Alpha Lipoic Acid: Antioxidant Extraordinaire
Julian Whitaker, MD
Lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant that, unlike most antioxidants, is both water- and fat-soluble, making it active in virtually every cell in the body. In addition to neutralizing harmful free radicals, lipoic acid regenerates and increases levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and glutathione.
But that’s not all. Lipoic acid is also a mitochondrial powerhouse. It not only protects your energy-producing factories from free radical damage, it also helps “prep” the fuel burned in the mitochondria and increases the amount of energy generated. Furthermore, 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 diabetes, liver damage, and a host of other diseases—including cancer.
DNA damage is considered to be the first step in the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. It also modifies gene expression and appears to put the brakes on cells that are genetically programmed to become cancerous. In addition, it promotes apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in some cancerous cells. This makes lipoic acid an excellent supplement for anyone looking to sidestep cancer.
But treating cancer? Burton Berkson, MD, published a case history in the March 2006 issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies. It was about a patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer, a routinely fatal disease with an average survival time of three to six months after diagnosis.
According to the journal article, “The patient was told by a reputable university oncology center in October 2002 that there was little hope for his survival. Today, January 2006, however, he is back at work, free from symptoms, and without appreciable progression of his malignancy.” His treatment included IV lipoic acid and low-dose naltrexone, a drug used in much larger doses to help with heroin withdrawal.
Dr. Berkson is an old friend, and I spoke to him about this case. He reported that the patient is alive, well, and living a full and productive life.
- The suggested dose of lipoic acid for prevention is 400-600 mg per day. For the treatment of diabetes or liver disease, 800-1,600 mg is recommended, taken in divided doses half an hour to an hour before eating for optimal absorption.
- For information on receiving IV alpha lipoic acid at Whitaker Wellness, call (866) 944-8253.
- Berkson BM, et al. The long-term survival of a patient with pancreatic cancer with metastases to the liver after treatment with the intravenous alpha-lipoic acid/low-dose naltrexone protocol. Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Mar;5(1):83-9.
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