Living with diabetes requires a number of lifestyle changes, which can go a long way toward keeping it under control naturally. A healthy diet is central to successfully treating diabetes, and a number of nutrients are powerhouses in the fight against this disease. Alpha lipoic acid is one such nutrient. If you or someone you love has diabetes, alpha lipoic acid should be at the top of your list of essential nutrients.
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha lipoic acid, or ALA, is a naturally occurring compound that our bodies make in small amounts. The most important function of ALA is fighting the effects of free radicals, which are toxic byproducts that result from the process of oxidation. Over time, oxidation in the body damages the cells and can even cause abnormal cells to grow and multiply. Oxidation can slow metabolism and change the signaling of neurons.
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that slows down the cellular damage done by oxidation. This damage is a root cause of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other devastating diseases. ALA is converted to dihydrolipoic acid in the body’s cells, and this has potent protective effects. In addition to being a mighty antioxidant, ALA also helps improve the way the body uses glutathione, another important antioxidant that fights cellular damage and aging.
Alpha lipoic acid also helps to restore the levels of essential vitamins in the body, including vitamins C and E. It acts as a synergist for the B vitamins, which convert the macronutrients from food into energy. ALA helps the body turn carbohydrate molecules into usable energy to be digested and utilized by the body.
ALA is a powerful chelator of toxic metal ions in the body, clearing them out of the blood. Metals like mercury, arsenic, and iron make their way into the bloodstream through the air we breathe, the chemicals we use, the food we eat, and our water sources.
How Does Alpha Lipoic Acid Fight Diabetes?
According to an article published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, alpha lipoic acid has well-established benefits for people with diabetes. It protects the cells and neurons involved in the production of hormones, and in supplement form, it can help improve insulin sensitivity and may even protect against metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and increased body weight.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, ALA is effective for treating diabetic neuropathy. One study found that 600 milligrams of ALA daily significantly reduced diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Additionally, ALA is effective for improving heart rate variability in people with cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy, or CAN, which is a complication that affects around 25 percent of people with diabetes.
How to Get More Alpha Lipoic Acid in Your Diet
ALA is found in animal hearts and liver and in plants like spinach and broccoli. Smaller amounts of ALA are found in tomatoes, peas, and Brussels sprouts. But the best way to increase your intake of ALA is to take a supplement. According to Oregon State, the amounts of ALA available in dietary supplements are as much as 1,000 times greater than the amounts you can get from food. ALA should be taken on an empty stomach, around an hour before or two hours after eating.
Nerveology’s Nerve Support Complex is an excellent source of alpha lipoic acid, along with essential B vitamins and natural compounds that improve blood flow and circulation. It can help prevent or repair nerve damage and reduce pain associated with damaged nerves. The strongest formula on the market for nerve pain, our Nerve Support Complex can help improve your prognosis–and your quality of life.