Alpha lipoic acid is also used as an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that neutralizes potentially harmful chemicals, or free radicals. However, alpha lipoic acid is different than other antioxidants because it is able to function in both water and fat. It also seems to recycle antioxidants like vitamin C after it has been used up.
Foods like spinach, broccoli, peas, Brewer’s yeast, brussel sprouts, rice bran and organ meats contain very small amounts of alpha lipoic acid.
Uses For Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is used by patients who struggle with many different conditions including peripheral neuropathy, brain function and age-related conditions.
Peripheral neuropathy is caused by injury, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy and medical conditions like diabetes. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain, burning, numbness, tingling, weakness and itching. Since alpha lipoic acid is able to work in both water and fat, it is able to enter all parts of the nerve cell. Since it is able to do this, it is protected from damage.
Alpha lipoic acid is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a wall of tiny vessels and structural cells. Since it is able to do this, it is thought to protect both brain and nerve tissue by working like an antioxidant and preventing free radical damage.
Age-related conditions see an improvement through the use of alpha lipoic acid because it is thought that free radical damage contributes to aging and chronic illness.
Alpha lipoic acid has also be suggested in the use of treating cataracts, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, burning mouth syndrome, Alzheimer’s and stroke. However, there has been little research to show how well it is able to help in each case.
This antioxidant is available in capsule-form as a supplement at many health food stores. For the best absorption, this supplement should be taken on an empty stomach. Common side effects for alpha lipoic acid include headache, tingling, skin rash or muscle cramps.
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