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Alpha lipoic (lye-PO-ic) acid, also known as ALA, or simply lipoic acid, is a potent anti-oxidant that helps enhance the usage of other antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutathione. ALA is found in foods such as potatoes, carrots, yams, and red meat, and is synthesized in the human body.
Unlike most antioxidants that only work only on water-based compounds (like vitamin C) or fat-based compounds (vitamins A and E), alpha lipoic acid works in both environments so alpha lipoic acid provides a much broader range of antioxidant protection than most antioxidants.
Lipoic acid supplements have diverse benefits. Besides being an antioxidant itself, alpha lipoic acid is also able to recharge other antioxidants. As an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid prevents and repairs free radical damage at the cellular level, keeping cells healthy and aiding in nutrient absorption. Alpha lipoic acid is often a part of skin care nutritional regimens. Alpha lipoic acid also helps diabetics by helping to normalize blood sugar levels, although this is a benefit for non-diabetics too. Finally, alpha lipoic acid is needed by the liver to make key detoxification enzymes.
General usage dose: 100 mg twice per day. Alpha lipoic acid is available in tablet or capsule form.Therapeutic dosages vary; 100-300 mg taken 1-3 times per day; consult your physician for guidance.
Note: ALA can be taken with or without food.
Side effects are rare with recommended dosages, but may include stomach upset and allergic skin rash. ALA may interact with certain prescription medications. Alpha lipoic acid supplements are not for use by pregnant or nursing women unless directed by their doctor.