Basic Facts about Alpha Lipoic Acid


Most athletes and bodybuilders would have heard of alpha lipoic acid at one point in their careers. It is one of their most important weapons in the quest for better musculature, greater strength and higher energy levels.  
 
Description  
 
Alpha lipoic acid, which is also known by other names like ALA and thioctic acid, is one of the human body’s fatty acids and hence found in every cell. And just like other fatty acids, it is a key source of energy for the body to function at its normal levels mainly through the conversion of glucose.  
 
It must be noted that thioctic acid is an antioxidant, which means that it can neutralize free radicals. Unlike most antioxidants like vitamins E and C, however, it is water and fat-soluble, hence, more powerful.  
 
Food sources for ALA are spinach, peas, broccoli, Brewer’s yeast and meat albeit in small amounts. For concentrated quantities, capsule supplements can be purchased online and in health food stores.  
 
Benefits  
 
Alpha lipoic acid is known as the universal antioxidant because of its ability to boost the benefits of common antioxidants although it works just as well on its own. It has been used in the relief of peripheral neuropathy symptoms, boost brain function, delay the effects of ageing and regulate blood sugar, to name a few.  
 
For athletes and bodybuilders, ALA is beneficial in its powerful ability to fight the free radicals produced during intense physical activity (i.e., cardio exercises and weight training) that leads to extreme oxidative damage. Proper dosage of ALA contributes to better performance gained through increased energy levels as well as better muscularity via faster transport of nutrients to the body.  
 
Process 
 
Basically, alpha lipoic acid facilitates nutrient and energy collection from the foods we eat. The mitochondria, which are the body’s energy factories, need ALA to function at normal levels mainly by activating energy-producing enzymes and then breaking them down from amino acids.  
 
As previously mentioned, ALA becomes stronger when it works with other antioxidants. This is because it can mimic the actions of these antioxidants subsequently replenishing and regenerating them, which then results in improved antioxidative actions. In essence, the other antioxidants neutralize more free radicals while ALA continues to replenish their numbers and flush out the offending free radicals itself.  
 
Dosage 
 

Supplementation with ALA is unnecessary for normal activities since the body can manufacture it in sufficient quantities. However, it may be necessary for athletes and bodybuilders.  
 
The suggested dose for alpha lipoic acid supplementation is between 50mg to 400mg daily although some studies have shown that 200mg is sufficient in most instances. Athletes and bodybuilders can take higher doses due to their increased levels of activity but care must be taken to avoid abuse. A consultation with a licensed medical practitioner is still highly advised before ALA administration.  
 
Also, it is suggested that the daily dosage be broken up in smaller doses. For optimal absorption, take ALA supplements on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before meals.  
 
Side Effects  
 
The side effects of ALA are few and minor, which include headaches, tingling sensations, skin rashes, and muscle cramps. When these occur, it is best to secure the advice of a health professional before complications arise. Also, individuals taking thyroid and diabetes medications must consult with their doctors since ALA can significantly alter thyroid hormone and blood sugar levels.  

ALA

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Basic Facts about Alpha Lipoic Acid

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