Lipoic acid, which is also known as thioctic acid (vitamin N), is a fat soluble compound produced in the body. It plays an important role in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
An enzyme found in the mitochondria, where it plays a crucial role in this energy-producing structure of the cell. The body makes it for basic metabolic functions. Regenerates vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione – three antioxidants that help defend your lens, macula and other eye tissues and others from free radicals.
A versatle powerful fat and water-soluble antioxidant, capable of fighting free radicals in both fatty and water based environments (ie muscle and skin). Often termed the “universal” antioxidant, it acts as an antioxidant, when there is an excess of it while it is in the "free" state in the cells.
Only small amounts of it are free circulating in your body, unless you consume it. It inhibits aldose reductase, a harmful enzyme implicated in promoting neuropathy and retinopathy in diabetics. Has benefits in diabetic peripheral neuropathy, enhances insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant humans. Crosses blood brain barrier and offers neurological protection from free radicals and oxidative stress, reduces HIV expression and reduces LDL oxidation.
The body converts some of it to dihydrolipoic acid. Both forms of lipoic acid quench peroxynitrite radicals, a dangerous type consisting of both oxygen and nitrogen. Peroxynitrite radicals play a role in the development of atherosclerosis, lung disease, chronic inflammation, and neurological disorders.
Moderates blood sugar levels, may be effective in treating Parkinson’s, generating energy, protects the liver from alcohol damage as well as the lungs from smoke damage.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant substance produced by the body. Lipoates are small water and fat-soluble molecules that are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It has been recognized for its role in cardiovascular disease, as well as a potential adjunctive therapy for AIDS patients. It has also demonstrated a positive effect on insulin and blood sugar metabolism for type 2 diabetics. Lipoates have been reported to increase insulin-mediated glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity among type 2 diabetics in clinical trials. It reportedly improved glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle in one study, indicating its potential in restoring glucose availability.
It may be a promising antihyperglycemic agent for diabetics suffering with glucose overproduction, by inhibiting hepatic fatty acid oxidation and gluconeogenesis. It's antioxidant properties are reportedly effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. In a blind, placebo-controlled study, 97.5 percent of diabetic subjects treated with a 200 ml intravenous solution daily for three weeks reported an improvement of neuropathy symptoms. The response rate of the control group was 40 percent. These mechanisms are enhanced over several weeks of intake and may be used in conjunction with other glycemic agents.
In studies, R-lipoic acid has been shown to regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines, and alter the expression of "toxic genes". R-lipoic acid has been used to treat diabetes and has been recommended as a "neuroprotective agent".
Discovered in 1951 to be important, and recognized as a powerful antioxidant in 1988. It serves as a coenzyme in the Krebs cycle and in the production of cellular energy.
Lipoic acid is an organosulfur compound, one enantiomer of which is an essential cofactor for many enzyme complexes. This yellow solid is a carboxylic acid and features a cyclic disulfide, or ditholane ring, functional group. The R-enantiomer is biosynthesized and used as a cofactor. Lipoic acid is essential for aerobic life. Usually called "lipoic acid," but the form "dihydrolipoic acid" is the reduced form which is mostly how the sulfurs exist intracellularly. "Lipoate" is the conjugate base of lipoic acid, and this is the form carboxylic acids take at physiological conditions. Free lipoic acid inside the cell could be called "dihydrolipoate". Most intracellular lipoic acid is not free, because it is attached to and used in an enzyme complex. As a cofactor Lipoic acid is covalently bound via and amide bond to a specific lysine residue of lipoyl domains. One of the visible roles of lipoic acid is as a cofactor in aerobic metabolism, specifically the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Lipoate participates in transfer of acyl or methylamine groups in 2-oxoacid dehydrogenases (2-OADH) and glycine cleavage complexes (GCV), respectively.
Lipoic acid acts in a complex with thiamin and niacin in the metabolism of glucose. It is also an antioxidant, effective against both water and fat soluble free radicals. Lipoic acid may combine with free iron and copper in the body and protect against the oxidative damage exerted by these free ions.
Lipoic Acid occurs naturally in foods covalently bound to lysine in proteins (lipoyllysine). Lipoic Acid (lipoyllysine) is found in plants and animals sources.
Animal tissues rich in lipoyllysine include kidney, heart and liver. Plants rich in lipoyllysine include spinach and broccoli, lower in tomatoes, peas, brussels sprouts and brewer's yeast.
Lipoic acid may protect vitamins C and E and some other antioxidants from oxidative damage by "recycling" them.
Deficiency Signs or Symptoms:
Low lipoic acid levels may play a role in disorders such as Sciatica pain diabetes, heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.
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