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What is Alpha Lipoic Acid and Its Benefits

Millennial Magazine- Alpha-lipoic acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (also known as ALA) is an organic antioxidant vital to various body functions and has numerous positive effects on our health. Although it is naturally produced by our bodies, you can also take supplements to boost the levels of ALA. Another alternative is to eat foods that are enriched with alpha-lipoic acid.

With the myriad health benefits that ALA brings along, it is gaining rapid popularity amongst people all around the globe. There is a widespread belief that alpha-lipoic acid may positively affect weight loss, memory issues, diabetes, and skin health. It has several other advantages as well, and to reap the benefits to the fullest extent, you should be well aware of the true nature of ALA and all the benefits that it offers.

Getting to Know the Alpha-Lipoic Acid

It is an interesting organic compound that is fat-and-water soluble and is commonly found in every cell or tissue in our body. It also has significant antioxidant properties. ALA is manufactured in the powerhouse of our cells, that is, the mitochondria, and it plays the role of a supporter to the enzymes that convert nutrients to energy.

ALA is quite often linked with a significant reduction in inflammation, lowering blood sugar concentration, improving cognitive functions, and slowing the skin aging process. Our bodies only manufacture a small amount of this compound, so many people often turn to ALA-enriched food items or supplements to increase the levels of alpha-lipoic acid in our bodies. The food items with high levels of ALA include organ and red meats, tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.

How Does it Contribute to Weight Loss?

It has now been a research-backed fact that ALA contributes towards losing weight in an efficient manner. If you have a knack for science, then it will amuse you to know that ALA actually reduces the activity of AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase), an enzyme found in the hypothalamus in our brain. High levels of AMPK activity lead to an increase in the feeling of being hungry. If AMPK activity is suppressed, your body tends to burn more calories when at rest. This process of slowed activity of AMPK leads to weight loss and other health benefits, however, the effect is only slightly significant.

Does ALA Really Help with Diabetes?

Diabetes is an ailment that has become widespread and has lowered the overall quality of life for over 400 million people globally. If you are not carefully monitoring and managing your blood sugar levels, it can easily show numerous high spikes that may become a precursor to developing kidney failure, cardiac ailments, vision problems, and other health issues. ALA has shown promising results and has contributed towards lowering blood sugar levels by up to 64%. Research studies have also revealed that alpha-lipoic acid may also play a vital role in reducing insulin resistance. Hypothetically, ALA does this by enhancing the fat removal processes inside our bodies, thus, optimizing insulin efficacy too. It also reduces developing complications related to diabetes.

Redefine Aging with Alpha Lipoic Acid

One benefit of ALA that has to be one of the most awaited ones is that it contributes towards slowing down the aging process. Application of creams enriched with alpha-lipoic acid reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and skin roughness. It also offers protection against harmful UV radiations and helps increase the concentration of glutathione (another antioxidant) which also protects the skin against environmental damage.

Strengthen Your Memory Reservoir

With aging, several memory problems are often a common concern and usually, they occur because of oxidative damage that has been going on inside our bodies. Since ALA has potent antioxidant properties, it has been shown to reduce the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems by suppressing inflammation and reducing the free radicals via the neutralization process.

ALA Optimizes Nerve Functions

A compromised nerve functionality often poses significant concerns for everyone. The good news is that ALA not only promotes nerve functions but has been shown to reduce carpal tunnel syndrome progression as well. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition marked by tingling or numbness in hands by pinched nerves. It may also minimize diabetic neuropathy symptoms, thereby improving the nerve functionality substantially.

If the benefits shared above have surprised you pleasantly, it would add to your joy to know that there is more to the story. ALA has shown promising results in reducing the risk of cardiac ailments, chronic inflammation, developing cancer, and other ailments. However, you must consume alpha-lipoic acid within the recommended dosage (300 mg to 600 mg). A heavy and unmonitored ALA concentration may show adverse effects instead of the awaited benefits. Therefore it is better to stay within the safe range and reap the benefits of it.

What do you think?

Written by Sarah Rose Reichert

Sarah Rose is a Los Angeles-based photographer, designer and journalist. She's also an integrative nutritionist and sports trainer with a love for holistic wellness. When she's not out on the field, you can find her exploring the coast in her ’97 blue Tacoma pickup, packed up with her surfboard and pup Honey.

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