Lipoic Acid

Every day we run across research that further bolsters the logic of Primal living. However, once in a while we read something that just feels like a good pat on the back, the kind of news that makes us nod our heads smiling or do a little end zone dance if it’s Friday and we’re punchy enough….

The study in question (from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University) highlights lipoic acid, brave biochemical antioxidant, free radical scavenging extraordinaire. Lipoic acid, little known champion of many a physiological process, has once again proven its value and valor, and its recent performance is just one in a long chain of impressive, promising displays.

In this particular study (abstract link), lipoic acid supplementation decreased triglyceride readings in laboratory animals as much as a whopping 60 percent. Some weeks back Mark offered up a rundown of common blood markers. Triglycerides, he proposed, are too often given short shrift in the whole cholesterol analysis/hoopla. Triglycerides, a kind of blood fat, influence the concentration of very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs) in the blood – the real villains in the cholesterol story. They influence the body’s clotting process, and high levels are believed to increase risk for blood clots, stroke, and diabetes. Lipoic acid, the research showed, confronts triglycerides on two fronts: “After eating, lipoic acid supplementation increased the rate of disappearance of triglycerides in the bloodstream. And supplements also reduced the genetic expression of enzymes in the liver that synthesize triglycerides.”

As mentioned, this study is just one feather in lipoic acid’s hat. A 2007 study conducted by the same institute discovered the apparent anti-aging power of the compound. Tory Hagen of the Linus Pauling Institute explains, “In particular, it tends to restore levels of glutathione, a protective antioxidant and detoxification compound, to those of a young animal. It also acts as a strong anti-inflammatory agent, which is relevant to many degenerative diseases.” Lipoic acid gives cellular signaling a good tune-up and reduces mitochondrial breakdown, essentially turning back the clock on cellular functioning.

Want more? Lipoic acid mops up those devious free radicals and then comes back for more by “regenerating” other antioxidants. It inhibits arterial lesions and may even assist with weight loss due to apparent appetite suppressive effects. We ask: what’s not to love?

“Where can I get me some?” you ask, hands eagerly rubbing together. The body itself produces the compound. Primary dietary sources include green leafy veggies like spinach, pastured (grass-fed dairy) butter, the much maligned red meat, and organ meat. But LA is only available in small quantities in food sources. The real action, particularly when it comes to disease treatment, is found in supplementation.

We’ve mentioned before that – as much as we value the cornerstones of Primal living – modern existence sometimes calls for strategic addendums, so to speak. Primal eating and living can, without a doubt, make for good health. A bit of wise supplementation, we say, has the power to make a good thing great. Lipoic acid – our hats are off to you today.

Comments? Questions? Thanks for reading!

Another Pint Please… Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Dear Mark: Is Flax Bad?

Grok Didn’t Take Supplements So Why Should I?

Dear Mark: Better Nutrient Forms?

About the Author

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!