What is R-Ala or Alpha Lipoic Acid?
What is R-ALA or Alpha-lipoic Acid?
Alpha lipoic acid or R-ala is a fatty acid that we can find in all those cells that exist in our body.
It is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radical cells. The body uses them as a defense system, preventing these free radicals from unleashing chains of cells that can be harmful and cause different diseases, for example, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease …
A very particular characteristic of this fatty acid is that it is fat-soluble and water-soluble. This means that it can act throughout the body, both in aqueous and fatty media. ALA allows its action in places that most antioxidants are unable to reach, since water barriers or fat bases obstruct its path.
ALA can be produced naturally in the body or be administered by diet or supplementation .
How does alpha lipoic acid work in the body? What properties does it have?
This fatty acid can be taken through supplementation, natural foods or even our body can produce it. When ALA enters the body, it binds to certain proteins and helps improve metabolism . Positively affecting the transformation of carbohydrates into energy.
In a natural way, the body is capable of producing a sufficient amount of ALA to carry out all functions. It is found in different concentrations within organs and muscle tissue. When it is produced naturally, it is in its R form and when it is obtained through supplementation, in a more free form: R, S or a combined form.
It also works by increasing the levels of endogenous antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10 or glutathione. It also has the ability to regenerate vitamin C and E that have been oxidized. It reduces the production of cytokines and inflammatory factors.
In summary, a large number of properties are attributed to this antioxidant:
-AlA is known as a universal antioxidant.
-Synergy with other antioxidants.
-Stimulates the production of glutathione .
-Contributes to the maintenance of general well-being .
What functions does it perform?
– Within the sports field and muscular system.
The body’s ability to produce energy decreases over the years. ALA supplementation, or increasing its consumption, helps increase mitochondrial activity. This characteristic means that it can be used both in the prevention of muscle loss.
This occurs because it stimulates a glucose transporter called Glut 4 to the cells that form muscle mass. This improvement in the use of nutrients and insulin sensitivity results in an improvement in sports performance and an increase in muscle mass.
It also helps to combat oxidative stress produced by intense physical exercise, and I get fatigue, reduction of strength and even affect myofibrillary proteins.
Diabetes and insulin control.
alpha lipoic acid and its effectiveness in controlling diabetes have been confirmed by various studies. It improves the response and sensitivity to insulin and inhibits the transformation of glucose and galactose to sorbitol.
sorbitol is one of those responsible for the cause of pathologies in diabetic people , such as, for example, one of the most common, cataracts.
Its intake through supplementation can help reduce the feeling of hunger and appetite .
Metabolism, and reduction in body weight.
The direct relationship of ALA to prevent possible alterations in metabolism, for example, those related to overweight and obesity due to insulin sensitivity and an increase in a substance called adiponectin (anti-inflammatory and antiroterogenic) and which usually be considerably decreased in people with metabolic syndrome, obesity or diabetes t ipo 2.
Another function related to energy metabolism is the ability to increase the production of glutathione , another type of antioxidant.
Cardiovascular and neurological system.
Lipoic acid has neuro-protective properties. That is why various studies have proven to improve memory, protect the brain against certain toxic components, and reduce the severity of pathologies such as Parkinson or Alzheimer’s .
ALA , as mentioned, can regenerate other vitamins such as E, which contributes to the maintenance of cardiovascular health. By itself, it has qualities that improve cardiovascular function by reducing blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
What foods contain R-ALA? .
We can find naturally in different foods:
- Vegetables and green leafy vegetables: spinach, cauliflower, broccoli.
- Flax seeds, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ.
- Of animal origin: viscera, kidney, heart.
In supplement? How much to take?
If you decide to supplement with this fatty acid, the safe dose is between 50 and 600 milligrams a day. It is a highly variable amount and it is recommended to consult with a specialist because healthy people can benefit from its characteristics with smaller amounts, and people with diabetes or with certain types of pathologies will need larger amounts.
Its consumption is not recommended exogenously in people with thiamine deficiencies, as it can hinder its absorption.