Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a sulfur-containing fatty acid that performs vitamin-like roles in the body. Also known as “lipoic acid” or “thioctic acid,” ALA functions, in a similar way to B complex vitamins, as a co-enzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates that produces energy inside cells for the body’s metabolic needs. ALA is required for synthesis of “acetyl CoA,” a key metabolite in the cellular process that turns glucose (blood sugar) into energy.
Because the body produces ALA on its own, it is not classified as a true vitamin. As with other so-called “non-essential” nutrients, however, internal ALA production may not always be optimal.
Alpha-lipoic acid functions as both a water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidant.
(Antioxidants neutralize free-radicals, normal by-products of metabolism that, while necessary at normal levels, may damage tissues over time if not properly kept in check by antioxidants.) ALA’s ability to act upon free radicals in both a watery and fatty environment makes it a highly versatile antioxidant.
In the body, alpha-lipoic acid can be converted (reduced) to DHLA, or dihydrolipoic acid.
Together, these two forms of ALA make up a “redox couple,” which means that each form can chemically change into the other and back again.
DHLA also functions as an antioxidant.
How “about R-Lipoic” Acid ?
Alpha Lipoic Acid occurs in two forms, designated “R” and “S”. Studies suggest that R-alpha lipoic acid, the natural form, is more biologically active than the S form.
Like ALA, RLA recycles antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and E, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels when used as part of the diet.
Supports the Body’s Defense Against Free Radicals
Recycles Antioxidant Nutrients such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Helps Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar Level when used as part of the diet
Alpha-lipoic Acid––the “Ideal Antioxidant”
The antioxidant potential of a substance is based on a number of criteria, including:
1) Ability to quench specific free-radicals.
2) Ability to bind or “chelate” metal ions that can generate free radicals.
3) Supports function of other antioxidants.
5) Concentration in tissues, cells and extra cellular fluids.
6) Ability to function as an antioxidant in fatty and watery environments.