Lipoic Acid for Weight Loss
Lipoic acid (or alpha-lipoic acid or thioctic acid) is a short-chain saturated fatty acid with two sulfur atoms. It acts as an anti-oxidant that offers a lot of health benefits. Its main role is to increase glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. It can be found in small amounts in many foods, particularly leafy vegetables, potatoes and organ meat.
Research in Korea studied obese rats. During a 14-week study, the rats were fed a diet that contained the human equivalent of 600 mg of lipoic acid and a control group received no lipoic acid. The control group had a 47 percent weight gain while the rats that received lipoic acid gained only 18 percent. The researchers also found a reduction in the rats’ blood sugar and free fatty acid levels. The findings have been confirmed by other research, such as a 2008 study at the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University and the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington. There’s been no studies of alpha lipoic acid’s effect on weight loss in humans as of 2009 and what evidence there is at this point is anecdotal.
Alpha lipoic acid is popular among bodybuilders because they don’t have to sacrifice muscle mass to lose fat. This is because alpha lipoic acid helps direct blood glucose into muscle cells rather than fat cells. This will actually increase muscle size even as it helps the body shed fat.
It will take several weeks of taking alpha lipoic acid before you begin to see a difference. Dosages range from 600 to 1,800 mg a day, spread over three doses.
Alpha lipoic acid has no major side effects. The greater the dose, the more likely it is you will experience nausea or an upset stomach. Higher doses may also cause low blood sugar, which could create a feeling of sluggishness.
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid ?
Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant produced by the human body. Antioxidants operate by fighting free radicals, waste products that are made when the body transforms food into energy. Free radicals cause cell damaging chemical reactions to the body, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight off infection and leaves the body more prone to liver damage and diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid is capable of preventing cell damage, eliminating hazardous substances from the body and assisting with growth.
Alpha lipoic acid is essential to the body. It is needed in order to produce energy and plays a massive roll in the energy producing structures of cells. When there is extra alpha lipoic acid in the body, it works an antioxidant (the body already produces enough of it for its basic function). Consuming supplements or getting alpha lipoic injections are both ways to get an excess of this acid into the body.
Age Related Diseases
Alpha lipoic acid is believed to prevent and treat many diseases and disorders related to the aging process, such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, decreases in muscle strength, brain function, energy and immune deficiencies.
Alpha lipoic acid is helpful in chronic hepatitis treatment, as it helps eliminate toxins from the body and also relieves stress on the liver. Alpha lipoic acid is often used in conjunction with selenium and silymarin (milk thistle) to help treat hepatitis C, which is a very serious form of hepatitis. Along with silymarin, alpha lipoic acid has also been used for treatment of Amanita poisoning, (the result a very dangerous mushroom).
Diseases Being Researched
Several diseases are currently being researched to understand the actual benefits that alpha lipoic acid could have on them. These conditions are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), heart failure, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and cataracts. Alpha lipoic acid may be helpful to treatment of these conditions.
Foods High in Alpha Lipoic Acid
Some foods that are good sources of alpha lipoic acid include broccoli, beef, spinach, yeast, and various organic meats, like heart and kidney.