Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Alpha Lipoic Acid May 2006 Newsletter

FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter May 2006

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is an antioxidant, and is widely used in prevention of various diseases. Its main function is to increase production of glutathione, which helps dissolve toxic substances in the liver. Alpha lipoic acid can be found in small amounts in foods such as meats and veggies (ie. spinach). Alpha lipoic acid is also easily absorbed into the blood stream, and it can also cross the blood brain barrier.

Alpha Lipoic Acid has many benefits, and all types of people will benefit from taking ALA. ALA will be even more beneficial for individuals with some of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes or higher than normal blood sugar levels
  • Have high cholesterol levels
  • Are affected by cataracts (in early stages)
  • Cardiovascular problems such as hardening of arteries

There is a long list of benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid, some have even gone so far as to call it the "ideal antioxidant".

One of the main benefits of ALA is the treatment of neuropathic pain. Alpha lipoic acid has been used for decades in Europe to counter nerve damage in people with diabetes (types 1 and 2). The neuropathy may be caused in part by free-radical damage to nerves resulting from poorly regulated blood sugar (glucose). As an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid helps to block such damage. In addition, because of its effect on glucose metabolism, ALA may improve the glucose-lowering action of insulin. Which brings up a caution!! You may need to adjust your dosage of your meds as blood sugars drop.

Dosages have ranged from 100-3000 mg per day with 600-800 mg being the dosage most people found to be helpful in reducing the pain.

Alpha lipoic acid has few if any side effects. Doses between 50mg to 100mg, and higher, can cause nausea and upset stomachs. Excessive doses can even lead to low blood sugar. On the plus side, taking alpha lipoic acid can sometimes lead to a mild and relaxing feeling, and to a feeling of well-being.

Neuropathic pain can be extremely devastating; ALA may just help relieve some of that devastation.


Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith

Complementary Medicine

No comments: