Monday, December 14, 2009

Alpha Lipoic Acid - Diabetes and Cardiovascular Health

The first time alpha lipoic acid was reported as beneficial for diabetics was in 1951. By the late 1980s, researchers realized that alpha lipoic acid had long been overlooked as a powerful antioxidant. It has been proven to slow aging, help protect against heart disease, and strengthen our immune system (which fights against infections, including colds, flu, pneumonia, cancer, etc). More recently, alpha lipoic acid has been shown to increase brain and memory function, as well as muscle strength. Athletes report that it also improves endurance.

In addition to it being a strong antioxidant itself, alpha lipoic acid also greatly improves the function the other antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E and coenzyme Q-10. In fact, alpha lipoic acid has been called the "universal" or "ideal" antioxidant because it can work in more parts of the body than either vitamin E or C can.

It is well reported that antioxidants should be employed for the treatment of all atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Vitamins C and E and coenzyme Q-10* are well known and respected antioxidants, but all have limitations. Since Alpha Lipoic Acid has no restrictions, it is certainly an indispensable nutrient in treating cardiovascular disorders.

Diabetic patients should be especially excited to learn that alpha lipoic acid speeds the removal of glucose from the blood stream. Also it has been effectively used in Europe for nearly 30 years to treat nerve damage, including that caused by diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid protects our nervous systems from diabetes, in addition to other devastating nerve disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In Germany, it is an approved medical treatment for most types of nerve damage.

Very small amounts of alpha lipoic acid are produced by our bodies, and it is found in only very small amounts in red meat, spinach and potatoes. The richest source is liver; however, you would have to consume 50 tons of beef liver to get 100 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid.

The unavoidable and literally epidemic amount of pollution in our modern environment makes supplementing with antioxidants essential for good health.

Supplementation is the only way to obtain adequate amounts of antioxidants for prevention or treatment of any chronic disease. There are no unwanted side effects from Alpha Lipoic Acid. Most authorities suggest we take between 50 and 100 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid daily.

Diabetes and Alpha Lipoic Acid
Eighty percent of all diabetics are classified as type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetics. While type 1 diabetics must take insulin injections to live, type 2 diabetics commonly produce as much insulin as ever. The problem in type 2 diabetics is they have lost the ability to utilize their insulin.

In order for type 2 diabetics to recover their ability to utilize insulin, three steps are essential:
1) Dietary modification: Saturated (trans) fats and refined sugar must be avoided while consuming foods that are easily metabolized (vegetables and fruits).

2) An adequate exercise program: It must be vigorous enough to cause the body to better utilize its insulin.

3) Adequate nutrition through proper diet and supplements: Even though most diabetic patients are overweight, they are malnourished.

The most common problem for diabetics is nerve damage closely followed by cardiovascular disease.

Alpha lipoic acid is indispensable in improving utilization of insulin and reversing nerve damage.

Nerve damage from diabetes causes muscle weakness which leads to an irregular heart rate and numbness with burning and extreme pain, especially in the feet. The first symptom of nerve damage from diabetes may be foot drop caused by weakening muscles. Blindness, kidney failure, and amputations are all expected diabetic complications which are caused by arteriosclerotic disease and nerve damage.

There are no effective medicines for treating diabetes. However, there is now hope. Recent studies report that the antioxidant nutrient, alpha lipoic acid, can begin restoring nerve function after only four months of high dose treatment.

The first clear evidence that nutritional treatment can reverse the nerve damage done by diabetes was produced by a German team. Seventy-three type 2 diabetics from seven German medical centers were ultimately selected and randomly assigned to receive either 800/mg of alpha lipoic acid or a placebo (sugar pill). At study's end (four months), there was appreciable improvement in those taking alpha lipoic acid while no change was noted in the placebo group.

In 1993, Diabetes Care reported that gamma-linolenic acid from borage, black currant seed, or oil of evening primrose would reduce the always-present inflammation in diabetes. Yet, so far it has not gained favor with traditional medicine. It is probably safe to assume alpha lipoic acid will meet the same fate.

* Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to reduce inflammation and have beneficial affects on Diabetes, Heart Disease and other inflammatory conditions.

For more information on CoQ10 visit our website.

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