Antioxidants have a great deal of potential for people interested in health and beauty, but not all antioxidants are created equal. Through his extensive research, Dr. Perricone has discovered a very promising antioxidant treatment: Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). For more than a decade, he based his research on this remarkable substance, determining how to harness its properties to help his patients suffering from skin ailments and the signs of aging.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that form naturally in the body. They play a role in aging, tissue damage, and possibly some cancers. In an attempt to make themselves more stable, they try to bond with other molecules, and this can result serious cell damage. Antioxidants like Vitamin C ester, E, and beta-carotene are present in many healthy foods. They work internally to prevent free radical attacks on healthy tissue. ALA is a particularly powerful antioxidant. It defends your body against the threats of free radicals, but its work doesn’t end there.
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Discovered in 1951 by scientists conducting anti-aging research, ALA is a molecule present in each human cell that plays a role in a cell’s ability to produce energy. Dr. Perricone and others have spent years researching the benefits of ALA and its use as a supplemental treatment. Lester Packer, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, observed when taken orally, ALA produces therapeutic benefits for both animals and humans. Dr. Perricone’s line of anti-aging skin care includes a potent ALA Dietary Supplement and topical creams like the Advanced Face Firming Activator.
In comparison to other antioxidants, ALA is notable for its potential to surpass Vitamins C and E in improving the appearance of skin including tone, color, and texture. Part of the reason ALA is so beneficial is because it works so well with other antioxidants. When other antioxidants present in your body begin to falter, ALA steps in. It protects the weakened antioxidants from free radicals and even helps get them back on track by boosting their positive effects.
Another recent discovery is that ALA is a universal antioxidant, meaning that it is both water and fat-soluble. In his New York Times Bestseller, The Wrinkle Cure, Dr. Perricone compares free radicals in your body’s cells to a tennis ball in a crowded room. If a tennis ball randomly bounces through a room full of furniture, it can ultimately cause a significant amount of damage. The same is true for free radicals in your body. They inflict the most damage where a cell in your body is the most crowded, the cell plasma membrane. The good news is that unlike Vitamins C and E, ALA’s universal solubility allows it to enter virtually any part of a cell, even the spaces in between them, resulting in more protection against free radicals.
Because ALA is located in the mitochondria, the area of cell controls overall metabolic efficiency, the substance may also play a role in increasing metabolism. The higher a cell’s energy level, the more waste it removes and more nutrients it absorbs. The depletion of energy production in cells is a factor in aging, and ALA is the only antioxidant thought to possess the power to increase each cell’s metabolism. This means ALA’s action correlates to cell energy and healing.
Dr. Perricone discusses ALA more in this video:
Now that you know the role of ALA within the body, what are the outward results of ALA treatment? Two skin-damaging processes that can be reduced with the use of ALA are:
Many people think of inflammation as being referring only to swollen, irritated, or red skin. However, Dr. Perricone stresses that subclinical inflammation, the kind linked to the aging process, occurs under the surface of skin. Invisible to our eyes, this type of inflammation acts throughout the body in different ways and degrees. Free radicals are connected to this ongoing problem; when they damage a cell, inflammation occurs. When inflammatory chemicals move into a cell, certain proteins working as transcription factors activate and in turn lead to further inflammation.
Transcription factors are not always the enemy. When working properly, they provide a cell’s nucleus with signals for enzyme production, but they can send the wrong message to the nucleus, and this triggers inflammatory damage. Most antioxidants have only a limited ability to prevent inflammation damage. However, ALA both outlasts other antioxidants and can also prevent the activation of a certain transcription factor known as Nuclear Factor Kappa B, or NF-kB. When ALA prevents these inflammatory chemicals from being produced, and the cell receives less damage.
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Sugar-Aging is a discovery of sugar’s toxicity in relation to our cells. In the body, sugar is present in the form of glucose. Just like oxygen, cells need sugar to remain healthy and stable. However, sugar has the tendency to attach itself to the body’s collagen proteins, allowing the collagen to “cross link.” This process, known as glycation, is detrimental to skin because cross-linking collagen leads to stiff, inflexible skin. Skin in this condition is a perfect candidate for wrinkles. ALA can step in and actually help prevent this process. Some researchers even believe that ALA has the ability reverse glycation by boosting a cell’s metabolism and allowing for natural repair. The incorporation of a proper, low-sugar diet aids ALA in the fight against Sugar-Aging.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an exciting discovery in protecting skin against aging. Not only does it work to protect the cells inside the body, it contributes to glowing, radiant skin. The future may hold even more potential for this powerful antioxidant. Scientists are investigating its ability to fight heart disease, diabetes, and even AIDS.