Monday, October 31, 2011

Alpha Lipoic Acid Boosts Cellular Energy and Regenerates Mitochondria Function

Mitochondria are the small powerhouse organelles that control the energy output for each of the trillions of cells that function synergistically within the human body. Every cell houses dozens to hundreds of mitochondria, depending on the particular function and energy requirement of the component organ. More than 85% of the oxygen contained in every breath is consumed by these tiny energy producers, so it is easy to understand how low mitochondrial function typically seen with aging can lead to low energy levels and ultimately cellular death.

Cutting edge research published in the Journal of Nucleic Acids and Metabolism furnishes details to explain that the naturally occurring antioxidant alpha lipoic acid can significantly reduce mitochondrial decay and boost energy levels to improve longevity parameters in aging humans.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Reduces Free Radical Stress and Improves Energy Production
Since the early 1970`s scientists have proposed and validated the `mitochondrial theory of aging` that demonstrates how a lifetime of accumulated damage to mitochondrial DNA leads to increased free radical stress and lowered cellular energy production and chronic disease. Researchers examined aging mice that were broken into two groups, one supplemented with alpha lipoic acid in their drinking water and the other a control group, for a period of 30 days. Both groups were tested for metabolic functions relating to glucose metabolism, energy production and antioxidant status.

Authors of the study found that the alpha lipoic acid supplemented group experienced mitochondrial biogenesis, a process that rejuvenates and replaces damaged and aging mitochondria. Prior bodies of research postulated that mitochondrial regeneration and genesis were not possible and cell death was always the final result of mitochondrial dysfunction. Through a very intricate metabolic process, lipoic acid supplementation was found to improve body composition, glucose tolerance, and energy expenditure in the aged mice.

Alpha Lipoic Acid May Aid Weight Management and Improve Insulin Control
Researchers noted this was the first time a natural compound was able to effectively revitalize mitochondria in aging cells, and concluded that alpha lipoic acid supplementation “increases lean mass loss possibly by suppressing protein synthesis in the skeletal muscle by down-regulating the mTOR signaling pathway. Thus, lipoic acid may be a promising supplement for treatment of obesity and/or insulin resistance in older patients.”

Subsequently, research conducted by Dr. Bruce Ames found that combining the bioactive `R` isomer of lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine decreases oxidative damage leading to mitochondrial decay and may help prevent degenerative diseases of aging including cancer, cognitive decline (dementia) and diabetes while restoring the vital energy needed to live an active lifestyle. Nutrition experts recommend supplementing with `R` alpha-lipoic acid (100 – 300 mg daily) and acetyl-l-carnitine (1000 mg daily) to restore energy levels lost to mitochondrial decline.

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