There is a great deal of evidence that antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, can prevent disease and improve health by fighting the effects of free radical damage on cells. Research has identified a new, particularly powerful antioxidant compound called alpha lipoic acid, or ALA.
Not to be confused with alpha-linolenic acid (found in flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts) alpha lipoic acid has received a great deal of attention from researchers and skin care specialists because of its ability to assist in a number significant biological processes. Indeed, its versatility is causing alpha lipoic acid to develop a reputation as an effective multi-tasking body supplement.
This article will discuss:
- Types, dosage & side effects
- Purity of alpha lipoic acid supplements
Types, Dosage & Side Effects
Alpha lipoic acid comes in both tablets and capsules and is also available in combination with other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. When taken at commonly recommended dosages, no serious side effects have been reported, although, it can cause stomach irritation and in rare instances, skin rash.
If you experience any of these reactions, simply reduce the dose or stop taking the supplement. High doses of antioxidant supplements do not always result in greater benefits. In fact, almost any supplement, no matter how benign, can become unhealthy if the doses are too high. For this reason, no more than 10 to 50 mg of alpha lipoic acid per dose is recommended.
There are products available that have up to 600 mg of alpha lipoic per capsule, but these are not recommended. Dr. Perricone‘s special line of alpha lipoic acid products includes a 50 mg supplement that he recommends be taken twice daily with meals.
Watch the following video to learn more about the key sciences behind his ALA supplements:
The guideline of 100 mg of ALA per day taken with food reduces the likelihood the chance of intestinal side effects while still providing an effective dose of the antioxidant.
As always, consult a physican before beginning a supplement regimen. Let your doctor know if you:
- Are taking any other medication and allergies
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
- Are breast feeding
- Have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure
ALA not been tested for pediatric use, so it is not approved as a supplement for children. Keep all medicine out of reach of children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light.
Avoid storing supplement in damp areas, such as in the bathroom or near a kitchen sink as heat or moisture may cause the medicine to lose its potency.
Not all Alpha lipoic acid supplements are of equal quality or have equal ingredient purity. There are two forms of alpha lipoic acid: R and S. R-alpha lipoic acid, the purest form, is found in high quality products. S-alpha lipoic acid is a synthetic byproduct created during the production of alpha lipoic acid.
Unless the label specifically states that the product contains only R-alpha lipoic acid, it is likely to contain the cheaper synthetic S-alpha lipoic acid as well. To cut costs, many companies produce a mixture of real and synthetic alpha lipoic acid and label it as R,S – alpha lipoic acid.
R-alpha lipoic acid is found naturally within the body and is the biologically active form of alpha lipoic acid. Research has shown this form is up to 12 times more effective than S-alpha lipoic acid. It is the only form that the body synthesizes and can safely metabolize.
Additionally, R-alpha lipoic acid is the only form proven to:
- Significantly reduce inflammation, an underlying cause of aging.
- Significantly increase cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant activity, thus preventing mitochondrial decay.
- Help improve memory and maintain healthy cognitive function.
- Enhance insulin sensitivity.
- Boost metabolic rate.
- Aid in weight loss.
When choosing an ALA supplement, it’s important to remember that although no company sells S-alpha lipoic acid by itself, many supplements on the market do contain the S form. Although processes are employed to assure the buyer of the purity of their product, unless the label explicitly states that the supplement contains 100% R-Alpha lipoic acid, there is a significant chance that the bottle contains a blend of both supplemental forms.