Is all ALA the same?
Actually, no. There are two forms of alpha lipoic acid.
is the form found naturally occurring within the body and is the biologically
active form of alpha lipoic acid.
S-ALA is the unnatural, synthetic byproduct
created during the production of alpha lipoic acid.
Nobody sells S-ALA
by itself as it isn't very effective, but you will get S-ALA anytime you purchase
ALA. The ALA you buy from nutrition stores is in reality a 50/50 mixture of S-ALA
& R-ALA. (though they won't tell you that ) Most companies don't go through the
complicated and expensive process required to purify and remove the synthetic
S-ALA from their products. Be aware that unless the bottle specifically states
100% R-ALA, you are only getting a 50/50 blend.
It is important for you
to know that R-ALA has been shown time amd time again to be up to 12 times as effective
as S-ALA. There have been many studies, doctors and researchers who have stated
how much more effective R-ALA is.
The benefits of R-Lipoic Acid
R-Lipoic acid is the only form of lipoic acid that your body synthesizes
and can safely metabolize. (7)
R-Lipoic acid is the only form of lipoic
acid that is proven to significantly reduce inflammation, an underlying cause
of aging. (5)
R-Lipoic acid is the only form of lipoic acid that is
proven to significantly increase your cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant activity
for preventing mitochondrial decay. This effectively attenuates the reported increase
in oxidative stress with aging. (8)
R-Lipoic acid is the only form
of lipoic acid that is proven to improve memory, reduce brain damage, reverse
cognitive dysfunction, and protect the brain from neurodegeneration associated
with aging. (8,9,22)
R-Lipoic acid is the only form of lipoic acid
that is been proven to significantly increase insulin sensitivity, enhance glucose
transport, increase metabolic rate and reduce the gain in body fat from aging.
R-Lipoic acid is the only form of lipoic acid that is proven
to protect body fats against oxidative damage, chelate harmful metals and reverse
stress damage in your heart. (12,13)
R-Lipoic acid is the only form
of Lipoic that is proven to significantly increase or maintain levels of other
antioxidants including Coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione. (14,15)
R-Lipoic acid is the only form of Lipoic acid that is proven to expand
total life span. (17)
The problems of S-lipoic acid
S-Lipoic acid produces different biological actions than R-Lipoic acid that
may be undesirable. (16-18)
S-Lipoic acid produces limited beneficial
effects since it cannot bind with key enzymes. (19)
S-Lipoic acid is
less effective than R-lipoic acid as an antioxidant. (20)
At high concentrations,
S-Lipoic acid inhibits mitochondria metabolism and the antioxidant activity of
R-lipoic acid (21)
S-Lipoic acid is metabolized in the outer cell membrane.
This may interfere with R-Lipoic acid's ability to penetrate the inner mitochondrial
membrane and energy production. (22)
R-Lipoic acid costs slightly more
per unit than alpha-Lipoic acid. But it may be 10 times stronger than regular
alpha-Lipoic acid at reducing inflammation, a primary cause of aging. And it is
free of the problems from the S-form.
This is a simple explanation of
why R-ALA is much more effective than ALA. If you would like to read a 20 page
e-book with more details, click here.
1. Packer L, Witt EH, Tritschler HJ. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant.
Free Rad Biol Med 1995;19:227-250
2. Ou P, Tritschler HJ, Wolff SP. Thioctic
(lipoic) acid: a therapeutic metal-chelating antioxidant? Biochem Pharmacol 1995;
3. Hagen et al, "(R)-alpha-Lipoic acid-supplemented Old Rats Have
Improved Mitochondrial Function, Decreased Oxidative Damage, and Increased Metabolic
Rate," FASEB J 1999 13:411-418
4. Freisleben HJ, Neeb A, Lehr F, Ackermann
H. Influence of selegiline and lipoic acid on the life expectancy of immunosuppressed
mice. Arzneimittelforschung 1997 Jun; 47(6): 776-80
5. Ulrich H, Weischer
CH, et al. Pharmaceutical composition containing R-.alpha.-lipoic acid or S-.alpha.-lipoic
acid as active ingredient. US Patent 5,728,735, 1998.
6. Hagen et al, op.
7. Suh JH, et al, Oxidative stress in the aging rat heart is reversed
by dietary supplementation with (R)-(alpha)-lipoic acid. FASEB J 2001 Mar; 15(3):
8. Liu J, Head E, Gharib AM, et al, Memory loss in old rats is associated
with brain mitochondrial decay and RNA/DNA oxidation: partial reversal by feeding
acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002
Feb 19; 99(4): 2356-61
9. Hager K, Marahrens A, Kenklies M, et al, Alpha-lipoic
acid as a new treatment option for Alzheimer type dementia. Arch Gerontology Geriatric
2001 Jun; 32(3): 275-282
10. Jacob S, Rues P, Hermann R. Oral administration
of RAC-alpha-lipoic acid modulates insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2
diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled pilot trial. Free Rad Biol Med 1999 Aug;27(3-4):309-14
11. Moines H, Trios O, Park YC, Chow KJ, Packer L R-alpha-Lipoic Acid Action
on Cell Redox Status, the Insulin Receptor, and Glucose Uptake in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes.
. Arch Biochem Biophys 2002 Jan 15; 397(2): 384-91.
12. Suh JH, Shigeno ET,
Morrow JD, Cox B, Rocha AE, Frei B, Hagen TM. Oxidative stress in the aging rat
heart is reversed by dietary supplementation with (R)-(alpha)-lipoic acid. FASEB
J 2001 Mar; 15(3): 700-6
13. Androne L, Gavan NA, Veresiu IA, Orasan R, In
vivo effect of lipoic acid on lipid peroxidation in patients with diabetic neuropathy.
In Vivo 2000 Mar-Apr; 14(2): 327-30
14. Suh JH, Shigeno ET, et al, Oxidative
stress in the aging rat heart is reversed by dietary supplementation with (R)-(alpha)-lipoic
acid. FASEB J 2001 Mar; 15(3): 700-615. Lykkesfeldt J, et al, Ames BN. Age-associated
decline in ascorbic acid concentration, recycling, and biosynthesis in rat hepatocytes--reversal
with (R)-alpha-lipoic acid supplementation. FASEB J 1998 Sep; 12(12): 1183-9
Streeper RS, Henriksen EJ, et al, Tritschler HJ. Differential effects of lipoic
acid stereoisomers on glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle.
Am J Physiol 1997 Jul; 273(1 Pt 1): E185-91
17. Freisleben HJ, Neeb A, Lehr
F, Ackermann H. Influence of selegiline and lipoic acid on the life expectancy
of immunosuppressed mice Arzneimittelforschung 1997 Jun; 47(6): 776-80
Haramaki N, Han D, Handelman GJ, Tritschler HJ, Packer L. Cytosolic and mitochondrial
systems for NADH- and NADPH-dependent reduction of alpha-lipoic acid Free Radic
Biol Med 1997; 22(3): 535-42
19. Maitra I, Serbinova E, et al. Stereospecific
effects of R-lipoic acid on buthionine sulfoximine-induced cataract formation
in newborn rats. Biochem Biophys Res commun 1996; 221:422-429.
RS, Henriksen EJ, et al, Differential effects of lipoic acid stereoisomers on
glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol 1997 Jul;
273(1 Pt 1): E185-91
21. M.S. Patel, et al, Stereospecific effects of lipoic
acids on mammalian pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
22. Packer, L; Tritschler,
H; Wessel K, Neuroprotection by the metabolic Antioxidant alpha Lipoic Acid. 1997
Free Rad Biol Med 22, Nos 1/2, 359-378
These statements have
not been evaluated by the U.S. FDA. This material is for educational purposes
only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Antioxidant Home: Alpha Lipoic