The Amazing Effect of Lipoic Acid on Circadian Rhythm Disorder
Researchers at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute have attributed a variety of biological benefits to a lipoic acid, a micronutrient that may be able to help reset the circadian rhythms of most living things and help with the symptoms of a circadian rhythm disorder. The study was published in the professional journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications and supported by the National Institutes of Health, via the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Lipoic acid has antioxidant properties and is vital to aerobic metabolism and is found primarily in organ meats and green vegetables like broccoli, but is not readily absorbed from most foods. Because of this, lipoic acid found in supplements is synthetic.
Lipoic acid has been known to have a number of biological benefits, including improving stress management, increasing cardiac efficiency, balancing hormones, lowering glucose levels and slowing aging. Now researchers believe these benefits are tied to the ability of lipoic acid to reset normal rhythms.
Tory Hagen, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at OSU believes this discovery could be a major breakthrough in understanding the importance and function of lipoic acid as well as the importance of circadian rhythms and how they influence biological processes.
Circadian Rhythm Disorder
Approximately a third of all of our genes are affected by circadian rhythms. When a circadian rhythm disorder occurs, the rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and hormone imbalance increase.
Dove Keith, lead author of the study, points out that with age tends to come a breakdown of circadian rhythms in many animals, including humans, and an increased risk of a circadian rhythm disorder. As this occurs, some enzymes don’t work as well as they do in younger people and animals. Keith urges additional study on the topic and says “If lipoic acid offers a way to help synchronize and restore circadian rhythms, it could be quite significant.”
In this particular study, researchers examined the rhythms of liver function. Fat metabolism in the liver is important to normal metabolism and energy use. Metabolic syndrome is largely a result of liver dysfunction and increases risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
The scientists fed lab animals lipoic acid in amounts higher than found in a normal diet and monitored proteins known to be influenced by abnormal circadian rhythms in older animals.
They discovered the lipoic acid helped to stabilize liver function and greatly improved circadian rhythms.
Previous studies showed the it would take the equivalent of about 600 mg per day, much more than is provided by a normal diet, to improve the liver function of a 150 lb human.
Research done at the Linus Pauling Institute and the OSU Center for Healthy Aging Research is aimed at increasing what the scientists there refer to as ‘healthspan’. The term refers to one’s ability not just to live longer, but to enjoy good health and engage in normal activities for more of one’s life. Research being done on lipoic acid indicates that it could help with that goal.
Further research will examine lipoic acid’s role in circadian function and optimal levels for improving health.
Dr. Lam’s Adrenal Health Perspective on Lipoic Acid:
The disruption of the circadian cycle, or onset of a circadian rhythm disorder, is an extremely common effect of stress in modern society. Working overtime hours during a project’s crunch time, going out late into the night on weekends, and inconsistent waking times contribute to disruption of the circadian cycle, resulting in a body that doesn’t know when it’s supposed to be asleep or awake. The disruption has negative effects on the body’s neuroaffective stress response and leads to symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks.
The adrenal glands are the stress control centers of the body, and they are tasked with dealing with the effects of stress to keep the body in a functioning state. If disruptions to the body’s circadian rhythm become a chronic occurrence, which seems to occur often in developed countries, stress from this disruption becomes constant burden on the adrenal glands. With no chance to rest or repair itself, the adrenal glands will wear down over time, compromising its ability to counteract stress. As the adrenals become more fatigued, existing symptoms will worsen and new symptoms arise as other stress response pathways are affected. Over time, if stress does not abate to give the adrenal glands time to rest, the body will fall into the state of Adrenal Fatigue.
This research showing lipoic acid can help repair the circadian cycle means it has definite advantages for recovery and prevention of Adrenal Fatigue. In combination with a proper recovery plan and lifestyle adjustments to minimize stress in your life, lipoic acid can help more quickly reestablish a healthy circadian cycle and lessen the burden on your adrenal glands.
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