Alpha Lipoic Acid, also commonly referred to as ALA, is an antioxidant that is made naturally by the body and is found in all cells. Antioxidants are what allow the cells to help keep the body healthy and be able to fight off infections. The amazing thing about Alpha Lipoic Acid is that while other antioxidants work only in water (example would be Vitamin C) or fatty tissue (example would be Vitamin E), ALA is both lipid and water soluble. While it is found naturally within the body, it can also be taken in supplemental form such as capsules or by injection.
As with any medication or dietary supplement careful consideration should be made to avoid adverse interactions with other supplements or medications being taken by the patient. The good news is that the side effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid are generally rare, and when it does occur usually show in the form of a skin rash. In diabetic patients who are on medication to control glucose there have been some studies shown that ALA can combine with those drugs to lower blood sugar levels more dramatically, therefore close monitoring should take place in diabetic patients.
Alpha Lipoic Acid has been the subject of much research and many clinical trials. The benefits from taking this supplement are outstanding. Some of the most promising research being done with Alpha Lipoic Acid is in the fields of Organ dysfunction, prevention of Cardiovascular disease, management of burning mouth syndrome, improvement/prevention of age-related cognitive dysfunction, prevention/slowing of Alzheimer’s Disease, treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, reduces inflammation, and prevention of migraines.
For the diabetic patient who is suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, Alpha Lipoic Acid has been shown to provide relief from the constant and excruciating symptoms such as tingling, burning, needle-like pain, and allows sensations such as heat, cold, and touch to return to normal. Treatment may take a few weeks to patients to see improvement with their symptoms. Alpha Lipoic Acid has been used for years in Germany in order to treat peripheral neuropathy. There have also been studies that show it may help with another condition related to diabetes called autonomic neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves of the internal organs as opposed to peripheral neuropathy which affects the nerves of the body’s extremities.
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