The world has seen a drastic shift in the health related statistics not only of the country but the world as well. In the 1960s, pneumonia together with other communicable diseases are the top causes of illness and death among people but the latest studies show and with alarming rates, that lifestyle related diseases particularly diabetes and cardiovascular conditions are the primary causes of mortality in people today.
Such events resulted to an increased awareness of people about the need to put health into their own hands and watch their lifestyle behaviors especially those who are suffering from diabetes. It is fortunate however that there are continuous attempts to explain and find solutions for this chronic and metabolic condition.
The discovery and utilization of the compound, alpha lipoic acid has brought about one of the recommended solutions for diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid which is found in the body and can be found in all cells since it facilitates the transformation of glucose molecules into energy that will be used by the body. The compound is currently and still continues to be recognized by the medical field as an alternative form of therapy because of its unique beneficial effects to the body and its preventive properties encompassing different kinds of diseases.
Alpha Lipoic Acid as Antioxidants
The first use of alpha lipoic acid is to act as an antioxidant in the body by attacking specifically neutralizing the free radicals, which are waste products from metabolic processes and functions, which are left in the body. When accumulated, these free radicals cause chemical reactions that damage the cells and compromise the immune system of the individual. As a result, the person will be exposed to development of infections and tissue damage.
What makes alpha lipoic acid unique as an antioxidant is that unlike other antioxidant compounds such as ascorbic acid and α tocopherol, this fatty acid does not select its medium may it be fat or water. Alpha lipoic acid also influences the formation of another antioxidant which is the glutathione
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplementation for Diabetics
It was only during the recent years, that the use of alpha lipoic acid for diabetes has been explored. The effect of the compound in managing the blood glucose levels of a person results from a speculation that the involvement of the compound in absorption and utilization of glucose in food may influence regulation and maintenance of sugar levels in the blood to normal ones. The relationship between intake of alpha lipoic acid supplementation and reduction in blood sugar levels has been observed in clinical trials but the relationships were not yet fully established.
Several research studies and clinical trials show that the antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid combined with its ability to lower blood sugar levels, synergistically take effect to minimize the complications of prolonged increased blood sugar levels or long standing diabetes mellitus. An example would be diabetic neuropathy particularly affecting the peripheral extremities, where alpha lipoic acid supplementation reduces the symptoms such as pruritus, pain, paresthesias or commonly known as the tingling and burning sensation, and feeling of numbness in the extremity affected by the nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels.
Another beneficial effect of taking alpha lipoic acid in diabetes is the fact that it can prevent stroke, one of the most common and life threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. This fatty acid is able to pass through the blood brain barrier which separates the structures of the nervous system with that of other body organs in the body. Researchers have mentioned about its ability to protect the nerves and cerebral tissue from the deteriorating effects of free radicals that causes dementia, as well as, stroke.
Taking the Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplements
Alpha lipoic acid is found in the food that we eat such as red meat like beef and pork; organ meats particularly the liver, rice bran and legumes such as peas. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts were also found to contain amounts of alpha lipoic acid. The Brewer’s yeast is also another notable source of the said fatty acid. The body actually makes enough amount of alpha lipoic acid but such amount is only necessary to maintain normal physiology, increased amounts are needed to achieve therapeutic effects.
Alpha lipoic acid supplements are available in capsule form at the nearest pharmacy or health supplements store. However, it must be emphasized that one must adhere to the directions and necessary precautions before taking such supplement.
Precautions when taking Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplements
Alpha lipoic acid supplements must be taken on an empty stomach for maximum absorption of the nutrients and prevent food interaction. The time of taking the alpha lipoic acid supplement must also be scheduled with the duration of effect of other drugs that lowers the blood sugar so as to prevent sudden hypoglycemia that may lead to unwanted effects in the person suffering from diabetes.
One must have a regular checking of blood sugar levels and consult the health care provider before taking the supplements. Alpha lipoic acid may be devoid of side effects since it is naturally a part of the diet but further research and clinical trials have to be made to ensure that the therapeutic claims of the supplement are true and address side effects that may result from prolonged supplementation with the fatty acid.