Alpha Lipoic Acid and Diabetes

Diabetes is a devastating disease that results when the body is unable to metabolize glucose due to poor insulin function. It currently affects over 246 million people in the world and is the 4th leading cause of death.

Diabetes is caused when insulin becomes ineffective or resistant due to continually high levels of glucose in the blood. Currently it is treated by controlling sugar intake in the diet and by being prescribed injections of insulin. However, studies over the last eight years indicate that the natural supplement, alpha lipoic acid, has been shown to help sufferers control their blood sugar levels more effectively.

Researchers found that this naturally occurring antioxidant in its biologically active ‘R’ form has the ability to correct insulin resistance and can rejuvenate energy production in the mitochondria. It enhances the metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates and restores proper insulin function.

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant found naturally in every cell in the body. Its main job is to convert glucose into energy. Diabetes has been linked to a reduction in antioxidant defenses within the body, which leads to oxidative stress from floating free radicals. Antioxidants, such as alpha lipoic acid, help to counter those free radicals which are naturally produced as the body breathes, digests and processes food.

How Alpha Lipoic Acid Works
Alpha lipoic acid helps the body use glucose, which is why it has been found to improve blood sugar levels, making it very beneficial to diabetes sufferers. Allowing blood sugar levels to rise unchecked due to insulin resistance can eventually lead to nerve damage from toxins, called peripheral neuropathy. This may manifest itself as a loss of sensation, pain, burning, tingling, numbness and itching due to the nerve damage.

Researchers found that taking 100mg r-alpha lipoic acid per day influenced cellular antioxidant enzymes and nutrients. It restored the natural balance of these protective structures so that they could perform properly, restoring proper gene signaling and improving levels of insulin and glucose metabolism. The research showed that alpha lipoic acid can effectively restore cellular antioxidant balance, reducing the risk of developing diabetes.

As well as being a powerful antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid improves circulation which is very helpful to potential diabetics as it provides blood to the tiny blood vessels that service the nerve tissue.

Currently alpha lipoic acid is being used in Germany to treat diabetes. However, those already taking medication to control blood sugar levels should consult their doctor before using alpha lipoic acid to avoid any possible drug interactions.


Sources:
http://www.naturalnews.com/033334_carnitine_diabetes.html
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/alphalipoicacid/a/alphalipoicacid.htm

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