Being a potent antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid can help prevent damage caused by free radicals. This write-up provides information on its health benefits and side effects.
Alpha lipoic acid, which is also known as thioctic acid, is an antioxidant that is found in the cells of our body. This is a fatty acid that not only prevents the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, but also facilitates the conversion of glucose into energy. People affected by conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, glaucoma, and premature aging of skin can surely benefit by using this antioxidant. Since thioctic acid is soluble in fat as well as water, it can reach various parts of the cells and protect cells from free radical damage.
Though this antioxidant is synthesized by our body and one also has the option of including the dietary sources of this fatty acid to one’s diet, it is now increasingly being used in the form of supplements. When we ingest it in the form of food or supplements, it changes into a more potent form called dihydrolipoic acid.
- It helps in the generation of other antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
- It attaches itself to the toxins in the body and helps in the removal of toxins from the bloodstream. Both glutathione and thioctic acid aid in the process of liver detoxification.
- This fatty acid is also known for its positive effects on the skin. Since this fatty acid helps in the regeneration of cells and protects it from free radicals that cause the skin to age, it helps in keeping the skin radiant and younger-looking. It might help in reducing fine lines and wrinkles to some extent. In fact, it is also called a universal supplement.
- It also helps in the treatment of some serious medical conditions such as neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition wherein nerve damage is brought on due to diabetes. Studies have indicated that intravenous administration of thioctic acid can help in alleviating the symptoms of this condition.
- Since it helps in the conversion of glucose into energy, it is believed to facilitate weight loss. Due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, medical scientists are hopeful that this fatty acid can help in the treatment of brain disorders that are characterized by cellular damage by free radicals. Studies are going on to see the effects of thioctic acid on cells and tissues in the brain.
- It is also believed to help in the treatment of cataract and glaucoma.
The supplements must be taken as per the prescribed doses.
- An overdose has been seen to cause digestive problems such as upset stomach, nausea, and constipation.
- Taking it in high doses might lead to skin rashes.
- If taken in large doses, it could even lower blood sugar.
Though there is a lack of evidence regarding adverse drug interactions, it is better to take these supplements under medical supervision. Some animal studies suggest that it could affect the levels of thyroid hormones. So, those who have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder should consult a doctor to know if they can take these supplements. If you are planning to use these supplements, make sure that you buy the supplement that has R-lipoic acid, which the form that the human body synthesizes.
Though the benefits of alpha lipoic acid are numerous, an overdose could give rise to certain side effects. So, make sure that you take these supplements as per the advice of your doctor.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.