The term “miracle drug” has been loosely applied to everything from aspirin and penicillin to statins and “breakthrough” cancer meds. But I want to tell you about a nutritional supplement that truly is miraculous: alpha lipoic acid (also called lipoic acid or ALA).
Lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant found in every cell in your body. In addition to quenching free radicals, this unique antioxidant also regenerates vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and glutathione. It’s a mitochondrial powerhouse as well, protecting these energy-generating “factories” and increasing the production of new mitochondria.
Another health benefit of alpha lipoic acid is that it has a unique ability to neutralize toxins, chelate heavy metals, and protect against DNA damage.
These multiple actions make lipoic acid a valuable ally against diabetic complications, liver damage, and perhaps even aging!
Lipoic Acid Benefits Diabetic Neuropathy
I recommend alpha lipoic acid (600-1,200 mg per day) for all my patients with diabetes. Although it has some effect on insulin sensitivity, it’s particularly helpful for diabetic neuropathy. A meta-analysis involving 1,160 patients with diabetic neuropathy demonstrated that 600 mg of lipoic acid per day for five weeks significantly improved pain, sensation, and other symptoms.
It certainly worked for Bill B. Bill had such severe diabetic neuropathy that he had constant pain and limited sensation, his left leg dragged when he walked, and he was continually dropping things. After eight weeks on supplemental alpha lipoic acid, his pain subsided and his sensation and coordination improved. His neurologist marveled that he had never seen such a dramatic turnaround.
Lipoic Acid: A Lifesaver for Liver Failure…
Lipoic acid benefits liver problems in a big way. John and Eunice were admitted to the hospital with acute liver failure after inadvertently eating poisonous wild mushrooms. Lucky for them, Burton Berkson, MD, PhD, happened to be working at the hospital. A medical resident at the time, he was one of the few doctors familiar with the use of alpha lipoic acid for the treatment of liver failure.
Dr. Berkson treated John and Eunice with IV lipoic acid infusions, and within days they left the hospital—completely recovered from “fatal” liver failure. I interviewed them 20 years after this incident, and both were doing just fine.
Today, Dr. Berkson is an internationally recognized clinical expert in the use of alpha lipoic acid who has helped thousands of patients with liver problems such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. We use several of his protocols here at Whitaker Wellness including “triple therapy, a combination of 600 mg lipoic acid, 900 mg silymarin (from milk thistle), and 400 mcg selenium, taken in divided doses twice a day.
Although prescription drugs are now available that actually eradicate the hepatitis C virus—at the cost of nearly $100,000 for a 12-week course—we have very good results with triple therapy. I have patients with longstanding hepatitis C who have been on this protocol for years and have near-normal blood tests and excellent quality of life.
Want to Retard Aging? Take Lipoic Acid
There’s one more thing you need to know about alpha lipoic acid: Because of its multiple roles in the mitochondria, it is one of the most promising anti-aging therapies ever discovered.
Bruce Ames, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of America’s most highly honored scientists, believes that mitochondrial dysfunction is a primary cause of aging and age-related diseases. When your energy factories cease to function at their peak, your lights begin to dim and eventually go out.
When Dr. Ames and his research team gave older rats lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine for several weeks, it turned the lights back on. Old, lethargic animals had more pep and energy, they looked younger, and they performed better on memory tests. The conclusion was that alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine tuned up the mitochondria, and this had profound anti-aging effects.
Many More A Benefits
Alpha lipoic acid is also an excellent preventive and adjunct therapy for cardiovascular disease, vision problems, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Other current areas of research include lipoic acid’s ability to increase energy, decrease appetite, and help with weight loss.
For all of these reasons and more, I recommend that everyone over age 45 include 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid in their daily supplement regimen. Look for alpha lipoic acid in health food stores, online, or order by calling (800) 810-6655. To learn more about the protocols we use at the clinic and to find out if you’re a good candidate for treatment, call (866) 944-8253.