By Dr Amtul Qudoos Farhat
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a naturally produced substance in our body which is also found in certain foods. It is a unique vitamin-like substance which; being both water and fat soluble; is a very powerful antioxidant. It comes in two forms; natural and synthetic; synthetic form being the diluted version of the natural form. Natural is more powerful and is available as a natural supplement.
Antioxidants protect our organs from what we call oxidative damage. Oxidative damage occurs due to continuous exposure from physical, chemical, viral, bacterial and Ischemia or the lack of oxygen. Large amounts of free radicals are created in tissue that has been injured by such obnoxious environmental insults. Such injuries may result in heart attack, stroke, burns, sprains, strains and contusions, etc. Treatment of these injuries with anti-oxidants can be expected to reduce the effects of the damage. The treatment of, some of these conditions with alpha lipoic acid have been documented in literature.
R Alpha Lipoic acid crosses the cell membrane easily. It can confer free radical protection to both interior and exterior cellular structures.
Other well known antioxidants such as vitamins E, C and glutathione diminish with passage of age. R-Lipoic acid boosts glutathione level which is linked to multiple detoxifying processes such as detoxification of Xenobiotics, modulation of signal transduction, prostaglandin metabolism, regulation of immune response, control of enzyme activity and peptide hormones.
Because Alpha Lipoic Acid helps to conserve and increase production of glutathione, it may be beneficial in treating certain diseases that affect the liver especially toxic exposure, alcoholic liver disease, aminita mushroom poisoning and hepatitis.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is beneficial to individuals with type II diabetes. It improves the overall control of blood sugar and reduces the blood sugar and insulin levels.
The usual daily dose as a nutritional supplement is 50 to 100 mg. A higher dose is used for better control of Diabetes. It lowers the blood sugar and insulin level and frequent monitoring of blood sugar is recommended. Very high doses may require thiamine supplementation and have been used for acute toxin exposures.
There are no serious side effects in the usual doses. Minor side effects such as skin reactions, nausea and vomiting are possible at very high intravenous doses. No data is available for use in pregnancy.