Alpha Lipoic Acid for Reducing Inflammation
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
The body uses its internal antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation and taking control of it. This is the reason why alpha lipoic acid supplements are often recommended to increase the body’s internal antioxidant levels so the body can keep inflammation in check and reduce risks of diseases more efficiently.
Although inflammation plays an essential in the body’s internal process of healing from within, prolonged and excessive inflammation has been linked to a wide range of severe health complications such as heart disease, brain and nerve conditions, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer, just to name a few. But does alpha lipoic acid really help? Keep reading to learn more.
In this article, we’ll discuss the potential benefits of alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation and its associated conditions according to scientific studies. But before we get into how alpha lipoic acid can help with inflammation, it’s worth knowing the basics of inflammation a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is inflammation?
- Types of inflammation
- Symptoms and Complications of inflammation
- What is alpha lipoic acid?
- Benefits of alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation
- How to use alpha lipoic acid supplements
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body's protective response of sorts that is triggered by injury or invading outside pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. It encourages the immune system, the body’s internal defense mechanism, to promote tissue repair and healing or to kill pathogens and resist infection in the body from within.
Although regulable inflammation is vital for keeping the body stay sustained in various stressful conditions, prolonged and excessive inflammation can lead to several unpleasant health consequences, and has been found linked to a wide range of chronic illnesses.
Types of inflammation
There are primarily two major types of inflammation - acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation - acute inflammation is a short-term inflammation that generally lasts from a few hours to a few days. It occurred quite abruptly due to tissue injury or infection from harmful pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Chronic inflammation - chronic inflammation is a long-term inflammation that may last from several months to years. A large number of factors can be involved in chronic inflammation including an overactive immune system, chronic diseases, or any type of foreign body or pathogen that the body cannot kill or eliminate and remain in the system for a long time and slowly develop a chronic inflammation over time.
Symptoms and complications of inflammation
Inflammation might be silent in some cases, meaning without symptoms. Signs and symptoms may also differ from person to person depending on causative factors and involved disease conditions.
However, in acute inflammation, there are some common symptoms, such as:
- Loss of function
In addition, some people may also have a fever associated with a feeling of unwell and fatigue. Though symptoms of chronic inflammations largely depend on the associated disease, pain and fatigue are usually found common.
Chronic inflammations either may have links or may lead to various diseases: including, but aren’t limited to:
- Cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke
- Autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney problems
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
What is alpha lipoic acid?
Alpha lipoic acid or otherwise commonly referred to as lipoic acid or thioctic acid is a sulfur-containing organic compound naturally produced in plants and animals, including humans, from fatty acids and cysteine. Its primary role is to assist enzymatic reactions as a cofactor in cellular respiration in which energy is produced in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells.
Another important role of alpha lipoic acid is that it is a unique antioxidant that is both water-soluble as well as fat-soluble, making it highly effective to scavenge free radicals in almost all cells and tissues throughout the body. Free radicals are harmful particles that contain unpaired oxygen molecules, making them highly unstable and reactive, that cause large chain reactions, leading to oxidative stress, the major cause of cell and tissue damage in the body.
Benefits of alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation
A decent amount of studies, including lab research and human trials, suggest that alpha lipoic acid has the capacity to lower inflammation and its associated symptoms. The benefits of alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation are mainly attributed to its unparalleled antioxidant properties.
Alpha lipoic acid has an incredible ability to lower the concentrations of several inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-ɑ), and interleukin-6 (IL-6), as well as others. These actions of alpha lipoic acid have been found highly useful in lowering the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
In a recent 2020 clinical trial, researchers have shown that the antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid have significant anti-inflammatory potential that can reduce several inflammatory markers and promote cardiovascular health in patients with type-2 diabetes who have a prior incidence of myocardial infarction.
How to use alpha lipoic acid supplements
Dosages of alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation depend on personal health conditions and associated symptoms. Therefore, it’s always important to consider asking a qualified natural medicine professional to know what dosage would be the best for your specific health needs. However, in general, oral alpha lipoic acid supplements are most often recommended in a dose range of 300 mg to 600 mg per day.
Precautions and side effects
Alpha lipoic acid is usually safe to consume as recommended. Side effects are typically rare and uncommon, including headache, rash, and gastrointestinal upset. People on medications, pregnant women, or breastfeeding women should take alpha lipoic acid only under direct medical supervision.
Alpha lipoic acid is a unique antioxidant that can reduce several inflammatory markers and lower the risk of serious diseases including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. It’s usually safe and tolerable. But, it’s always best to ask a qualified natural medicine professional prior to starting alpha lipoic acid supplements, especially if you’re on medications.
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