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Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a fatty acid that contains sulfur and is essential for the production of energy. What makes it different from other antioxidants is it functions in both water and fat which increases it’s range of action.
ALA is found in meat, liver, yeast, spinach and broccoli. The body naturally manufactures ALA and healthy people don’t usually need more unless they want to obtain therapeutic benefits then supplements are necessary.
In therapeutic doses it is helpful in treating complications associated with diabetes especially when combined with vitamin E. In Germany and Russia, ALA is used to treat symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy- a complication of diabetes where nerves are damaged. It helps reduces the pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness of this condition. Studies also show that given intravenously it may reduce insulin resistance in people with diabetes.
ALA may prevent and treat other conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease. In a cream it also protects skin from sun damage.
ALA is generally considered safe with very few side effects, even when taken in high doses. If you have diabetes and take diabetes medication it may decrease your blood sugar levels even further than the drugs do so your doctor may need to adjust the dosage of your diabetic medications.