Don't we all wish for the one fix for everything that ails us? That certainly would be nice. And while science hasn't found the cure-all yet, one antioxidant is being praised for its impact on your overall wellbeing: Alpha lipoic acid (ALA).
ALA is found most commonly in organ tissues as well as vegetables like broccoli and spinach. ALA can also be produced in a laboratory for supplemental use and is available in capsules, softgels or tablets.
ALA has earned this name because of its central role in the body. ALA is located in the mitochondria of our cells, which is like their engine. ALA is different from other antioxidants because it's both water and fat soluble, which means it can be used throughout the entire cell, producing a wider range of health benefits. ALA prevents damage from free radicals and boosts the immune system.
Right now, ALA is growing in popularity for its ability to help in the following areas:
ALA for Weight Loss:
The reason this antioxidant is recommended for weight loss is its role in energy production. Taking an ALA supplement increases our body's ability to metabolize food to create energy. Specifically, ALA helps to convert carbohydrates into energy. When more food is converted into energy, it can't collect elsewhere in the body as fat cells. On the May 11 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz recommended 300 mg daily of ALA to help boost your metabolism to burn more fat.
ALA for Skin:
When you're shopping for an anti-aging treatment, dermatologist Nicolas Perricone, MD, recommends keeping an eye out for ALA. According to Dr. Perricone, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ALA can work wonders when it comes to reversing the visible signs of aging. In fact, ALA is an amazing 400 times stronger as an antioxidant than vitamins C and E. When applied topically, ALA reduces puffiness and dark circles under the eyes, swelling of the entire face and redness or blotchiness. Over time, skin looks more even by increasing production of nitric oxide, pores appear smaller and lines and wrinkles are less noticeable.
ALA for Nerves:
ALA has shown positive effects on nerve-related symptoms like numbness, tingling, burning and pain in the arms and legs. These symptoms are commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, which can be brought on by chemotherapy treatment for different cancers, diabetes (it has also been shown to regulate blood sugar) due to poor circulation and cardiac autonomic neuropathy involving the heart. Studies are ongoing to see if ALA can be regularly used to prevent or relieve these symptoms. Patients have taken ALA orally or intravenously and have seen results take up to five weeks to become noticeable, according to WebMD.
ALA may not be the one-shot cure we're all looking for, but it can certainly improve your health in more ways than one. Would you try it?
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