Learn How Lipoic Acid Benefits Can Enhance Your Health

By: Dr. Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Dr. Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM



lipoic acid benefits from supplementsWe are always looking for new and inventive ways to make sure our health is at its highest levels. There is no shortage of suggestion from the medical or even natural health industries these days. The main purpose of this article is to shed light onto the ways that a proper level of lipoic acid benefits your health. As a naturally produced antioxidant, lipoic acid is found in all cells. Sometimes known as Alpha-lipoic acid, it has a variety of positive effects on the body not limited to seeking out free radicals and regenerating dormant antioxidants. It is often taken as a prescribed medication throughout many parts of Europe and is available as a supplement also. There are certain foods that contain lipoic acid but we’ll dive into those a bit later.

What Exactly Is Lipoic Acid?

Lipoic acid is known as an organosulfur compound. It is an extremely important cofactor for many enzyme complexes. It has a major role in the synthesis which transfers energy from glucose so that it can be used in physical processes. What makes lipoic acid different from many fatty acids is that it is both fat and water soluble. That specific detail describes one of the main reasons that lipoic acid benefits body process functions. Most fatty acids are only water soluble but not fat soluble, this complicates uptake by allowing for malabsorption in certain circumstances.

General Overview of Lipoic Acid Benefits

1. Weight Loss

Lipoic acid can improve insulin sensitivity and therefore has a positive effect on blood sugar. When you have sufficient levels of lipoic acid in your body, there is stimulation for increased energy expenditure, and excess calories are burned by activating your cellular energy signaling complexes.

The effect that lipoic acid has on blood sugar levels helps to lessen the body’s proclivity for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Because high blood sugar levels are damaging to your body’s tissue regeneration, the control that you gain with levels being normal from introduction of lipoic acid, if you’re deficient, can help. It’s important to note that excess weight does not necessarily come from a deficiency in lipoic acid and may be the cause of something more serious. Just because you have similar issues to what is being discussed herein does not prove that a lipoic acid deficiency is what you’re experiencing. If you have any questions as to why you are having a difficult time losing weight or holding excess weight then it is important that you talk to a healthcare professional before taking steps to alter your personal protocol.

2. Limiting Brain Cell Degeneration

Our bodies, through time, often experience what is referred to as oxidative damage. This is a result of the body being unable to detoxify, at an appropriate rate, when it is exposed to too many harmful toxins. It also occurs when your body is constantly experiencing high levels of inflammation which causes tremendous consequences to your entire physical and mental structure over time.

Lipoic acid benefits the brain by reducing amyloid-beta-induced inflammation and increasing neurotransmitter activity within the brain via chemical signaling molecules. Amyloid-beta is an often present factor in the onset and degeneration of Alzheimer’s disease.

Your cells enjoy lipoic acid benefitsThere has been suspicion that lipoic acid prevents cell death in many areas of the brain. Because of this information, it is likely that certain types of degenerative cognitive problems can be avoided. To touch on oxidative stress again, it is important that you don’t simply rely on supplementation or proper diet to ensure well-being. It is necessary to view health in a more broad scope because no matter how healthy you may think your diet and physical activity may be; stress is a massive destructive force internally. The mitigation of stress should also be a priority for anyone who is seeking to live a better and more balanced life. You should not lean heavily on lipoic acid benefits alone as the savior.

3. Heart Health

Maintaining a healthy heart is a priority that many people put on the back burner. Cardiovascular problems are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. That fact is due to more factors than can be listed in one sitting. All of that being said; lipoic acid benefits the heart in a multifaceted way.

Because lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant, as well as being anti-inflammatory, it is thought to be a catalyst for reduction of cardiovascular risk factors. It relaxes blood vessels and in turn can lower blood pressure which improves blood flow. High blood pressure is a keystone of poor cardiovascular health, and thus the introduction of a supplement that can lower your blood pressure should be afforded some thought.

It may seem too good to be true but there is also an effect towards lowering cholesterol when proper lipoic acid levels are integrated into the body. This is a big help when you are struggling with arterial plaque build-up because it can slow the rate at which that process continues.

It cannot be stressed enough that lipoic acid is not a remedy for those who have serious cardiovascular issues. There is no magic formula that will take care of all problems that have developed over periods of time. If you believe that you’re suffering from poor heart health then it is imperative that you reach out to your doctor and talk to them about it. It is never a good idea to ignore something that could become a life threatening problem. For preventative measures it is prudent to consider lipoic acid benefits and how you can incorporate them into your life.

4. Lipoic Acid Benefits Stress

There is a process that occurs in all of our bodies which is known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. NEM is a description of stress from start to finish. The beginning stage of stress takes place in the hypothalamus, located at the base of the brain. From there it travels to the pituitary gland and then onto the adrenal glands where the hormonal signals that promote physical response take place. This is often called the Hypo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

When the body experiences stress, the adrenal glands produce cortisol which is a powerful hormone that, when not kept under control, can lead to chronic inflammation, poor digestion, and a range of other issues. Lipoic acid benefits this process by helping to reduce inflammation that is caused by a weakened NEM.

lipoic acid benefits reduce inflammationIt is important to focus on things that can help the body recover from high levels of stress and inflammation. Because lipoic acid is a natural antioxidant as well as an antioxidant booster, it can help bring down levels of toxicity by seeking out and neutralizing free radicals in the body. As we touched on earlier, free radicals that are allowed to course through the body without being addressed can eventually lead to oxidative damage over time. High levels of stress will inevitably cause damage to your body so it is necessary to aid the NEM in whatever ways possible.

Because NEM releases cortisol which causes the body’s blood sugar levels to spike and reduces cholesterol absorption; maintaining sufficient lipoic acid will benefit you by combating those negative effects. NEM is a healthy and natural mechanism for all of us to stay safe and protect ourselves but when it is coupled with poor nutrition and lack of recovery; it can be a recipe for disastrous health consequences.

Check out this easy to understand infographic about lipoic acid benefits

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Lipoic Acid

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is known to affect a large percentage of the population and results in a myriad of symptoms ranging from depression to the inability to handle stress. The adrenal glands are responsible for the creation of a large number of hormones in our bodies. Because of this, they are constantly working to produce what is needed for a healthy balance between all of our body’s systems.

The adrenal glands are particularly active during times of stress which often results in them being overworked. If there is not sufficient nutrient uptake or available compounds for the adrenals to draw from in order to produce necessary hormones and steroids, they can become fatigued and even reach the point of exhaustion.

At this point, we are deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients which can be exceedingly detrimental to your health. Lipoic acid benefits you the most when levels are sufficient to replace what is lost during NEM and can help prevent or mitigate symptoms of AF. The goal of anyone who is suffering from AF is to enter a period of recovery where they can begin to regain lost strength and get back to a position where their bodies can adequately handle stress.

Lipoic acid is necessary to assist the body in engaging the anti-inflammatory response which is important in AFS recovery. When the body experiences AF, there are often untold levels of inflammation which wreak havoc on a multitude of the body’s responses. Not everyone with AF does well with lipoic acid. Those who are weak may find it too stimulating and adrenal crashes may be triggered. Care need to be exercised. Alternative supplementation is available. This is not something that will be necessary for all people but if you are experiencing AF and want to enter a stage of recovery, it could very well be what you need if your body can accept it well.

Foods Containing Lipoic Acid

One of the easiest and most pain free ways to improve your lipoic acid level is to consume foods that are rich with the nutrient. All animals and plants produce lipoic acid in the same way that your body does naturally. All things considered, there are some foods that have higher levels and thus give you more lipoic acid benefits than others do.

Starting with the carnivore diet, if that is your preference, there are several parts of animals that contain very large amounts of lipoic acid. Organs are normally the best meat source of the nutrient; liver, kidneys, and heart are known to contain the most. It needs to be stressed that for the majority of people, lipoic acid levels are kept in check naturally and there isn’t a need to worry about being deficient. This is not to say that some people don’t suffer from insufficient amounts and for those people, there are many ways to increase levels.

lipoic acid benefits from broccoliFor the vegetarian diet, you can consume more broccoli and spinach as well as sprouts, peas and tomatoes to boost your intake of lipoic acid. Because it is so prevalent in foods, bringing your levels up is more about healthy eating than taking supplements. All things considered, there will always be situations where you can’t, for a number of reasons, bring your intake to the place where it needs to be. In those cases, there are many supplements on the market that can give you up to 1000 times the levels of lipoic acid than you can consume naturally.

Food is a very specific and personally malleable mandate for everyone. Some people have allergies or intolerance to the point where they can’t always eat what others do. It is important to take into account the things that you can and can’t consume so that your body can maintain balance. Before you make any changes to your diet, be sure to make careful and substantive choices to avoid any negative developments in your health.

When you are wondering and attempting to discover if you have a deficiency of any sort, professional help is recommended. It is often unsafe to embark on a protocol that is out of your normal routine without discussing it first with a clinical professional. There are many benefits to lipoic acid but, as with anything, there can be drawbacks. When you’re looking into what is best for you, take your time and choose wisely because everyone is quite different.

 
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


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