress.
Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.
She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.
At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:
- Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
- Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
- Fill the gaps in our daily diets
- Manage pain associated with inflammation
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