Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant – both on its own and as a “recycler” of vitamin E and vitamin C. It can restore the antioxidant properties of these vitamins after they have neutralized free radicals. ALA also stimulates the body’s production of glutathione and aids in the absorption of coenzyme Q 10, both important antioxidants. Because ALA is soluble in both water and fat, it can move into all parts of cells to deactivate free radicals.
Supplemental ALA has been used for almost 3 decades in Europe to treat peripheral nerve degeneration and to help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It also helps to detoxify the liver of metal pollutants, block cataract formation, protect nerve tissues against oxidative stress, and reduce blood cholesterol levels. It can be used with carnitine to provide an anti-aging affect. ALA is known also as a metabolic antioxidant, because without it, cells cannot use sugar to produce energy. The body does not produce large amounts of ALA, but because it is found naturally in only a few foods, including spinach, broccoli, potatoes, Brewer’s east, and organ meats, supplementation may be necessary