By: Amanda Miller MS, RN Clinical Integrative Nutrition Nurse Consultant
We all know that feeling... the shame of having to unbutton the top button of your jeans at the dinner table during the holiday season. There’s something about the warm, comfort food and being around family that can lead to overeating.
So first, I suggest you check out my article on Holiday Detox on how to try to offset some of the holiday food coma. But I also want to talk about a nutrient that can help with that process. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is quite possibly one of the most powerful antioxidants in our supplement Anti-Ox Restore.
ALA, unlike other antioxidants, is both fat-soluble and water-soluble. Allowing it to reach every cell and tissue of the body. But why does it matter? And why is this especially important when trying to decrease inflammation after a large meal?
ALA is found in both plant and animal foods and has the innate ability to scavenge free radicals, fight inflammation, and slow the aging process. It is the perfect antidote to a holiday-carb-binge-fest since it aids in naturally treating high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
As oxidation occurs in the body over time, both from normal cellular processes (such as eating) and from toxic exposure, cells can become damaged. Increasing the amount of damaged cells in the body can lead to an abnormal growth of cells or malignancy or can slow their efficiency in detoxification, neural signaling, metabolism, etc.
This cellular damage and oxidative stress ultimately leads to our main western culture killers such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. ALA, along with other antioxidants, can help to reverse this oxidative damage in the body.
ALA also works synergistically with other vitamins and minerals. It works to restore the functional properties of Vitamin C, E, and B vitamins (1). It can also aid the body in digesting and utilizing carbohydrates as well as binding to certain amino acids to be used for different enzymatic processes (2).
There are some studies even suggesting ALA is a “heavy metal chelator” binding to heavy metals in the body including mercury, iron, lead that make their way into the bloodstream and wreak havoc on every organ system (3).
Because it fights free radicals in every cell of the body, ALA can battle damage to blood vessels, brain cells, and other organs such as the heart and liver - offering aid in numerous chronic conditions from Alzheimer’s to Diabetes.
Here are some ways ALA can help you:
1. Fights insulin resistance and Diabetes along with unfortunate complications such as peripheral neuropathy and kidney disease (4).
2. Preserves eye health (5).
3. Halts memory loss and cognitive decline (6).
4. May along with other weight loss strategies, help with weight loss (7).
5. May protect skin from fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage (8).
Where to get it:
The concentration of ALA in different foods can vary widely depending on the quality of the food including where it is grown, the nature of the soil, how fresh it is, and how it is prepared. Therefore, eating a wide variety of a whole-foods, organic & plant based diet can usually ensure you are getting enough as a generally healthy adult.
Highest Sources include:
● Pasture Raised Organ Meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc).
● Brussel Sprouts
The dosage can vary depending on the specific condition but our Anti-Ox restore is a great recommendation for generally healthy adults.
Higher dosage ranges (600mg+) should be reserved for those under medical supervision in treating a specific condition.
Consult your Akasha practitioner before taking ALA if you have thiamine deficiency (such as from liver disease), are being treated for diabetes, if you have a thyroid disorder, or if you are currently taking or recovering from chemotherapy medications.