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Alpha Lipoic Acid

It's a fatty acid that contains sulfur and it's in all cells of our bodies. It's a key substance, because it helps to convert glucose into energy. Thus if our cells don't have enough, they lack energy and we have a sluggish metabolism.

It also acts as an antioxidant with the unique ability to function in both fat and water. Other antioxidants are either fat or water soluble, not both.

It can also cross the blood-brain barrier. This is a wall of tiny vessels and structural cells that protects our brains. Alpha lipoic acid can enter our brains to protect our brains and nerve tissue from free radical damage.

It also has the interesting property of "recycling" other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and glutathione.

It may be useful to diabetics in several ways. It enhances the uptake of glucose in noninsulin dependent diabetics. It inhibits glycosylation. It also helps improve diabetic neuropathy and improves renal function because it lowers glycemia.

Because of how it affects our metabolisms, it could help with obesity.

Natural sources of alpha lipoic acid include: spinach, broccoli, peas, Brewer's yeast, brussel sprouts, rice bran, and organ meats.

Supplements may contain from 50 mg to 600 mg for those needing treatment for neuropathy.

There doesn't appear to be any complication or side effects at dosages of up to 1,800 mg per day.

But side effects can include headache, tingling or a "pins and needles" sensation, skin rash, or muscle cramps.

Since it does affect people with diabetes, diabetics should take alpha lipoic acid supplements only under the supervision of their doctors.

By: Richard Stooker

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