What Is Lipoic Acid?
Lipoic acid, classified as an anti-oxidant, is an enormously important and under-appreciated nutrient. Our bodies cannot be maximally efficient in producing energy from carbohydrates or fats without the help of lipoic acid. It also plays a direct role in protecting our cells from oxygen damage. In addition, our supplies of several different antioxidants, including vitamins E and C, cannot be successfully maintained in the absence of lipoic acid.
Some nutrients, like vitamin E, tend to be associated with fat-based areas of the cell, and others, like vitamin C, are found primarily in water-based areas. Because lipoic acid can function equally well in both a water-based or fat-based environment, it can support the activity of both types of vitamins.
- Energy Production
- Prevention of Cell Damage
- Maintaining Supplies of Other Antioxidants
Signs of Deficiency:
- Weakened immune function
- Increased susceptibility to colds and other infections
- Memory problems
- Decreased muscle mass
Factors That May Contribute To A Deficiency:
- Vegetarian diet, especially those lacking dark green leafy vegetables
- Low Protein Intake, especially the sulphur containing amino acids
- Stomach disorders
Health Conditions That May Be Prevented or Improved With Lipoic Acid:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Conditions involving chronic muscle fatigue
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Insulin resistance
- Liver diseases (including alcoholic liver disease)
- Lung cancer
- Neurodegenerative diseases of childhood, particularly Leigh’s disease
- Radiation injury
Some Food Sources of Lipoic Acid:
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Tops
Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing:
At present, there are no studies showing the impact of cooking, storage, or processing on levels of lipoic acid in foods.
Toxicity symptoms from excessive intake of lipoic acid have not been adequately studied. However, in clinical practice, this nutrient has been given in supplemental form for over 30 years and no reports of toxicity have been reported in the literature in this regard.
Recommended Daily Allowances:
There are currently no public health recommendations for lipoic acid.