What is alpha lipoic acid and what is it used for?
Alpha lipoic acid is a type of fatty acid, which is necessaryfor the process of conversion of glucose into energy, and which also works asan antioxidant, meaning that it has an ability to neutralize free radicals. Everycell in the body contains this acid and it can function in water and in fat,which cannot be said for other antioxidants, such as vitamin C or E, forexample. Besides the fact that our body naturally produces this fatty acid, itcan also be found in some foods, though in small amounts, and it can be foundin the form of supplements.
Alpha lipoic acid is very helpful with a number of symptoms,among which are also pains, numbness, weakness, itching and burning, which iswhy it is used in cases of peripheral neuropathy to protect the nerve cells fromdamage. Some studies have proven that it improves the symptoms significantlyafter five weeks. Due to its ability to pass easily into the brain, it isbelieved that it can protect the brain from the damage that free radicals can cause.Since it neutralizes free radicals, it is believed that it can be helpful indiminishing the effects of aging and chronic illnesses. Alpha lipoic acidlowers the levels of blood sugar, which is why it is helpful in diabetes. Otherconditions in which its use is also highly recommended include eye conditions (such as glaucoma and cataract), Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, andstroke.
Are there any side effects of alpha lipoic acid?
When it comes to the safety of alpha lipoic acid, it isimportant to say that there are no studies regarding its safety in cases ofpregnant or breastfeeding women, or in children. It is known that someinteractions with other medications are possible, which is why it is recommendedto consult a doctor if a person is already taking some medications, particularlythose that lower blood sugar, or those that regulate the levels of thyroidhormone.
As for the side effects that have been reported, headache,skin rash, muscle cramps and the sensation called pins and needles are amongthe most common. People who have some disease or disorder of liver or kidneysshould be even more careful when considering the use of this supplement, becauseno studies have been done on possible side effects in such cases either.