The Valuable Role of Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALAJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Alpha lipoic acid, a water and fat soluble vitamin-like compound with antioxidant and antioxidant recycling properties, is produced in small amounts in the mitochondria of bodily cells. Not to be confused with omega-3 alpha linoleic acid, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a necessary coenzyme for the Krebs cycle, the sequence of chemical reactions by which all living cells produce energy. Thanks to its water and fat soluble qualities, ALA is widely known as a potent and effective metabolic antioxidant that is easily absorbed and transported into organs and bodily systems, where it offers free radical protection both inside and outside of cell structures. As an antioxidant recycler, ALA interacts in a complex process to reactivate other important antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, glutathione and CoQ10, thereby boosting the body’s ability to counteract free radicals.

In the U.S., the majority of ALA’s therapeutic benefits are seen to arise from its role as a powerful antioxidant, supporting healthy aging and organ function, as well as liver, cardiovascular, brain, skin and nervous system health. However, in Europe, ALA is used to treat and prevent complications associated with diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy and symptoms of pain and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy. As the development of cataracts is causally linked to oxidative damage in the lens, scientists continue to study the potential therapeutic use of ALA in preventing cataracts and the downstream cataract-related visual degeneration. Researchers have noted that ALA increases levels of glutathione, vitamins C and E and certain protective enzymes in the lens. This allows the body to more effectively scavenge and eliminate free radicals and reactive oxygen species, thereby supporting optimal visual health.

In clinical trials, researchers found a statistical correlation between insulin sensitivity and individual markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. While large clinical trials support the role of ALA in treating neuropathy, research also suggests that ALA may help improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar, reduce blood lipids and improve blood vessel tone, largely due to its antioxidant capacity to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Other studies have shown that ALA can enhance glucose uptake in insulin sensitive and insulin-resistant muscle tissue. Individuals with diabetes should check with their healthcare provider before taking ALA and should carefully monitor their blood glucose levels, particularly if insulin is required.

In addition to its role as an effective antioxidant, ALA demonstrates a wide array of unique properties. ALA is able to cross the blood brain barrier to reach all parts of a nerve cell, thereby promoting healthy nerve function and preventing free radical damage to the neurological system. As well, ALA works synergistically with B complex vitamins to support energy production by helping to convert dietary macronutrients into stored energy for future use. By protecting the mitochondria from free radical damage, ALA helps to ensure that the body’s energy production remains efficient. Along with glutathione, multifunctional ALA may help protect the body against toxic metal contaminants found in the environment and food supply. By chelating toxic agents such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, ALA renders them inactive so they can be eliminated by the body.

Small levels of alpha lipoic acid can be found in foods such as organ meats, red meats and brewer’s yeast, as well as cruciferous and root vegetables. Normally synthesized in tiny amounts, the extent to which the body is able to produce ALA declines with aging. Numerous scientific studies have found that supplementation can provide substantial therapeutic benefits to complement a healthy lifestyle. While the body does produce ALA naturally, levels can be increased with suitable dietary choices, as well as proper supplementation.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality formulations in support of optimal wellness:

Alpha Lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid 600 mg by Pure Encapsulations®: This gluten free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic vegan formulation provides water and lipid soluble alpha lipoic acid in support of healthy glucose metabolism and nerve health.

 

Alpha Lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid Time Release 600 mg by Natrol®: This time release formula provides 600 mg of ALA per serving in support of whole body cell rejuvenation, as well as antioxidant and cellular anti-aging protection. Also available in a 300 mg formulation. Free of milk, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, yeast, sugar, preservatives and artificial flavors. Vegetarian formulation.

Alpha Lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid by Now® Foods: This synergistic formula provides 100 mg of ALA blended with complementary antioxidant vitamins C and E for potent antioxidant protection. Free of gluten, wheat, yeast, corn, milk and eggs. Vegetarian formulation.

 

References:
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID. https://diabetesaction.org/article-alpha-lipoic-acid
Uptake, recycling, and antioxidant actions of alpha-lipoic acid in endothelial cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12086686
Alpha-lipoic acid as a pleiotropic compound with potential therapeutic use in diabetes and other chronic diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4124142/
The ‘Do-Everything’ Antioxidant. https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/lipoic-acid/
Effect of alpha-lipoic acid on blood glucose, insulin resistance and glutathione peroxidase of type 2 diabetic patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21666939
Professional Resource: Alpha Lipoic Acid. http://www.oicc.ca/uploads/ala-health-professional.pdf

Integrative Therapeutics® – Featured Brand

Integrative TSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

For over 35 years, Integrative Therapeutics® has focused on the development and manufacture of clinician-created, evidence based nutritional supplements for an integrative approach to restoring and maintaining optimal wellness. To provide effective formulations, Integrative partners with qualified suppliers who must meet high quality ingredient standards. All raw materials undergo a strict laboratory qualification process to confirm identity, safety, potency and bioavailability, as well as ensure the absence of heavy metals, microbials, pesticides and contaminants. Products are manufactured in a temperature, humidity and pressure controlled NSF GMP audited facility. Their adherence to truth in labeling regulations ensure consistency, purity and potency, as well as validated shelf life.

To see more products from Integrative Therapeutics please visit professionalsupplementcenter.com

Krebs Magnesium...Krebs Magnesium-Potassium Complex: The Krebs cycle, also called the citric acid cycle, is at the center of cellular metabolism, where energy is generated. This product provides magnesium and potassium complexed to the Krebs cycle intermediates, citrate and malate, in support of healthy energy metabolism and healthy heart function. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, corn, soy, salt, sugar, animal derived ingredients, preservatives and artificial flavoring. Vegetarian formulation.

AllQlearAllQlear™: This chewable, fast-acting  proprietary formula provides seasonal sinus and respiratory support, as well as year round support for healthy mast cell stabilization. As part of the immune system, mast cells mediate inflammatory responses, such as hypersensitivity and allergic reactions. The flavonoid quercetin is included for better absorption and bioavailability. Free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Contains quail egg.

Super Milk Thistle®...Super Milk Thistle® X: Formulated with bioavailable milk thistle complexed with supportive botanicals, this product supports healthy bile flow and liver function. Ingredients include milk thistle phytosome, artichoke, dandelion and licorice. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, salt, sugar, yeast, animal derived ingredients and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Contains soy. Vegan formulation.

End Fatigue Adrenal...End Fatigue™ Adrenal Stress-End™: The endocrine glands and their hormones influence many bodily functions. End-Fatigue® is formulated with freeze-dried adrenal powder and provides vitamins and minerals depleted by stress. This product is designed to support optimal adrenal gland function, proper metabolism, stress management and healthy energy levels. Gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, salt, sugar, yeast and artificial flavoring and preservatives.

Beneficial Eye Nutrients

Eye NutrientsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

If you’ve reached the fourth decade of life, you may have begun to notice vision changes or may have experienced other eye-related issues largely associated with growing older. Just as aging results in changes within the body, failing eyesight and a decline in eye health and function is not uncommon. Risks for developing eye and vision problems include smoking, a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as certain medications, visually demanding work and hazardous occupations. Common vision changes, such as presbyopia, changes in color perception, reduced tear production and a greater need for brighter light, are considered normal. However, vision loss, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are not.

Presbyopia, a reduced ability to focus, can be corrected with eye glasses or contacts, and a need for additional lighting for reading or close up work can be easily accommodated. Impaired tear production, known as dry eye syndrome, often results in uncomfortable symptoms of dryness, irritation, grittiness, burning, excessive tear production and potential vision loss. Proper hydration, whole food nutrition including fresh fruits, colorful vegetables, moderate amounts of fatty fish, and a daily intake of key nutrients can help to alleviate symptoms of dry eyes and decrease the risk of developing other eye conditions.

In surveys baby boomers choose vision as the most important of all five senses, although surprisingly many appeared unaware that key nutrients play a critical role in eye health and maintenance. Inflammation and reactive oxygen species, or free radicals that can damage DNA, RNA, proteins and other molecules within a cell, are often implicated in the etiology, or cause of disease. Diseases of the eyes are no exception. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is evidence that dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatories may provide benefit in decreasing the risk of age-related eye disease. Nutrients such as antioxidant vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA all play key roles in eye health. National surveys have found that intake of these key nutrients from dietary sources falls below recommended guidelines.

  • Known as a highly effective antioxidant, vitamin C protects the body’s essential molecules, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, DNA and RNA from free radical damage. Free radicals are generated through normal metabolism, as well as toxin exposure from pollutants and cigarette smoke. The eyes, in particular, have a high metabolic rate and therefore an added need for antioxidant protection.
  • Actually a family of eight fat-soluble antioxidants, vitamin E is an integral part of all cell membranes that are highly vulnerable to destruction by free radicals. As the retina is highly concentrated in fatty acids, vitamin E has beneficial effects on ocular health through its ability to neutralize free radicals. As well, vitamin E has been shown to improve blood vessel dilation, which helps to decease blood pressure.
  • Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes necessary for optimal eye metabolism. Zinc plays important roles in the structure of proteins and cell membranes, provides antioxidant protection, supports immune function and may also be involved in the formation of visual eye pigments in the retina. Although primarily a symptom of vitamin A deficiency, zinc insufficiency may also result in night blindness.
  • Commonly found in orange colored fruits and vegetables, beta-carotene is the primary dietary source of provitamin A. Research and clinical studies have shown that beta-carotene plays a role in age-related eye disease prevention. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide. Insufficiency can also lead to night blindness and dry eye syndrome. Dietary sources of vitamin A are found in animal-derived foods as well as plant-based carotenoids that the body converts into vitamin A.
  • Unlike beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that do not have vitamin A activity. Of several dozen carotenoids found in blood and tissues, only lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the lens and the macula, the central region of the retina. In addition to their antioxidant role, these macular pigments limit retinal oxidative damage by absorbing incoming blue light. Sufficient intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with decreased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of actions relating to neuroprotective effects in the retina. DHA is found in high concentrations the eye where it may help to slow degeneration of the macula, the most common form of vision loss in older persons.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality nutritional supplements for healthy eye support:

Clinical Nutrients...Clinical Nutrients™ Eye Formula by Integrative Therapeutics®: This professional formulation is designed to provide specific nutritional support for proper eye function. Ingredients include vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, turmeric and bilberry. Free of sugar, salt, wheat, gluten, yeast, dairy and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

VisionPro NutrientsVisionPro Nutrients® by Pure Encapsulations®: This comprehensive, hypoallergenic multivitamin, mineral and polyphenol formulation provides nutritional support for eye integrity, normal tear production and healthy vision maintenance. Other ingredients include an eye protect complex and a macular synergy complex with lutein and zeaxanthin.

BioTearsBioTears® by BioSyntrx®: This popular product provides nutritional support for normal tear film formation. BioTears® synergistic tear-specific formula includes nutrient cofactors that support the structure, function and production of eye lubricants. Ingredients include vitamins A, C, D and E, turmeric, black currant seed oil, EPA and DHA.

References:
Nutrients for the aging eye. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/
8 Nutrients That Will Optimize Your Eye Health. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-nutrients-for-eyes
Omega-3 for your eyes. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/omega-3-for-your-eyes
Top 10 foods for healthy eyes. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321226.php