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Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Assist Your Efforts to Loss Weight

Updated on October 12, 2012

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid and How it Works

Lipoic acid or thiotic acid, as it is otherwise known, has been the subject of many weight related studies in recent years. Alpha-lipoic acid is a short-chain saturated fatty acid that contains two sulfur atoms and happens to have very potent antioxidant action.

Structure of alpha lipoic acid.

Our bodies involve lipoic acid in metabolism, specifically in the production of energy, and because of its antioxidant properties, researchers have concluded that it can be used to combat obesity, which is the main cause of type 2 diabetes, and possibly control energy levels. In the article below the mechanism of action of this substance is presented along with its application in weight loss control and presentation of popular supplementation regimens.

Scientific studies supporting impact of alpha lipoic acid on weight loss

Science has yet to come up with a single pill that cures all weight problems without additional input. If properly utilized, some compounds can be used to manipulate the metabolism and help get rid of unwanted weight. If combined with healthy foods, the process can yield amazing results.

Korean researchers, in combination with French and American teams, used overweight rats to investigate the effects of ALA on weight and the results were very positive. After 14 weeks of feeding one pack of rats lipoic acid, their overall weight loss was 20% more than the other control rats.

The American Journal of Medicine published an article in 2011, which showed that people who had taken ALA supplements had lost significant weight when compared to those who took placebos. According to another study by Current Pharmaceutical Design in 2010, a daily dose of 800mg lipoic acid taken over a course of four months can reduce body weight by up to 9% in obese teens.

Summary of the results - Scientific proof that ALA works

CT scans showed a drop in visceral fat and a moderate drop in blood sugar levels. After extensive research, experts have come to the following conclusions in regards to lipoic acid:

  1. Weight loss caused by lipoic acid is not a result of illness or a toxic reaction of any kind.
  2. The drop in weight can be attributed to increased energy use and reduced food intake.
  3. Lipoic acid and leptin levels have similar effects on human metabolism, but weight loss is not mediated by leptin receptors: lipoic acid works without aide of leptin.

Recommendations and Alpha Lipoic Acid Dosage

How to use and who should use ALA

ALA is recommended for weight loss mainly due to its role in energy production. When people take the supplement, the body increases its ability to create energy when metabolizing food. The process where carbohydrates are converted into energy is enhanced and more food is converted which means the body does not store that much fat.

For the best results, the supplement has to be combined with a low calorie diet and preferably a regular workout. Without a healthy diet, the effects of the acid may be counteracted so people with extreme cases of obesity are encouraged to combine it with a low calorie diet to see results double.

Dr. Oz recommends a minimum of 300mg daily to boost metabolism. A daily intake of ALA can have profound effects on the metabolism and it can restore other parts of the body including the nerves and skin by enhancing the expulsion of toxins from the body.

Applications of Alpha Lipoic Acid

What is ALA good for

The most popular application of ALA is weight loss management. Due to its intrinsic features presented above it speeds up lipids (fats) katabolism (depletion). Because ALA is soluble in fat and water, it is able to move around in our bodies freely and therefore results in more work being done in the body. For instance, energy levels and cravings for food can be managed by regulating blood sugar levels in the body. Conditions like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol levels can be controlled by taking one pill of ALA and reducing calorie intake.

The antioxidant properties in ALA can be used in antiageing treatments. Dermatologists recommend using skincare products with alpha-lipoic acid for a combined effect. It has a powerful effect and reverses signs of aging by smoothing skin, removing redness, blotches and dark circles under the eyes, all of which can make one look younger.

Liver damage and stroke can be avoided by taking ALA supplements every day and reducing food intake to essentials. It boosts the strength of vitamins C and E and helps get rid of a toxic buildup.

According to early research into the workings of ALA, people who suffer from skin problems caused by sun damage should apply cream with at least 5% alpha lipoic acid and that should be enough to get rid of roughness and fine lines.

Side effects

One of the main advantages of using alpha-lipoic acid supplements is that they don’t cause any serious side effects so anybody can use them to reduce fat intake in the body. Among the known side effects are itching, nausea, stomach upset and occasionally diarrhea. However, these conditions are possible signs of the body getting rid of toxins. Either way, such symptoms should be reported to your doctor for best results.

Other Appliactions of Lipoic Acid

People with diabetes often experience symptoms such as burning sensation in the limbs, occasional pain, numbness and so on. When taken by mouth, ALA counters these effects and makes it easier to manage the disease. Apart from general cardiovascular health, these supplements can be used to treat other heart related nerve problems such as cardiac autonomic neuropathy.

Other uses of ALA include cases of chronic fatigue, cancer, liver disease, HIV, Lyme disease, eye related problems, etc. by preventing cell damage in the body, ALA is able to keep important organs in the body functioning perfectly and vitamin levels are also restored.

While more research is needed to properly gauge the effects of ALA on some of these conditions, there is sufficient evidence to suggest positive effects on people with:

  • Aging skin
  • Dementia
  • Eye problems
  • Leg pain
  • CFS
  • Wilson disease

Other problems like blood vessel disease and leg pain in general can be reduced by taking ALA supplements, but the condition can not be completely cured.

Where to Find Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALA prevalence

Only a number of foods come with ALA: spinach, broccoli, peas, organ meats, etc. Most people are unable to properly utilize the powerful acid directly from foods and that is why supplements are the best option. Doctors advise taking doses of about 300mg every day in addition to a regulated calorie intake for best results.

Restrictions

Who should be careful with this supplement and when it shouldn't be taken

People with diabetes should start by checking their blood sugar levels before taking ALA because it tends to lower blood sugar. To avoid any problems, have your doctor adjust your diabetes medication when starting ALA.

Other special situations like pregnancy or breastfeeding need careful examination by a qualified doctor because there isn’t enough information to determine just how safe it is to take ALA during pregnancy. Reduced thiamine (vitamin B1) levels can be fixed by ALA. Alcohol often lowers thiamine but alpha lipoic acid supplements can regulate its levels in the body.

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    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Great info --- almost everyone can use weight loss info. -- or knows someone who can.