What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha Lipoic Acid was first discovered in the 1950s. It is an enzyme found in the mitochondria, which are the energy powerhouses of human cells. Scientists in the late 1980s discovered that it possessed powerful antioxidant properties. In addition, it recycles other antioxidants, specifically Vitamin C and Vitamin E, enhancing their potency. Unlike other antioxidants, it has the unique ability to be active in both water and fat compartments in the body. Thus, Alpha Lipoic Acid is sometimes referred to as a “universal antioxidant” and is more effective in neutralizing free radicals than the majority of other antioxidants. It also plays an important role in the process that recycles glutathione, which is another major antioxidant in the body. Finally, it assists B vitamins in converting carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy.*
Although we make some lipoic acid in our bodies, it is usually not enough, so we rely on food – potatoes, red meat, etc. – to supply what we need for optimal health. *
Interaction with vitamins C & E
As mentioned above, another function of the lipoic acid is that it both interacts with its antioxidant partners vitamin E and vitamin C and also helps to conserve them. Lipoic acid has also been used for decades to assist in liver health.*