Lipoic Acid: The Universal Antioxidant
What you need to know about R and S Lipoic Acid
Lipoic acid is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant clinically shown to provide numerous health benefits. From decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease to fighting diabetes to even helping you lose weight, there is almost no health issue outside the purview of this aptly nicknamed “universal antioxidant.”
Produced by the body, Lipoic Acid is critical to overall health, exerting its anti-oxidative power to neutralize free radicals and protect both brain and body from their damaging effect. As you age, less lipoic acid is produced, leaving you more susceptible to free radical damage and the whole host of health problems with which it is associated. Diabetes, liver cirrhosis, and heart disease—just to name a few of the diseases and conditions typically accompanied by a deficiency of lipoic acid.
Found inside every cell of the body, lipoic acid is the only antioxidant that dissolves in both fat and water. Lipoic acid is an essential cofactor for mitochondrial respiratory enzymes, helping to protect mitochondria against rising free radical levels. Lipoic Acid also improves the function of other antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and can help to reduce aches and pains that accompany aging. It also has been shown to improve sugar metabolism increase energy. In animal models, lipoic acid has even shown to prolong life and fight against cancer.
There are two different types of lipoic acid. There is the natural type, known as R-Lipoic Acid, which is made by the body, and there is the unnatural S form of lipoic acid (enantiomers) not found anywhere in the natural world. R-lipoic acid is found in plants and animals, whereas the S-form of lipoic acid came into existence in 1952 when it was first chemically synthesized.
R-lipoic acid, the natural type, is immediately recognized by the body (after all, the body produces it). This instant “recognition” means that the body knows how to employ the lipoic acid to maximum effectiveness.S-lipoic acid, the “unnatural” kind, on the other hand, has proven itself to be difficult for the body to absorb. Not only that, some research has indicated that the S-form of lipoic acid might even prevent natural R-liopic acid from exerting its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory powers.
Despite the clear superiority of natural R-lipoic acid, most supplements on the market usually consist of a mixture of both forms. The reason isn’t in the effectiveness of this mixture, but just to save money. Born in a lab and not in nature, S-lipoic acid is cheaper to produce than its natural “R” counterpart.
If you’re healthy, your body will generate enough lipoic acid to supply the energy you need to thrive. But if you are lipoic acid deficient, you should look to a daily supplement raise your lipoic acid levels to where they should be. Daily doses of lipoic acid, as described above, can work wonders on all sorts of health issues as well as promote overall well-being.
Although a bit pricier, most physicians suggest you find a supplement with 100% pure R-lipoic acid to ensure that this “Universal Antioxidant” can be fully absorbed and fully-functional.