This is one little beauty you want to have in your body! A powerful antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can restore the antioxidant properties of vitamin E and C after they have neutralized free radicals. It encourages the body’s manufacture of glutathione and aids in coenzyme Q10 absorption. This versatile antioxidant is both water- and fat-soluble which means it can enter cells made up of mostly fat, as in the nervous system, and those made up of mostly water as in your heart. ALA has been used to treat peripheral nerve degeneration, diabetes, to detoxify the liver, block cataract formation, protect nerve tissues, and reduce cholesterol levels. Cells in our body need ALA to help them use sugar to produce energy. The body does not produce ALA. Good dietary sources include spinach, liver, brewer's yeast, broccoli and organ meats. You know, all the yummy stuff! And because there are so few dietary sources, it may be necessary to supplement your intake. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to work even more effectively when taken in conjunction with gamma linolenic acid (GLA - an omega 6 fatty acid).
There are complicated definitions of antioxidants but it might help to think of them simply as the “posse” in your body that rounds up the “free radical gang”. Free radicals cause damage to your body’s cells and weaken the immune system, leading to infections and disease. It follows then that antioxidants play a key role in disease prevention such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants are found in all nutrient categories including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and hormones. For instance, vitamin E is also considered an antioxidant.