Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring nootropic compound that is essential for improving mitochondrial function. ALA acts as a powerful antioxidant that contributes to key chemical reactions that are highly beneficial for burning fat, brain protection, blood sugar regulation, and reducing inflammation. Supplementing with ALA is an effective means of improving health and longevity. This complex compound comes with a host of health benefits that are too good to look past.
Mitochondria are responsible for the energy production inside our cells by converting oxygen and nutrients into ATP.
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BENEFITS OF ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
- Brain Protection
- Powerful Antioxidant
- Faster Training Recovery
- Regulate Blood Sugar
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Burn Fat
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Brain Protection Increased By Alpha Lipoic Acid
ALA has potent neuroprotective properties given its antioxidant makeup. It promotes neural regeneration (growth of neurons) and combats neurodegenerative disease  making it one of the most popular nootropics to ward off decline. It’s helping our brain strengthen signal pathways that allow us to complete cognitively demanding tasks. By fighting neural degeneration, ALA is improving our brain’s ability to stave off cognitive decline.
A promising study conducted on mammals showed that ALA was neurorestorative when provided post stroke. Stated another way, mammals that suffered a stroke were then given doses of ALA right away and the results were promising. Brain metabolism was greater around the area of infarct. Cellular activity improved as well. ALA seems to mitigate the negative impact of an acute stroke likely due to insulin receptor activation .
Ginkgo biloba is another powerful brain enhancer that protects against mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress. Additionally algal DHA lowers inflammation and improves cognitive function. Taking ALA in conjunction with ginkgo biloba and algal DHA is a strong neuroprotective stack.
Powerful Antioxidant Properties Of Alpha Lipoic Acid Decrease Inflammation
As an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid protects your body from cellular damage. Cellular oxidation is the underlying breakdown in our bodies that eventually manifests in an identifiable form; the appearance of cancer and a host of other metabolic diseases. ALA exhibits direct free radical scavenging properties and is a strong reductant. Several studies provided evidence that α-lipoic acid supplementation combats oxidative stress restores reduced levels of other antioxidants .
To say a substance is a reducing agent or a reductant means that it donates an electron to another chemical species in a redox reaction. Oxidizing agents receive an electron and reducing agents donate an electron. Thus, reducing agents are oxidized by losing electrons and oxidizing agents are reduced by gaining an electron.
Alpha lipoic acid is currently being studied for its effects beyond the traditional scope of an antioxidant. ALA also improves glucose and ascorbate(vitamin C) handling, increases eNOS activity, activates phase II detoxification. eNOS synthesizes nitric oxide, a fat loving, gaseous molecule. Phase II detoxification occurs when liver cells add another substance to a toxin, chemical, or drug that renders it less harmful. Current trials are investigating whether these beneficial properties of ALA make it an effective therapy for diabetes, but also for helping those with vascular disease, hypertension, and inflammation .
Faster Recovery: Decrease Inflammation With Alpha Lipoic Acid
When we train our muscles we metabolize oxygen and produce oxidants and free radicals. ALA acts as a buffer to help address inflammation and cellular damage, leading to faster recovery.
High level training inflicts microtrauma or damage to our tissues resulting in inflammation. These tissues can adapt over time and become stronger in order to meet our physical demands. As human beings we perceive this process on the surface as soreness and pain.
Studies show that ALA stimulates AMPK, an enzyme involved in regulating fuel usage in muscle and fat. It effectively promotes fat oxidation by inhibiting Acetyl-CoA carboxylase which interferes with fat oxidation . Fat oxidation is desirable because it can lead to breaking down triglycerides and result in the loss of stored adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is found beneath the skin, around internal organs, between muscles and in breast tissue.
Consuming a diet high in grass-fed beef collagen also enhances recovery via protein synthesis and restoration of joint tendons, ligaments, and bone. Combining ALA and grass-fed beef collagen is an effective physical recovery stack.
Regulate Blood Sugar With Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplements
ALA increases the use of your body’s insulin to improve blood sugar regulation. This not only helps those who struggle with type II diabetes, but improves everyday health for the average person. When your blood sugar is too high it can lead to plaque buildup in arterial walls (atherosclerosis) and cause cardiovascular disease .
ALA reduces plaque buildup in arteries. ALA subsequently helps to address high blood pressure by reducing inflammation and plaque in blood vessels.
A common symptom for those with type II diabetes is diabetic neuropathy. This tends to manifest as peripheral pain, burning sensation, numbness and tingling in the distal extremities (hands, feet). Taking an ALA supplement can be an effective way to address peripheral neuropathy. Europeans have been using high doses of ALA for years to remedy this condition.
High blood sugar overtime is suspected to be involved in many of our newly developed metabolic disorders and likely many forms of cancer. A percentage is likely due to improved identification and subsequent classification, but this does not explain all of the rise in brain, gut, and digestion based cancer.
Sure, we are living longer and some will argue that age related decline may play a role as the body begins to deteriorate. This can’t be denied, but we do notice that many people who live healthier lifestyles by eating a proper diet and getting regular exercise do show improved measures of longevity and maintain their physical and cognitive faculties later in life.
Supplementing a diet with ALA and functional fibers like tapioca dextrin, psyllium husk, and acacia help our metabolic capability to regulate blood sugar and help to improve overall digestive function.
Burn More Fat With The Help Of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Eat more healthy fat and burn fat. Ever since the war on fat, people have been avoiding it, but obesity rates continue to climb. Point being, with sugar so prevalent in much of our food, the typical American needs all the help they can get with lowering blood sugar, and reducing unnecessary weight gain.
Fat has long been blamed for a host of metabolic disturbances, illnesses and disease, but the evidence is surmounting that excess sugar in the diet has been the major contributor all along. Consuming healthy fats from coconut oil and MCTs actually help you to burn fat and further contribute to weight loss.
In a study involving 360 obese individuals with BMI 27-30 kg/m2 or >30.0 kg/m2 1200, and 1800 mg of alpha lipoic acid were administered for 20 weeks. The study participants had comorbidities including hypertension(high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia(elevated cholesterol in the blood), and diabetes mellitus. Results showed that the high dose group experienced significant weight loss compared to the placebo group. The authors concluded ALA should be included in adjunctive therapy for obesity .
ALA is responsible for activating phase II detoxification. Many toxins that enter the body are fat-soluble and are inevitably processed by the liver. Drugs, chemicals, hormones, and pesticides are all metabolized(broken down) in the liver. Fat-soluble chemicals have an affinity for cell membranes and fatty tissues in our body. These toxins can remain in fat tissue for years and are subsequently released during periods of fasting, exercise, and stress. The liver has two mechanisms to convert fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins to be excreted from our body. Phase II detoxification is one of them.
Further detoxification can be obtained by supplementing wheatgrass in your diet in addition to ALA. Wheatgrass is a true super food with antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-aging, immune system boosting, detoxifying and liver purifying properties.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATION
200-400 mg of ALA daily is safe and effective in adults. Try not to ingest tablets and capsules of ALA at the same time. Stick to one form to keep from confounding amounts. As always, try to put together the full scope of health as it pertains to your brain and body. You need to optimize both to function at a high level in your life and promote productivity.
Those with heart congestion and clogged arteries should consider supplementing with ALA as it has been shown to address plaque build up. Approximately 30-40% of ingested ALA is absorbed and used by our bodies. Not bad when you consider other absorption percentages from our typical foods. It can help to take ALA on an empty stomach to further aid absorption and use.
It is difficult to discuss the negative impacts of sugar on our health without also talking about the benefits of fat. Healthy fats to be more specific. Gorging yourself on processed, boxed goods that are high in trans fats is not the answer. Healthy fat from avocados, coconut oils, walnuts, almonds and so on, are in line with my recommendation.
If you’re actively training and hitting a wall in terms of the results you seek, try lowering your overall protein intake and increasing your fat consumption. It is often counter intuitive to think about increasing fat in your diet when you are trying to lose fat. Well, fat can be used as a quick fuel source with greater nutritional value than carbs that will help keep you energized and satiated for longer.
A diet rich in healthy fat can account for 30% of daily intake for individuals with average activity levels. Sometimes even greater amounts of healthy fats are necessary for those with very active lifestyles. If you are sedentary or deal with high cholesterol and triglycerides, do not raise your fat levels or consult with your physician prior to doing so.
Organ meat like liver and heart are rich in ALA, but many people have their convictions when it comes to eating these uber nutritious meats. For those looking to raise ALA levels without ingesting organ meat, supplementation offers an alternatively effective route. Check out our guide for shopping for the best nootropic foods.
SIDE EFFECTS OF ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Potential side effects of ALA are largely unknown. Mainly because when used effectively in normal doses none have been reported.
If you’re blood sugar is very low and you ingest high quantities of ALA there is potential for you to develop symptoms that are associated with very low blood sugar; headache, weakness, hunger, sweating, confusion and dizziness. Again, these symptoms are only indirectly related to ALA.
Some study participants experienced mild and transient urticaria, an allergic skin reaction that can cause itching. This occurred with ALA doses >1200mg/d. Taking an amount that is known to be beneficial for improving health and doesn’t cause any symptoms is the logical way to ensure safe use.
RECAP OF ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
ALA has enormous benefits as a nootropic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory by protecting our brains from neurodegeneration, promoting neuronal growth, decreasing risk for cardiovascular disease and enhancing recovery from the impact of training.
Additional effects are ALA’s ability to support weight loss, specifically promote fat burning, cognitive performance, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Powerful antioxidant
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Protects brain health and ward off decline
- Training recovery
- Supports weight loss
- Burn fat
Where can I buy alpha lipoic acid supplements?
You can find alpha lipoic acid in the supplements aisle of your local health food store or you can purchase through online retailers like Amazon.
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Mind is an herbal nootropic blend with added all natural collagen protein, healthy fats from MCT, and a high dose of organic greens for the best daily nutrition. Mind optimizes mitochondrial health, our cell's energy regulators, which are the underlying components that drive metabolism, neural, hormonal, and chemical balance to achieve homeostasis.