ALA, the Big Kahuna
ALA is the big dog, the big Kahuna, of all antioxidants. The latest crazy is antioxidants and it is well justified. The elixir of ageless beauty is what keeps the body from oxidizing to rapidly. Take a nail and leave it in the rain. What happens...it rusts or oxidizes. Your body is continually producing oxidizing agents called free radicals as a result of metabolizing the food you eat. Scientists have discovered that certain vitamins can control the rate of oxidation on the body. Like everything else in the body, there is the good and the bad. Not all free radicals are bad. The body needs some to help the immune system fight off the foreign invaders who attack the body 24/7. Free radicals have the ability to oxidize those foreign invaders, in other words, kill and destroy them. But too many in the body and they will run out of something to do and go play in your body, attacking anything in sight. They are like misbehaving puppies, tearing up everything in sight.
Now back to what is ALA. It has been on the market for the past 40 years. Since it can't be patented, there aren’t any big bucks to be made. Therefore, the "health" industry (and I use that term loosely) suddenly comes out with a "new" and "better" antioxidant which can make the sellers very, very rich...... these products require your arm and leg to buy, but of course, the best prices are for you when you "join" their ranks. They go under a variety of names, which in this article will remain nameless (better for my health).
I got a little sidetracked, so back to Alpha Lipoic Acid. It is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in each cell of the body. It is used to produce the energy needed in the normal functions of our body. It takes glucose (blood sugar) and converts it to energy. It is a powerful antioxidant and has the ability to function in water and fat solutions which are unique in that vitamins C & E work in one or the other. It also has the ability to recycle vitamin C and glutathione after they have been used. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant which has the ability to destroy free radicals. Another one of the benefits of ALA is the fact that it can cross the blood/ brain barrier. This is very important in that it can work on preventing free radical damage in the brain. Alpha Lipoic Acid may improve blood sugar control, so people with diabetes who are taking medication to lower blood sugar, such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), should only take Alpha Lipoic Acid under the supervision of a qualified health professional and have their blood sugar levels carefully monitored. If you take a liquid vitamin/ mineral supplement make sure it includes Alpha Lipoic Acid. Eat a balanced diet of veggies and fruits and your body will thank you.