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  • ALA 200 - 120 capsules
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    ALA 200 - 120 capsules

    Olimp Sport Nutrition

    Olimp ALA 200 Olimp ALA 200 a product that supplements the diet with alpha lipoic acid and increases energy production.

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  • ALA - 50 capsules
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    ALA - 50 capsules

    Biotech USA

    ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID, SOFTGEL CAPSULES WITH 250 MG ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID ANTIOXIDANT! ALA is a vitamin-like antioxidant. It is produced in the human body pro...

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    R-ALA - 60 capsules

    Tested Nutrition

    R-ALA makes creatine more effective!* Absorb a greater amount of creatine into your muscles! Product Highlights: - Mimics insulin*. - Powerful...

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What is alpha lipoic acid?

Alpha lipoic acid is significantly involved in energy metabolism and is a naturally occurring compound. It was originally discovered in the 1950s as a component of the citric acid cycle. This co-enzyme is a powerful antioxidant and plays an important role in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, which is why it has become a common strength-enhancing supplement in weight training. It is synthesized by humans and animals and is both fat and water soluble. This is where it differs from other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which is only water soluble, or vitamin E, which is only fat soluble. This means that alpha lipoic acid can act as a universal enzyme on all cell types and tissue types and can temporarily accumulate in many body tissues.

Alpha lipoic acid has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. It is an organic compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. The body naturally produces alpha lipoic acid on its own, but it can also be found in a number of foods and in dietary supplements. Scientific research suggests that alpha lipoic acid may play a role in weight loss, diabetes and other diseases.

Alpha lipoic acid is an organic compound found in all human cells. Alpha lipoic acid is produced in the mitochondria, also known as the powerhouses of cells, where it helps enzymes convert nutrients into energy (1). In addition, alpha-lipoic acid has pronounced antioxidant properties. Alpha lipoic acid is both water and fat soluble, which allows it to be active in every cell and in all body tissue types. In contrast, most other antioxidants are either water- or fat-soluble (2). For example, vitamin C is only water soluble, while vitamin E is only fat soluble.

The antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid have been linked to health benefits such as lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, slowing skin aging and improved nerve function.

The human body only produces alpha lipoic acid in small amounts, which is why many people turn to supplements to optimize their intake. Animal products such as red meat and offal are good sources of alpha lipoic acid, but plant sources such as broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and Brussels sprouts also contain this compound. Supplements, however, contain up to 1000 times more alpha-lipoic acid than food sources (3).

  • Summary: Alpha lipoic acid is an organic compound that acts as an antioxidant. It is produced in the mitochondria of cells and is also found in foods and supplements.

The function of alpha lipoic acid:

ALA acts as a coenzyme in many enzymatic reactions and is an absolute multi-talent, as it can protect body cells and tissues in many ways. The most important functions at a glance:

  • Antioxidant: The antioxidant effectively scavenges free radicals. Thus, among other things, ALA has an anti-aging effect, since the aging process is significantly caused by the free radicals.
  • Coenzyme: The coenzyme is involved in some enzymatic reactions which are essential for the energy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Muscles are able to absorb more glucose for energy production instead of storing it in fat cells. Thus, performance and regeneration are improved, which makes alpha lipoic acid especially interesting for athletes.
  • Detoxification: Alpha lipoic acid helps with detoxification by being particularly effective in removing heavy metals from the body. In particular, alpha lipoic acid can be very helpful in cases of heavy metal stress in the central nervous system and brain.
  • Regeneration of nerves: If nerves are damaged by radiation therapy or too high blood sugar levels, alpha lipoic acid can have a positive effect on them. The damaged nerves can regenerate very well.
  • Antioxidant of antioxidants: free radical scavengers, such as vitamin C or E, can become radicals themselves. Alpha lipoic acid can then perfectly recycle the radical scavengers that have become radicals themselves through reaction with oxygen radicals.
  • Cell protection: Alpha-lipoic acid protects cell membranes from the inside as well as from the outside in order to protect the membrane around the DNA-containing cell nucleus.

Alpha lipoic acid daily requirement

Optimal supply for athletes: Alpha lipoic acid is very quickly absorbed, quickly metabolized and just as quickly eliminated from the plasma and tissues. This means that a daily supply of several small doses makes more sense than a large single dose. If possible, alpha lipoic acid should be taken with a carbohydrate-containing meal to avoid hypoglycemic episodes. On training days, it should be taken immediately after a training session so that the nutrients can be quickly and effectively absorbed into the body, more specifically the muscle cells.

Can alpha lipoic acid be stored or must it be taken daily? Alpha lipoic acid should be taken daily if possible due to its rapid absorption and metabolism.

How can you take alpha lipoic acid?

Alpha lipoic acid is found in both animal and plant foods. Good sources of alpha lipoic acid include (3):

  • Red meat
  • Offal such as liver ( 0.090 mg), heart (0.15 mg), kidneys (0.26 mg) , etc.
  • Broccoli (0.09 mg), spinach (0.31 mg)
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Green peas
  • Rice bran

Alpha lipoic acid is also available in the form of supplements. Supplements can contain up to 1000 times more alpha-lipoic acid than food (3). Alpha-lipoic acid is best taken on an empty stomach, as certain foods can reduce the bioavailability of this acid (40). Although there is no officially recommended dosage, most research suggests that 300 to 600 mg is sufficient and safe.

People suffering from diabetic complications or cognitive disorders may need more alpha lipoic acid. In such cases, it is best to ask the attending physician how much is sufficient.

Why supplement alpha lipoic acid?

The supplementation of alpha lipoic acid can lead to measurable increases in strength and muscularity. In addition, ALA is able to neutralize free radicals directly, both in the membranes and in the cells. This is especially important for sportsmen and athletes, because the intense physical stress to which they expose themselves during strength training or cardio sessions can cause very great oxidative damage, which leads to the release of free radicals in the body. For this reason, antioxidants are essential for maintaining the health of the body and cells of an athlete.

Alpha lipoic acid and weight loss

Scientific research has shown that alpha lipoic acid can influence weight loss in several ways.

Studies conducted with animals suggest that alpha-lipoic acid can reduce the activity of the enzyme AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase), which is found in the hypothalamus (4, 5). When AMPK is more active, it increases the feeling of hunger. Suppressing the activity of AMPK, on the other hand, could increase the amount of calories your body burns at rest. Experimental animals given alpha lipoic acid therefore burned more calories (6, 7). However, human studies concluded that alpha lipoic acid has little effect on weight loss. An analysis of 12 studies found that people who took an alpha lipoic acid supplement lost an average of 0.7 kilograms more in 14 weeks than people who received only a placebo (8). The same analysis concluded that alpha lipoic acid did not significantly affect waist circumference.

Another analysis of 12 studies concluded that subjects taking alpha lipoic acid lost 1.27 kilos more over 23 weeks than subjects in the placebo group (9). In short, alpha lipoic acid appears to have relatively little effect on weight loss.

  • Summary: Although alpha-lipoic acid has some properties that could promote weight loss, the overall effect in this regard in humans appears to be small.

Alpha lipoic acid and diabetes

More than 400 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes (10). A key characteristic of uncontrolled diabetes is high blood glucose levels, which, if left untreated, can lead to numerous health problems such as blindness, heart disease and kidney failure. Alpha lipoic acid has become a popular supplement potentially suitable for supporting diabetes treatment, as it has been shown in studies to lower blood glucose levels in both animals and humans. In studies conducted with animals, alpha lipoic acid was able to reduce blood glucose levels by up to 64% (11, 12). Studies conducted with humans suffering from metabolic syndrome have shown that alpha lipoic acid can reduce existing insulin resistance and lower both fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels.

Scientists believe that alpha lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar levels by promoting processes that can remove fat that has accumulated in muscle cells and make insulin less effective (13). In addition, alpha lipoic acid may reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. For example, alpha lipoic acid has been shown to relieve symptoms of nerve damage and reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy (eye damage), both of which can occur as a result of poorly controlled diabetes (14, 15, 16). These effects are believed to be based on the powerful antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid (17). Although alpha lipoic acid has been shown to help control blood sugar, it is not considered a complete diabetes therapy. If you have diabetes and want to try alpha lipoic acid, you should check with your doctor in advance, as alpha lipoic acid may interact with your diabetes medication.

  • Abstract: Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to reduce existing insulin resistance, improve glycemic control, relieve symptoms of nerve damage, and reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Other health benefits of alpha lipoic acid

Alpha lipoic acid has been linked to a whole host of other health benefits.

Alpha lipoic acid could slow skin aging

Scientific research has shown that alpha lipoic acid could help fight the signs of skin aging. In human studies, scientists found that applying a cream containing alpha lipoic acid to the skin can reduce fine lines, wrinkles and skin imperfections without side effects (18). When alpha lipoic acid is applied to the skin, it reaches the inner layers of the skin where it provides antioxidant protection against the sun's harmful UV rays (19, 20).

In addition, alpha lipoic acid increases levels of other antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione, which may help protect against skin damage and reduce signs of aging (21, 22).

Alpha lipoic acid could slow a reduction in memory performance

Declining memory performance is a common problem in the elderly. Oxidative stress is believed to play a critical role in declining memory performance (23). Because alpha-lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant, studies have examined its ability to slow the progression of disorders such as Alzheimer's disease that are characterized by declining memory.

Both laboratory and human studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by neutralizing free radicals and suppressing inflammation (24, 25, 26). There are only a handful of studies on the effect of alpha-lipoic acid on diseases associated with declining memory. Therefore, further research is needed before alpha-lipoic acid can be recommended for the treatment of such disorders.

Alpha lipoic acid promotes healthy nerve function

Scientific research has shown that alpha lipoic acid promotes healthy nerve function. For example, alpha lipoic acid has been found to slow the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome - a nerve condition associated with numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers due to constricted nerves - in its early stages (27). In addition, taking alpha lipoic acid before and after surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome may improve the results of such surgery (28). Studies have also shown that alpha-lipoic acid can relieve the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, which is characterized by nerve pain caused by poorly controlled diabetes (14, 15).

Alpha lipoic acid can reduce inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been linked to serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid has been shown to lower levels of several inflammatory markers. An analysis of 11 studies concluded that alpha lipoic acid can lower levels of C-reactive protein - an inflammatory marker - in adults with elevated levels of these proteins (29).

In the test tube, alpha-lipoic acid was able to decrease the levels of numerous other inflammatory markers including NF-kB, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, and IL-6 (30, 31, 32, 33).

Alpha lipoic acid could reduce risk factors for heart disease

Heart disease accounts for approximately 25% of all deaths in the Western world (34). Research combining laboratory studies, animal studies, and human studies has shown that the antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid can reduce several risk factors for heart disease. First, the antioxidant properties of alpha-lipoic acid allow it to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with damage that increases the risk for heart disease (35). Second, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to alleviate endothelial dysfunction, a disorder characterized by the inability of blood vessels to dilate properly, which also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke (36, 37).

In addition, a study review concluded that taking an alpha lipoic acid supplement can lower triglyceride levels and levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol in adults suffering from metabolic syndrome (13).

  • Summary: Alpha lipoic acid has potent antioxidant properties that can reduce inflammation, slow skin aging, promote healthy nerve function, reduce the risk of heart disease, and slow the progression of disorders that cause memory deterioration.

Side effects of alpha lipoic acid

Alpha lipoic acid is generally considered safe and free of or low in side effects. In some cases, mild side effects such as nausea, skin redness, or itching may occur. However, scientific studies show that adults can use up to 2,400 mg of alpha lipoic acid without harmful side effects (38). Higher dosages are not recommended because there is no evidence that they confer additional benefits. In addition, studies conducted with animals have found that extremely high dosages of alpha-lipoic acid can promote oxidation, alter liver enzymes, and stress liver and mammary tissue (38, 39).

To date, there are few studies that have investigated the safety of alpha lipoic acid in children and pregnant women, so people in these groups should use alpha lipoic acid only under medical supervision. Diabetics should discuss taking alpha lipoic acid with their physician, as it may interact with medications used to lower blood sugar levels.

  • Summary: Alpha Lipoic Acid is generally considered to be safe and free or with few side effects. In some cases, mild side effects such as nausea, skin redness and itching may occur.

Conclusion

Alpha lipoic acid is an organic compound with antioxidant properties. It is naturally produced in the body in small amounts and is also found in foods and supplements.

Alpha lipoic acid may have positive effects on diabetes and heart health, slow skin aging, promote memory, and support weight loss. Dosages of 300 to 600 mg appear to be safe and effective without significant side effects.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21297908
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22125537
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1734114011706004
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445126
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15195087
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20015518
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19262508
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28629898
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28295905
  10. http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252495
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8690147
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29990473
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17272797
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25381809
  16. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X18315365
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22001972
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24056055
  19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0006295296003371
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8932519
  21. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/10715762.2011.587420
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20977120
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24183945
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18655815
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17982894
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26316990
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19499849
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2935657
  29. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0939475318301248
  30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15655130
  31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16644024
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24160412
  33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25104975
  34. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25949771
  36. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2015/474561/
  37. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2015/313021/
  38. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230006001140
  39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16034676
  40. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs002280050151