Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a Nootropic supplement thought to have anti-aging brain effects and promoted as a powerful anti-oxidant that may also increase learning capacity and memory.
What Is Alpha-Lipoic Acid?
Alpha-Lipoic Acid, also called ALA supplements, are thought to enhance brain performance, improve mental energy and serve as a powerful anti-oxidant.
ALA, is a fatty acid naturally made in the body. It is found in every cell and turns glucose (blood sugar) into energy. It is needed by the body to turn food (carbohydrates) into energy and provide energy to the organs.
ALA can be found in foods including yeast, liver, broccoli and potatoes however these foods do not seem to substantially increase free ALA in the body.
An important role of Alpha Lipoic Acid supplementation, is that it is thought to be a powerful anti-oxidant that works to prevent cells from being damaged by waste in the body (free radicals) once food turns into energy.
This is a crucial process for disease prevention and the promotion of healthy longevity. It is a significant factor in fighting infections and preventing damage to the organs and tissues from oxidative stress.
For brain health, it is supplement commonly taken to potentially slow down the process of an aging brain caused by natural free radical damage as we get older. It is able to penetrate the brain easily and is believed to improve mental energy capacity and enhance cognitive performance.
Research is still ongoing whether Alpha Lipoic Acid can restore neuronal cells. This may be beneficial in reversing damage in the brain caused by alcoholism, thyroid issues and injury.
It is also thought that taking ALA prior to having conditions, might reduce the potential risk of getting them. Alpha Lipoic Acid is considered to be one of the best supplements for life extension.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid Anti-Oxidant Effects
Alpha-Lipoic Acids’ main function involves energy metabolism and is also considered a powerful and potent anti-oxidant that may increase enzymes that attack free radicals.
Free radicals are formed when oxygen connects to certain molecules which than starts a chain reaction. Much damage can occur if they connect to the cellular membrane or to DNA. This may cause cellular, organ and tissue damage and is known to be one of the main pathways for aging and many diseases including cancer.
An anti-oxidant may terminate this chain reaction and prevent these molecules from being damaged before this happens. The main vitamins that kill free radicals are Vitamin C, E and beta carotene which the body cannot produce on its own and has to come from food or supplementation.
ALA is found in the body but it is thought that the body uses up ALA resources quickly. Alpha Lipoic Acid is even thought to restore vitamin C, E, CoQ10 and glutathione that is already in the body and make them more effective at eliminating toxins and poisons.
ALA’s “job” in the body is to turn glucose (sugar) into energy and to get rid of waste when food turns into energy. It is during this process, that the body creates free radicals.
By supplementing with ALA, this may rectify the imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to cleanse them. This a huge factor associated with Diabetes.
Also, Alpha-Lipoic Acid supplements may still act as an anti-oxidant even if there is already an excess of ALA production in the body. Most antioxidants only work throughout the body in fatty tissue or in water. ALA uniquely works throughout the body in both.
Other Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid
As we age, production of ALA decreases which is brought on by oxidative damage. Although more research needs to be done, this supplement may potentially slow down the aging process of the brain, increase fluidity of the neurons and reduce toxins.
Aging of the body is noticeable to us but the brain ages as well and it is common that we don’t notice or know that we may be able to potentially prevent damage that may occur over time. Over usage of alcohol, injury, thyroid issues and poor diet are just some of the factors.
ALA is believed to protect the brain from damage and may even reverse it, however evidence strongly suggests that it is more effective as a preventative, taken before damage occurs than it is after.
This supplement is able to enter the central nervous system and reach the brain. It is thought to boost production of Acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for cognition and the uptake of glucose. This is tied to memory function, thinking and learning capacity regardless of age. Ach is also a chemical the nervous system releases to activate muscles.
ALA is thought to be used as a post-workout supplement. It is believed to reduce cramping and soreness in muscles by repairing muscle damage quickly.
Finally, research suggests that Alpha lipoic Acid may reduce nerve pain in people suffering from Diabetes. Diabetes is associated with high risk from oxidative stress. It is approved in Europe for treatment of diabetic nerve pain but is only sold in the US as a supplement.
Why Take Alpha Lipoic Acid? It promotes to;
- Protect your brain cells from damage
- Neutralize free radicals
- Speed up your brain cognition
- Improve communication in the neuronal cells
Side Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-Lipoic is considered to be a generally safe supplement and well tolerated. Side effects are rare but they include nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and diarrhea. Clear potential side effects and toxicity with long-term use of ALA have not been reported thus far.
There are not enough studies to ensure the safety of this supplement on pregnant or nursing women or children. It is best to stay on the safe side and avoid this supplement.
Also, if you are at risk or have a thiamine deficiency of Vitamin B1 (can come from excessive alcohol consumption) and taking ALA it is important to take a thiamine supplement in combination with it.
ALA can lower blood sugar, if you have Diabetes it is recommended to monitor levels when taking this supplement. This supplement may interact with thyroid, diabetes or cancer medications. Please consult your doctor first before taking it.
When starting on any new Nootropic supplement, it is recommended to always take the lowest dose. This will help you determine how the Nootropic supplement will effect and/or benefit you and what dosage will work best for you.
Taking ALA with a meal decreases its bio-availability, it may be best to take it on an empty stomach.
Since this supplement is already a naturally produced chemical found in the body, you don’t need large doses to obtain the potential health benefits.
The general accepted dosage ranges between 200 mg-600 mg a day depending on what you are taking for. If you are taking ALA as an antioxidant, the dosage should be between 50 mg-100 mg and is a good starting point.
ALA is a versatile supplement that can be combined with most other Nootropics. Users find that taking Alpha-Lipoic Acid along with a Choline supplements or stronger Nootropics such as Racetams may potentially provide additional Nootropic effects and benefits.
These are just guidelines, please consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
Alpha Lipoic Acid Review
Alpha Lipoic Acid is believed to be one of the most versatile, potent and long acting anti-oxidants. Protecting your brain from toxins that can lead to diseases, improving the communications between the neurons and possibly speeding up cognition, it has quite a few important potential benefits for brain health.
Naturally, as we age, we especially notice the differences in our body. The brain, which is our control center, naturally ages as well. This, may effect the speed of cognition even though we may not feel the effects since they are not physically apparent. ALA may act to prevent memory loss, the decline of cognitive functioning and neuron damage that may occur with an aging brain.
With minimal risk of side effects, you may want to consider taking Alpha Lipoic Acid to slow down the effects of aging, improve general health and even as a post workout supplement.
ALA may also collaborate well in combination with other Nootropics, especially with Choline or Racetams supplements.