Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALA is regarded as THE top antioxidant. It is unique in that it is both fat and water-soluble, controls "hydroxyl radicals," regenerates and helps prevent deficiencies in other antioxidants [like vitamin C and vitamin E] and increases glutathione, your body's chief natural detoxifier and a powerful ally against cancer.

Researchers believe that antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and the carotenoids, as well as alpha lipoic acid, work most effectively in a synergistic manner-in combination with each other, as a team. ALA is sometimes referred to as a network antioxidant. This is because Lipoic acid is the only antioxidant with the ability to regenerate and recycle itself along with other antioxidants such as vitamins C & E.



The structure of ALA is very small which allows it to easily slip through cell membranes. Many other antioxidants are too large to pass through the cell membrane. ALA is one of the very few substances that can actually cross the blood/brain barrier to enter the brain and go directly where it is needed most.

ALA plays an essential role in cellular and muscular energy production. ALA is a coenzyme in the metabolic process, specifically it is necessary for the conversion of glucose to energy Alpha Lipoic Acid speeds the removal of glucose (sugar) from the blood and breaking down sugar for the production of ATP, cell fuel. This is of particular interest to those with diabetes. ALA is crucial for energy production.



ALA supplementation causes increased levels of glutathione, which helps the body dispose of toxins. Glutathione protects the brain from free radical damage, and low levels of glutathione in the brain have been associated with brain disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Benefits of ALA depend upon which type of ALA is administered. See below.



  • Recent studies suggest that ALA bolsters the antioxidant defenses in HIV-positive people.
  • UC Berkeley researchers found that ALA inhibited the growth of a protein linked with the growth of cancerous tumors.


Types of ALA

There are two forms of alpha lipoic acid.

R-ALA - is the form found naturally occurring within the body and is the biologically active form of alpha lipoic acid.

S-ALA - is the unnatural, synthetic byproduct created during the production of alpha lipoic acid. By itself S-ALA is not very effective.

Separating out S-ALA from R-ALA is expensive, so most manufacturers don’t bother. Generally when you purchase ALA, you will be given a 50/50 mixture of S-ALA & R-ALA. So check bottle specifically states 100% R-ALA, you are only getting a 50/50 blend.

Differences Between R-ALA and S-ALA

Many studies have proven that R-ALA is up to 12 times as effective as S-ALA. This is due to the many unique benefits R-ALA offers and the problems with S-ALA

Benefits of R-Lipoic Acid

R-Lipoic acid is the only form of lipoic acid that your body synthesizes and can safely metabolize. It is also the only form of lipoic acid that is proven to :

  • significantly increase or maintain levels of other antioxidants including Coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione.
  • protect body fats against oxidative damage, chelate harmful metals and reverse stress damage in your heart.
  • reduce disease causing oxidative stress with aging by significantly increasing cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant activity, thereby preventing mitochondrial decay
  • significantly reduce inflammation, an underlying cause of aging.
  • protect the brain from neuro-degeneration associated with aging, improve memory, reduce brain damage and reverse cognitive dysfunction
  • reduce the gain in body fat from aging by significantly increasing insulin sensitivity, enhancing glucose transport, and increasing metabolic rate.
  • extend total life span


Problems of S-lipoic acid

S-Lipoic acid produces limited beneficial effects since it cannot bind with key enzymes. S-Lipoic acid also produces different biological actions than R-Lipoic acid, some of which may be undesirable.

  • At high concentrations, S-Lipoic acid inhibits mitochondria metabolism and the antioxidant activity of R-lipoic acid
  • S-Lipoic acid is metabolized in the outer cell membrane. This may interfere with R-Lipoic acid’s ability to penetrate the inner mitochondrial membrane and energy production.



Best food sources: spinach, broccoli, and red meat.

Supplementation can be used for both preventative and therapeutic purposes.



General Supplement: with 120 mg a day.

Preventive dosage: 100 - 200mg daily

Therapeutic doses: up to 600 - 800mg/day to reverse symptoms from neuropathy, to assist diabetics with other complications such as cataracts or macular degeneration, or to assist the body in fighting off HIV.


Side Effects

  • Side effects even at higher dosages are practically nonexistent except possibly allergic skin reaction.
  • Blood glucose monitoring is advised.


ALA Products

Life Glow Plus, and Super Life Glow, each, contain 5 mg per daily dose of Alpha.

Other major antioxidants of the body.

Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene (Pro-vitaminA), Glutathione (Cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine), Methionine, Cysteine, Coenzyme q-10, (Co-Q-10), Selenium, Zinc, Melatonin, DHEA, Phytochemicals (Flavonoids and polyphenolics)

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