Alpha Lipoic Acid, The Universal Antioxidant

The names it goes by:

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • α-lipoic acid
  • ALA
  • or, simply just Lipoic Acid
  • or, by its other name, Thioctic Acid (sulphur compound)

Nutrient Family:

  • Amino Acid

Universal Antioxidant

It is the only Universal Antioxidant known today.


It’s been labeled as universal, due to its versatility to be able to operate in both fat and water soluble parts of the cells, and its ability to regenerate/recycle its own kind.

It recycles - all in the Antioxidant Network :

Alpha Lipoic Acid's Workings

 Fat or Water Soluble Antioxidant: 

  • Both fat and water


Other functions besides being an antioxidant:

  • It can recycle or regenerate other antioxidants in the Network Antioxidant team.
  • It is the only antioxidant in the Network Antioxidant that can regenerate Glutathione antioxidant.
  • It can also regenerate itself.
  • It is used in the production of energy – helps turn glucose (blood sugar) into energy.
  • It is also an essential growth nutrient.

Where Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Found Naturally?

Alpha Lipoic Acid is found in both plants and animals.

Our body produces it. However, it is believed that its production declines with age.


Alpha Lipoic Acid gets sulfur compound from:

Deficiencies in these sulfur compounds can reduce the body's ability to manufacture this awesome antioxidant.


Examples of food sources:


(Dark) Green Leafy Vegetables

Although we can obtain Alpha Lipoic Acid from foods, it is of very small amounts. For example, it takes 10 tons of beef liver to produce 30 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid and 7 pounds of spinach to produce 1 mg.

Health Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Examples of the health benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid:

  • Stroke (Ischemia)

The damage caused by stroke is not so much the blockage itself but the when the blockage is cleared. The blockage causes ischemia (deprivation of oxygen) and when the blockage is cleared (and is oxygen restored), creates a proliferation of free radicals, which cause cells damage.


In Russia, Alpha Lipoic Acid is used on stroke victims for recovery.


  • Eyes Diseases (Cataracts)

Cataracts are caused by free radicals damaging the proteins part of the lens. Exposure to sunlight promotes the free radicals that cause these damages. Alpha Lipoic Acid generates the production of another antioxidant, Glutathione, which prevents cataracts and repairs the damages caused by these free radicals.


  • Neutralizing Toxic Metals

Toxic metals are free radicals. Alpha Lipoic Acid binds with these toxic metals and neutralizes them.


  • Cholesterol

Free radicals attack the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) and cause LDL to form plague. Accumulation of these plagues will increase the risks of stroke. Alpha Lipoic Acid counters these free radicals.


  • Diabetes/Diabetes Mellitus

Alpha Lipoic Acid helps control blood sugar as well as repairs damages related to diabetes, such as peripheral nerve damage caused by glycation (sugar reaction with protein, such as collagen and eyes lens).

In Europe, Alpha Lipoic Acid is used to treat diabetes.


  • Peripheral Nerve Damage / Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products

One of the causes of peripheral nerve damage (whether from diabetes or other diseases) is by AGE products. AGE products are the result of protein reacting with (excessive) sugar in the blood. This reaction creates these AGE products, which are free radicals. Alpha Lipoic Acid repairs these damages caused to the nerve cells.


  • Heart Diseases

Heart can also suffer from ischemia (oxygen deprivation caused by blockage and which is followed by damages caused by free radicals once the blockage is cleared). Alpha Lipoic Acid repairs these damages.


  • Suppresses Bad Genes

Genes has to be activated. Both free radicals and a type of protein can turn on bad genes. To make matters worse, free radicals additionally can also activate/over stimulate this protein; causing more bad genes to be activated. Alpha Lipoic Acid can control both this protein and the free radicals.


  • Immune Functions

Alpha Lipoic Acid helps bolsters the T-helpers cells, which is the first line of defense in of the immune system.


  • Radiation Poisoning

It is still not certain how Alpha Lipoic Acid aids the recovery from radiation. It could be that Alpha Lipoic Acid itself prevents severe damages or that it regenerates Glutathione antioxidant, or possibly both factors are involved.

In Russia, after the Chernobyl incident, children who were treated with Alpha Lipoic Acid, showed a fall in their blood peroxidation level; their kidney and liver functions were also normalized.


  • Improves Mitochondria Functions

Combined with amino acid L-carnitine, which improves the delivery of Alpha Lipoic Acid into the cells, ALA rejuvenates the mitochondria (energy production center) of the cells.  This improves the production of energy.


  • Improves Brain Functions

The brain tissues have very high levels of mitochondria. Production of energy releases free radicals as a by-product. Hence, inadvertently, the brain is exposed to these high levels of free radicals. Alpha Lipoic Acid and all the other antioxidants help to neutralize these free radicals. And,  by being fat soluble, it can function best in the brain area, which is rich in fatty acids.


  • Reduces Inflammation

Some Precautions

  • Taken in heavy dosage to clear Toxic Metal could potentially shift the toxic metals to the brain.

While studies has shown that it can neutralize toxic metal poisoning, studies also shown that too much Alpha Lipoic Acid taken to neutralize heavy metal toxicity, could potentially shift the toxicity to the brains where it has more fat contents.


However, it does not take away its effect of neutralizing toxic metal poisoning. The safer way to do so is to consume in smaller amounts, more frequently over a longer period of time, until such time that the body/brain can cope with the level of metal toxicity, then consider taking the normal recommended dosage.


  • May interfere with Vitamin B deficiency
  • People on diabetic medications should monitor their blood sugar level as Alpha Lipoic Acid improves the blood sugar level, it could lead to over medication.
  • People on thyroid medications should also monitor thyroid hormones levels.
  • Although rare (only a few reported cases in Japan), it might cause a rare condition called “insulin autoimmune syndrome”.


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