Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful organic component that our bodies produce naturally in small amounts. ALA act as an antioxidant. According to recent studies, the compound plays an essential role in diabetes, weight loss, and other various health conditions. However, many are curious about its authenticity and effectiveness. Is it too good to be true?
ALA is both fat and water-soluble; therefore, it is capable of working in every tissue and cell of our body. As our body produces this extremely beneficial compound in very little quantity, we can simply rely on dietary supplements and certain food to optimize our intake. Animal products such as organ and red meats and veggies like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are all good sources of ALA.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a complex medical term which is used to describe multiple conditions that have an impact on the nerves and it can cause irritation and other painful symptoms. This complication can arise from diabetes or can be a side effect of chemotherapy.
To treat neuropathy, there are several conventional treatments available. However, there are many pieces of research taking place to find out the usage of supplements to, if not completely treat, at least provide relief from such medical conditions. Moreover, lots of people opt for these supplements as they come with fewer side effects.
Antioxidants are substances that the body can make use for managing and preventing a tissue-damaging process known as oxidative stress. This process is a major part of the diabetic neuropathy process. As mentioned earlier, an antioxidant like not only plays a powerful role in neuropathy relief but also reduces blood sugar levels.
According to the tests conducted by a few small clinical trials, ALA can be given intravenously or as a supplement. Individuals with diabetic neuropathy noticed pain reduction and improvement in nerve functions after the intake. ALA supplements, in general, are considered safe when taken as per the doctor’s orders.
However, you can suffer from toxic reactions if you have a significant deficiency of vitamin B1 (also known as thiamin). Alcohol can lower the quantity of vitamin B1 present in one’s body; therefore, heavy users of alcohol are also discouraged from using ALA supplements. Always check with your doctor!
Recommended Dosage of Alpha-Lipoic Acid for Nerve Pain (Alpha-Lipoic Acid for Nerve Damage)
The recommended dosage of ALA supplements in capsule form for neuropathy is 600 to 1200 mg per day. Along with improving nerve functions, it helps in relieving uncomfortable symptoms in the affected areas such as:
Like any other supplements, consult your doctor before taking ALA or altering your treatment plan in any way. You can also consume these supplements with pain medication, massage therapies, and other techniques for pain relief but be careful while doing so. Interference of supplements, herbs, and other medicines can cause harsh reactions and can have a negative impact on your overall health.
How Does ALA Work?
ALA seems to restore levels of various vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin E. It also prevents damage of certain cells in our body. The body uses ALA to break down the stubborn carbs in our body and ALA produces energy for other body organs to consume.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid – Food Sources
Are you one of those people who cringe at the thought of swallowing supplements? You’ve nothing to worry about. ALA is present in various foods in the form of lipoyllysine. You can simply make small changes in your diet plan and take a step towards a healthier lifestyle. The best dietary sources of ALA are the following:
- Red meat
- Rice bran
- Yams and potatoes
- Brussel sprouts
A good source of ALA is red meat, especially beef’s muscle. Red meat is typically known to contain about 1-3mcg/g dry weight of ALA in the form of lipoyllysine. What a great excuse to fire up the barbecue grill!
The exterior coating of rice grain, known as bran, is one of the great sources of ALA. As a bonus, it also contains healthy oils. It is high in B vitamins and extremely cost-effective.
Among infinite other benefits of leafy greens, spinach also contains 3.2 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine. You can incorporate it in your smoothies, pastas, curries, and soups to get a boost of nutrients. Our personal favorite is sauteed in olive oil with garlic.
Organ meats like beef kidney contain approximately 2.65 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine. You can braise it, make a pie out of it, and even enjoy it with some red wine sauce to complete your meal. We know, it’s not for everyone. 🙂
The beef heart contains approximately 1.51 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine. If cooked slow and right with aromatic spices and herbs, it will be a delicious addition to your diet.
Yams and Potatoes
You can have yams and potatoes by boiling and mashing them or as wedges. These starchy root vegetables contain an effective amount of ALA. Try to keep it healthy by avoiding frying and using a low-sugar ketchup if you make them into fries.
Liver contains approximately 0.86 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine. You can either incorporate it with exotic spices and stir-fry it or simply cook it with scrumptious caramelized onions.
Not throwing away your broccoli from your lunch packs in high school is finally going to pay off! If you are already used to its taste, then you won’t have any problem including it in your daily diet. Broccoli contains about 0.9 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine. You can simply eat it with your salad or make it the key ingredient of your creamy soup.
With about 0.6 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine, tomatoes are a great source of ALA for you. You can simply eat it raw or mix it in your salads, make soup, salsa or pasta sauce from this perfect fruit.
Other Sources of ALA
Other ALA sources like carrots, peas, beets, and Brussel sprouts contain about 0.5 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Diabetes
When it comes to ALA and diabetes, the most frequently asked question is “Is alpha-lipoic acid good for diabetics?”
More than 400 million adults worldwide are affected by diabetes. A major feature that comes with uncontrolled diabetes is elevated levels of blood sugar. If diabetes is left untreated, it can cause various health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, and loss of vision.
As mentioned earlier, ALA can help lower blood sugar levels; therefore, it has become a popular potential aid for the disease. According to scientific belief, ALA does so by encouraging processes that promote fat removal from muscle cells which otherwise negatively affect insulin’s effectiveness. Moreover, ALA may lower the risk of arising complications in diabetic patients.
ALA has been shown to ease nerve damage symptoms, enhance blood sugar control, lower the threat of diabetic retinopathy, and reduce insulin resistance. Confirm with your doctor if ALA can help you and if you get the thumbs-up, go for it!