This Antioxidant Is a Blood Sugar Champ
You’ve probably read about free radicals many times. How they attack your cells, causing damage – and even creating more free radicals that do more damage. That’s one reason I’m such a big fan of antioxidants. These powerful nutrients neutralize free radicals and help you look and feel healthier.
But there’s one antioxidant that stands head and shoulders above the rest. This amazing nutrient has several “talents” that make it a real health standout:
- It’s the only antioxidant that’s soluble in both water and oil (fat). So – unlike other antioxidants – it can go to work anywhere your body, whenever you need the support.
- It can recharge vitamin C and vitamin E. That means it extends the life of these two important antioxidant vitamins. And that gives you extra protection.
- Even in small amounts, it promotes eye health. Some studies suggest it may even support improved vision.1
So what is this terrific antioxidant? It’s alpha-lipoic acid, or ALA for short.
As good as it is, ALA has another talent that makes it especially good if you have blood sugar problems.
When your body doesn’t control blood sugar well, all sorts of trouble can develop. It can affect your nerves, your heart and circulation, and even your eyes. So any nutrient that supports healthier blood sugar levels is a good one to have in your diet.
And that’s exactly what ALA does. It supports your body’s ability to process glucose – blood sugar – normally.2 but it also helps support your body’s ability to deal with the side effects of blood sugar trouble.
For example, high blood sugar can lead to nerve damage. Among other things, nerves may send false signals of pain or lose sensitivity. But ALA appears to support more normal nerve activity. In fact, one study found ALA was effective in 99% of cases.3
Other studies show ALA supports better circulation in people with blood sugar problems.4 one way it seems to work is by promoting greater eNOS activity.5 eNOS is an enzyme that helps your body make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide (NO) relaxes your blood vessels, which promotes better circulation. And here’s a bonus: NO has been linked to improved sexual performance, too.
High blood sugar can increase your risk of heart trouble. But ALA has you covered there, too – three ways. It supports healthy levels of blood lipids (fats)… better circulation… and stronger antioxidant defenses.6
There’s even evidence that ALA supports your body’s defenses against vision problems related to high blood sugar.6 it’s sort of an all-in-one nutrient for blood sugar troubles in general.
Many foods contain ALA. Meats – especially organ meats such as liver – are fairly high in ALA. Broccoli and spinach also contain good amounts. But the ALA found in foods is bound to a protein, so it’s not fully bio-available. Taking ALA with food also appears to reduce its bioavailability.
Fortunately, ALA is widely available in supplement form. And this form isn’t bonded to a protein… so if you take it between meals, you should be able to get the full benefit of this amazing antioxidant.
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 Filina AA, et al. Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma. Vestn Oftalmol. 1995 Oct-Dec;111(4):6-8.
2 Poh ZX and Goh KP. A current update on the use of alpha lipoic acid in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2009 Dec;9(4):392-8.
3 Bureković A, et al. The role of alpha-lipoic acid in diabetic polyneuropathy treatment. Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2008 Nov;8(4):341-5.
4 Xiang GD, et al. The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid improves endothelial dysfunction induced by acute hyperglycaemia during OGTT in impaired glucose tolerance. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2008 May;68(5):716-23. Epub 2007 Dec 7.
5 Shay KP, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Oct;1790(10):1149-60. Epub 2009 Aug 4.
6 Wollin SD and Jones PJ. Alpha-lipoic acid and cardiovascular disease. J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3327-30.