Alpha-Lipoic Acid (Thioctic Acid, Vitamin N)
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is manufactured in the human body. Antioxidants are substances that work by attacking "free radicals," waste products created when the body turns food into energy. There are also many sources of free radicals in the environment such as ultraviolet rays, radiation, and toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and pesticides. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells in the body, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. As a result a person becomes more susceptible to long term diseases such as diabetes and liver damage.
Alpha-lipoic acid(lipoic acid) is a universal anti-oxidant: it works in both fatty and watery regions of cells to quench free radicals. It also helps to recycle other antioxidants, including vitamin E and vitamin C, Co-Q10, and glutathione, extending their metabolic life. (Packer L, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid as a Biological Antioxidant. Free Radical Biol Med 1995;19(2);227-50). Since 1951, it has been recognized as a coenzyme necessary for carbohydrate metabolism in the biochemical reaction known as the citric acid cycle. Based on American research showing it increases glucose burning, lipoic acid is medically approved in Germany to treat adult onset diabetes(non-insulin-dependent)and its complications.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) suports the body in two ways, it helps convert food into energy and promotes antioxidant protection. ALA supports the citric acid cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs cycle, the most fundamental energy producing action in the human body. ALA supports prduction of ATP (the body's cellular energy) by acting as a catalyst in producing acetyl-coenzyme A. Secondly, ALA's role as an antioxidant is important. It is known to help neutralize the effects of free radicals on the body by enhancing the antioxidant functions of vitamin C, Vitamin E, and glutathione. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has two primary functions in the human body: helping convert food into energy and antioxidant protection. First, ALA plays a critical role in the citric acid cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs cycle, helping begin the production of ATP (the bodys cellular energy) by acting as a catalyst in producing acetyl-coenzyme A. It is known to neutralize the effects of free radicals on the body by enhancing the antioxidant functions of vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutathione.
The body needs ALA to produce energy. It plays a crucial role in the mitochondria, the energy-producing structures in cells. The body actually makes enough ALA for these basic metabolic functions. This compound acts as an antioxidant, however, only when there is an excess of it and it is in the "free" state in the cells. But there is little free ALA circulating in your body, unless you consume supplements or get it injected. Foods contain only tiny amounts of it. What makes ALA special as an antioxidant is its versatility—it helps deactivate an unusually wide array of cell-damaging free radicals in many bodily systems.
In particular, ALA helps protect the mitochondria and the genetic material, DNA. As we age, mitochondrial function is impaired, and it’s theorized that this may be an important contributor to some of the adverse effects of aging. ALA also works closely with vitamin C and E and some other antioxidants, "recycling" them and thus making them much more effective.
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful anti-oxidant that has diverse to its effects within the cell, due unique molecular structure. It is an anti-oxidant that is both lipid and water soluble, and thus has been designated as the universal anti-oxidant. Alpha lipoic acid was first discovered in 1951 as part of an enzyme complex within the cell which is responsible for energy production. It was later discovered that alpha lipoic acid also acted as an anti-oxidant. Because of its lipid and water solubility, lipoic acid can rapidly penetrate all portions of the cell, providing protection within the lipid cell membrane, as well as the aqueous compartment, and the nucleus. The implications of this solubility are enormous when we look at the aging process. Aging has been equated to inflammation, because both processes are mediated and perpetuated by free radical activity. Any process that causes inflammation in the cell accelerates the aging process, and prevention of inflammation has the opposite effect. All anti-oxidants act as anti-inflammatories. However, all antiinflammatories are not anti-oxidants. Alpha lipoic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory due to its unique effects within the interior of the cell. It is now known that generation of free radicals within the cell activates a messenger called nuclear factor kappa-B. Nuclear factor kappa-B, once activated b y free radicals, then enters the nucleus of the cell and attaches to the DNA molecule. The DNA molecule then translates this factor into protein production which when released into the cells cause damage and cell death.
CAS No.: 1077-28-7
Molecular formula: C8H14O2S2
Molecular weight: 206.33