Nutraceutical AMPK Activators: A-Lipoic Acid

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What is A-Lipoic Acid

A-Lipoic Acid is known by other names such as thioctic acid, ALA or alpha lipooic acid, or just lipoic acid. It is a vitamin like chemical and an antioxidant.

ALA is used in a wide variety of treatment applications. It is used to treat symptoms of diabetes that are nerve related. In fact, high doses of this compound are allowed in Germany as a form of diabetes treatment.

It is suggested that A-Lipoic Acid prevents certain types of cell damage and is able to restore vitamin levels. It is also currently used as a treatment for certain eye disorders.

It is currently marketed as a dietary supplement. In other countries it is sold as an antioxidant while it is also used and sold as a pharmaceutical drug in other parts of the world.

What Plant(s) Is It Extracted From

ALA or A-Lipoic Acid is usually derived from animal sources such as the liver and kidneys of certain animals. However, it can also be extracted from other foods such as potatoes, broccoli, and spinach; all of which are good sources of ALA. It can also be manufactured in a lab and processed for the production of medication.

Mechanism of AMPK Activation

ALA has multiple mechanisms of AMPK activation. Its action on skeletal muscles brings a lot of metabolic effects. DHLA has the capability to reduce the oxidized forms of other antioxidants that have reacted to free radical molecules that are unstable. It has the ability to reduce GSH, Vitamin E, and Vitamin E.

According to one study it also has properties of metal chelation. It is in fact a potent divalent metal ion chelator. Thus, it allows the reduction of the risk of oxidative stress that is iron induced. Click here to see details about this study.

In another study, click here to see the details, it has been found that is able to reverse the rapid increase of protein oxidation, which is believed to be the hallmark of the aging process of the cells in the human body. ALA reduces the alteration in tissue glutathione

Another study shows that genes regulated by peroxisome proliferator activated receptors can be modulated by A-Lipoic Acid (click here to read the review). Both PPAR- γ  and PPAR- α are activated by alpha lipoic acid. To see the details, click here and here.

Gene expressions that are dependent on NF-κB and IκB are also inhibited by alpha lipoic acid via the inhibition of IKK2, which indicates that lipoic acid inhibits these activations in a way that is independent of antioxidant function. Click here for the details of this study.

AMPK has also been proved to be able to inhibit AMPK in a patient’s hypothalamus by mimicking the effects of a calorie surplus thus suppressing the appetite. The process of course is reversed through the activation of AMPK in the hypothalamus. Thus it is suggested that LA could become a promising treatment for obesity in older patients. Click here to see the details.

Effects from Taking A-Lipoic Acid

ALA is primarily an antioxidant. Its main function is to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals. The A-Lipoic Acid used by the body is of course produced by the body itself.

Of course, there are food sources of ALA, mentioned in the section above. Although manufacturers of ALA food supplements and proponents of this compound cite evidence of its benefits, they are still not 100 per cent conclusive. Nevertheless, you cannot discount the evidence since some of them are definitely scientifically based.

Note that people take ALA supplements either as a health booster or for treatment of a variety of health conditions. That is why this compound is sold as a type of medication in some parts of the world.

ALA and Its Diabetic Benefits: There is definitely evidence that A-Lipoic Acid has a positive impact on diabetic patients, specifically for those who have type 2 diabetes. There are a couple of benefits that can be derived from ALA supplementation in this regard.

One benefit suggested by a few studies show that ALA supplementation may be able to help the body improve its own ability to use insulin. This of course helps to lower the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes.

The other benefit that ALA may have is with nerve damage caused by diabetes or peripheral neuropathy. It is interesting that this compound has been used in Europe for years now.

People with type diabetic neuropathy experience a certain level of numbness, tingling sensations, burning feelings, and other similar or equivalent feelings of pain. ALA is currently being used to treat diabetes patients who experience these and other similar symptoms.

In one study, patients were provided large doses intravenously and those who were administered with the said treatment reported positive gains and relief from the aforementioned symptoms.

Unfortunately, these findings still need to be confirmed and reviewed. Simply put, whether ALA administrations do really work for people suffering from diabetic neuropathy has yet to be confirmed in spite of the evidence already provided.

Research also suggests that ALA supplementation combined with other nutrients and compounds such as omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and selenium may reduce the complications brought about by a coronary artery bypass graft. Patients are recommended to supplement with these a couple of months prior to the procedure and one month after the operation.

It is suggested in some studies suggest that taking ALA may be helpful for people who are looking for ways to lose weight. Research suggests that patients take a daily dose of 1800 mg per day. Supplementation will last a total of 20 weeks.

Would healing is another benefit suggested by proponents of ALA supplementation. Research suggests 300 mg doses of ALA once before oxygen therapy and once again after. Supplementation period should last from 14 to 30 days. Evidence shows that it can reduce the wound area of ulcers.

A-Lipoic Acid Dosage Information

Dosages of ALA will vary depending on the condition being treated. As stated earlier, 300 mg daily doses for up to 30 days may be beneficial especially for people treating ulcers. People looking to lose weight need to supplement with higher doses like 1800 mg a day.

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