Alpha-Lipoic Acid Functions as a Antioxidant
Alpha-Lipoic acid functions as both a water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free-radicals, normal by-products of metabolism. ALA’s ability to act upon free radicals in both a watery and fatty environment makes it a highly versatile antioxidant.
What is Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)?
Alpha-Lipoic acid is a sulphur-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.
Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- Supports the Body’s Defence Against Free Radicals
- Supports 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:
- Ability to quench specific free-radicals.
- Ability to bind or "chelate" metal ions that can generate free radicals.
- Supports function of other antioxidants.
- Concentration in tissues, cells and extra cellular fluids.
- Ability to function as an antioxidant in fatty and watery environments.
The "ideal antioxidant" would meet all the above criteria. Very few antioxidants do, yet a particular antioxidant with but a few of the characteristics is still valuable and effective. Vitamin E, for example, is one of the most important dietary antioxidants, yet it only works in fatty environments such as cell membranes.
As a team, ALA and DHLA come close to the ideal
- ALA is easily absorbed when consumed orally.
- ALA is readily converted to DHLA in various tissues.
- As a pair, ALA and DHLA neutralize superoxide, hydroxyl, peroxyl, and hypochlorus radicals.
- ALA and DHLA form stable complexes with metal ions such as iron, manganese, copper and zinc ions.
- ALA and DHLA scavenge free radicals in fatty environments and watery environments.
- DHLA recycles other important antioxidants.