Imagine a substance so powerful that it swiftly moves through your body, soothing inflammation, repairing cell damage and pumping up your immune system, maybe even reversing the hands of time.
Let me introduce you to alpha lipoic acid (ALA), which researchers at the University of California-Berkeley have discovered its antioxidant power is 400 times greater than vitamins C and E!
Fountain of Youth, Really?
You may have already heard of ALA as an essential energy-producing component of all cells, a trait that helps it keep skin smooth and wrinkle free. Indeed, it definitely does reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth and nose by as much as 50% when used as a cream or supplement.
But ALA has even more impressive powers: It can help protect you from heart attacks and strokes, keep blood sugars under control, ease depression, improve memory and even speed up your metabolism.
German researchers found that taking ALA for just 9 days reduced heart-damaging blood triglycerides by an impressive 45%.
And when Canadian scientists fed lab animals a super high sugar diet, they found blood pressure and blood sugar remained normal, while blood pressures of animals that did not get ALA rose 29% and insulin resistance, a symptom of Type 2 diabetes, skyrocketed by 408%!
More German research suggests that ALA increases your liver’s ability to process thyroid hormones by 56%, boosting metabolism and calorie-burning capabilities.
Indian research also suggests ALA increases production of mood-regulating hormones dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, helping relieve depression. And impressive new research from the VA Medical Center in St. Louis shows that ALA significantly increases memory in lab animals.
Other studies show that lab animals given ALA were young again physically, their mental function improved — cutting half the time it required them to do a mental function task – close to the mental function of much younger animals.
What’s more, British research shows ALA increases your body’s production of antioxidants by 70%, staving off the diseases of aging and maybe even turning back the hands of time.
What’s causing these widespread effects throughout the human body?
Lipoic acid can repair cells damaged by the aging process and make them young again.
The key is in lipoic acid’s ability to rejuvenate mitochondria, tiny structures in each cell that act as furnaces, converting food into energy.
All of us need ALA every day to protect us against some of the worst diseases of aging. Food sources of ALA include meat, especially organ meats, and yeast, especially brewer’s yeast.
For general preventive measures, experts recommend taking a supplement containing 100 mg. of ALA daily. If you’re battling diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, or memory loss, the dosage can be increased to as much as 600 mg. daily.
The following information originally appears on KathleenBarnes.com in June of 2009.
Turn Back Your Body’s Clock
Imagine having all the energy you need to get through your busiest day – and then some. Imagine slipping into a form-fitting dress for a party and not having to worry about lumps and bulges. Imagine waking up in the morning feeling refreshed, alert, pain-free and happy to greet a new day and actually seeing a younger, brighter face in the mirror.
If it’s been years or even decades since you felt or looked that way, you’re not alone. But now animal studies presented to the National Academy of Sciences suggest a supplement combination can bring it all back, giving you the skin, the brain metabolism and the energy you haven’t enjoyed since your youth.
Speed weight loss and more
The supplements are acetyl l-carnitine (also known as Alcar) and alpha lipoic acid or ALA. They’re already well-known in the nutritional health community and they’ve been the subject of extensive human research that shows Alcar speeds weight loss and boosts the body’s ability to burn fat for energy and ALA is one of the most potent anti-oxidants and disease-fighters ever discovered.
But put them together, experts say, and they may literally turn back the hands of time by rejuvenating the mitochondria, the tiny “furnaces” inside of every cell in your body. Mitochondria provides 99% of the energy that keeps us alive and healthy, but over time, the little furnaces get damaged and burn fuel less efficiently, releasing free radicals, making us more likely to show signs of aging, disease and deterioration.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley tried out the Fountain of Youth combo on aging rats: “With the two supplements together, these old rats got up and did the Macarena,” says UC cell biologist Bruce Ames, Ph.D., one of the nation’s most eminent scientists and chief researcher on the ALA/Alcar combo. “The brain looks better, they are full of energy. Everything we looked at looks like a young animal.”
Dr. Ames and his colleagues are in the early stages of human studies on the combo, but they say the signs are good that what works in animals also works on humans.
Try ALA and carnitine to:
Keep you going and going and going:
Dr. Ames’ conducted one small human study that showed half the older men who took the combo for just five weeks reported feeling better, with more vigor and a greater felling of well-being. His animal research shows that mammals lose approximately half of their mitochondrial function as they age, but taking the miracle combo for just a month boosted the mitochondrial activity by about 50%, increasing the distance they were able to walk and their speed of movement dramatically. He also found that old rats only moved about one-third as often as young ones, not because of pain or inability to move, but simply because their metabolisms had slowed down.
Again, the miracle combo to the rescue: In just a month, the animals doubled their activity levels. What’s happening, Dr. Ames theorizes, is a dramatic reduction in the mitochondria’s ability to produce free radicals, which cause the aging process and a host of age-related diseases including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.
While Dr. Ames doesn’t claim to have discovered the Fountain of Youth, it may be the Fountain of Middle Age, he laughs. His animal studies were “the equivalent of making a 75- to 80-year-old person look and act middle-aged,” he says.
Sharpen your memory
Alcar has been proven to promote overall brain wellness and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease because of its powerhouse effects on the mitochondria. Now Dr. Ames’ animal research proves the miracle combo reduced the time required to do simple memory task by more than half and put the young rats and old rats on an almost equal mental level. Human studies are needed, says Dr. Ames, but these results suggest the aging process can actually be reversed.
Erase the signs of aging
ALA alone is considered one of the most effective skin smoothers you can take, says dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, M.D., author of The Wrinkle Cure, who calls ALA “the universal antioxidant.”
Research shows it helps pump up collagen, prevents sun damage and actually repairs the skin damage you’ve already sustained. Dr. Perricone’s research shows that ALA creams erased puffiness in just a day or two, shrank enlarged pores in as little as two weeks, almost completely erased fine lines around the eyes within as little as four weeks and decreased the depth of deep facial lines in as little as eight weeks.
While no research has been conducted on the effects of the ALA/Alcar combo on skin, researchers say each of the ingredients enhances the other for a “synergistic effect, so it stands to reason that this would work at least as well, or even better than either one of the ingredients alone.”
Chinese research shows that l-carnitine promotes fat burning in a dramatic way: overweight young women who took one gram of carnitine a day for 12 weeks lost a whopping 11 pounds, compared those who simply ate a healthy diet and got moderate exercise!
“Carnitine is the forklift that takes fat to the fat incinerators in our cells called the mitochondria, where it’s magically transformed into energy,” says Boulder, CO carnitine researcher and nutritionist Robert Crayhon, M.S., author of The Carnitine Miracle. Alcar is an enhanced form (more biologically active) of l-carnitine, and, again, thought the combination has not yet been studied, researchers says the ALA helps burn glucose and Alcar helps burn fat, so the two together have extra impetus to help you lose weight.
What to take
You can buy ALA and Alcar separately at any health food store. Dr. Ames recommends going for a high quality supplement and taking 500 mg of Alcar and 200 mg of ALA twice a day.
Be sure you’re getting acetyl l-carnitine for the maximum benefits.