What is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)? - the key facts first
Most scientists and researchers now agree that ageing and most civilisation diseases – such as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke (one in two people dies as a result of these!), cancer (one in four dies as a result of cancer; taking bitter apricot kernels could prevent the disease!), diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's, respiratory diseases, blood vessel diseases, cystic fibrosis, inflammation, hepatitis, Down’s syndrome and many others – are largely due to cell oxidation, that is, the destruction of our body cells by so-called ‘free radicals’.
One must imagine iron, which begins to rust when left unprotected to the effects of oxygen and water and is gradually destroyed; rust = oxidation! The genetic material (DNA) of each of our body cells is exposed to oxidative attacks by free radicals, and our body cells are gradually destroyed, just like the iron that is consumed by rust.
These are exactly the mechanisms that are reflected in the form of ageing signs, and are those that age our body and lead to the aforementioned diseases! While protective mechanisms such as galvanising, priming and painting are applied to iron, as human beings, we have only one way to protect ourselves from oxidation and thus the destruction and premature ageing of our body: with the help of so-called antioxidants, also called ‘free radical scavengers’, which can only be obtained through diet. So, antioxidants are, for our body cells, what rust protection, primer and paint are for the metal on our car!
Incidentally, scientists have found that human DNA has the potential to reach the age of about 120 years. If one succeeded in stopping cell oxidation, one could live to 120 years old! Of course, antioxidants play a key role as they are the only ones that protect the cells from oxidation!
Can a healthy person really reach 120 years of age?
Our genetic plan, at least, allows for this, and the regular intake of effective antioxidants, such as alpha-lipoic acid (or ALA for short), could make this dream come true!
In the following chapters, read more about one of the most important, if not THE most important, antioxidant, as described by Prof. Dr. Lester Packer, one of the world's leading antioxidant researchers and Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at the renowned Berkeley University. Lipoic acid is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man. Find out more about the amazing health benefits that Mother Nature provides with the gift of alpha-lipoic acid!
Did you know, that...
· ... most civilisation diseases (cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.) are due to the oxidation of the body cells?
· ... according to scientific findings, humans could become 120 years old if the body cells did not oxidise?
· ... there is one sole means of protection against oxidation (free radicals) of the cells, namely the absorption of so-called antioxidants?
· ... unlike the other antioxidants, alpha-lipoic acid protects our entire body including the brain, which is why it's also called a ‘universal antioxidant’?
· ... in addition, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants in the fight against voracious free radicals?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid enhances the effects of vitamins like vitamin C, E and coenzyme Q10?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid protects us very successfully against heavy metal contamination and poisoning?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid can be effective against mushroom poisoning?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid very efficiently dissipates radioactivity from our bodies?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid helps to bring sugar into the energy cycle more efficiently, which is of fundamental importance for diabetics, overweight people and athletes?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid protects against diabetes and diabetes-induced nerve damage?
· ... thanks to alpha-lipoic acid, smokers are better protected?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid regenerates, rejuvenates, smoothens wrinkles and even removes acne scars by up to 70-80 %?
· ... alpha-lipoic acid is used therapeutically, for diabetes, liver cirrhosis, heart disease, heavy metal poisoning, skin diseases, opacity of the eye lens, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease?
· ... our food contains very little alpha-lipoic acid and vegetarians could be especially lacking in it?
· ... you can enhance your diet with alpha-lipoic acid conveniently and inexpensively in the form of nutritional supplements?
You will find all of this in detail in the following chapters, underpinned by the appropriate representative studies.
Alpha-lipoic acid - what exactly is it?
Alpha-lipoic acid was discovered in 1951 when scientists realised that it plays a key role in the transformation of food into energy within our mitochondria (the power plants of our cells). Gradually, research shed light on further advantages of alpha-lipoic acid. Above all, it has emerged that alpha-lipoic acid possesses three abilities, which have been honed to perfection:
a) protection against free radicals (against cell ageing and cell destruction)
b) detoxification of heavy metals, radioactivity and toxins
c) energy conversion
a) Alpha-lipoic acid as protection against free radicals
As mentioned in the preface, free radicals are not only responsible for ageing, but also for many diseases, some of them fatal, including atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, respiratory diseases, blood vessel diseases, cystic fibrosis, inflammation, hepatitis, Down’s syndrome and more.
Alpha-lipoic acid, like no other antioxidant, can protect us against these destructive free radicals (oxidants) and has three unique abilities in this regard:
1) Our body consists of aqueous and fatty forms of tissue. In contrast to the other antioxidants (for example, vitamin C is water-soluble and functions merely as a protector of aqueous tissue forms, while vitamin E is fat-soluble and protects the fatty tissue in the body), alpha-lipoic acid is able to penetrate both aqueous and fatty tissues in our body and protect against voracious free radicals. Thus, it protects all tissue forms of our body, which is why it is often referred to as a ‘universal antioxidant’.
2) Alpha-lipoic acid, unlike most other antioxidants, can even pass through the blood-brain barrier and protect our brain cells due to its small molecular size (see also, under ‘Effect’, the study relating to increased intelligence due to alpha-lipoic acid).
3) Furthermore, alpha-lipoic acid can regenerate other antioxidants so that they do not become exhausted in the fight against free radicals.
b) Alpha-lipoic acid detoxifies us from heavy metals and radioactive rays
In studies, alpha-lipoic acid showed it could remove heavy metals, such as amalgam, from the body and counteract radioactivity, as experiments on irradiated children in Chernobyl impressively demonstrated (see ‘Effect’).
c) Alpha-lipoic acid as an energy converter
Alpha-lipoic acid plays a central role in the energy transformation of dietary sugar into energy within the mitochondria. Here, it acts as a coenzyme in numerous energy-transforming enzyme complexes and can convert food sugars (and dietary fats) into energy, a property that should be very interesting, especially for diabetics, slimmers and athletes!
For diabetics, this results in an insulin-saving effect, slimmers do not store as much sugar in the form of body fat, and athletes simply have more power! Alpha-lipoic acid is an endogenous chemical that converts the mitochondria into a powerful antioxidant, provided there is enough lipoic acid in the body.
Lipoic acid must be supplied regularly, as mitochondria are only reproduced every ten days. The body is able to produce alpha-lipoic acid, but only in insufficient amounts.