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What are the benefits of r-alpha lipoic acid (r-ALA)?

What are the benefits of r-alpha lipoic acid (r-ALA)?
There are numerous benefits and to outline them all in great detail would take several pages. First and foremost, r-ALA is an antioxidant and the only antioxidant that is both water-soluble and fat-soluble. This is important because this allows it access to all parts of the cell, allowing it to neutralize a greater variety of free radicals. Increased energy production comes at a cost& more free radical production. Fortunately, the body has a variety of antioxidant mechanisms that counteract and neutralize the negative effects of free radicals. Increased energy production, as well as longer-term high level energy production (such as what endurance athletes do), is one factor in the increase in the volume of free radicals that are produced, which can easily overwhelm the bodys built-in antioxidant defenses. This is the reason why taking a variety of antioxidants is recommended and perhaps none are stronger or provide a wider range of benefits than r-alpha lipoic acid. A portion of r-alpha lipoic acid is reduced to a substance called Alpha-dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA), which functions directly as an antioxidant, helping to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitrogen oxygen species (NOS) free radicals. In addition, r-ALA and its reduced form DHLA have the unique ability to regenerate used up or oxidized antioxidants such as vitamins C & E, CoQ10, and glutathione, extending their effectiveness in the body. A researcher at the Linus Pauling institute writes, When an antioxidant like vitamin C neutralizes a free radical, it becomes oxidized itself, and is not able to neutralize other free radicals until it has been reduced or regenerated. DHLA is a potent reducing agent, and has the capacity to regenerate a number of oxidized antioxidants to their active antioxidant forms. DHLA can be regenerated from alpha-lipoic acid through the activity of enzymes present in cells. So by taking r-alpha lipoic acid energy production is optimized (especially when combined with acetyl l-carnitine) and the enormous amounts of free radicals produced from mitochondrial energy production are effectively neutralized, via both r-alpha lipoic acid itself as well as through the other antioxidants that r-alpha lipoic acid regenerates. Also, r-alpha lipoic acid is intimately involved in the complex process of energy production. R-ALA is an essential cofactor for several multi-enzyme complexes (primarily the dehydrogenase complexes) that catalyze (increase the speed of a chemical reaction) critical energy metabolism reactions inside the mitochondria. R-alpha lipoic acid also binds with excess free metal ions such as iron and copper, both of which can trigger a number of reactions that generate free radicals. R-ALA chelates (binds) with these ions in a way that prevents them from generating free radicals. As mentioned earlier, R-alpha lipoic acid is involved in the regeneration of glutathione, which is arguably the most important antioxidant we have in our bodies. In addition to regenerating oxidized glutahione, R-alpha lipoic acid has been found to increase intercellular glutathione levels by increasing the uptake of cysteine by cells. R-alpha lipoic acid is also believed to be involved in maintaining proper glucose metabolism by improving insulin sensitivity.