Alpha Lipoic Acid (Bioactive, Chirally-Correct Alpha Lipoic Acid)
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It is known as a “universal” antioxidant because it is both lipid (fat) and water soluble. It is particularly useful in the skin and body because it can regenerate other antioxidants that have already taken on free radicals, especially vitamins c and e, to boost their effectiveness and durability. Alpha lipoic acid is also a critical cofactor in the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) cellular energy in the mitochondria, and has numerous effects on the regulation of lipids, metabolism of carbohydrates, gene transcription, and cell proliferation. The benefits of this compound are difficult to overstate.
It is important to note that the only naturally occurring, and consequently most effective, forms of alpha lipoic acid are the R-lipoic acid and R-dihydrolipoic acid forms. These are the types naturally found in plants, animals, and the human body and due to their chirally correct nature (being in the R isomer form) are responsible for the specific beneficial effects of alpha lipoic acid. It is important that these forms be distinguished from S-lipoic acid, which is not found in nature and is merely a by-product of chemical synthesis when companies artificially create less expensive alpha lipoic acid products. Most commercial products that are called “alpha lipoic acid” are actually a 50/50 mixture of S-lipoic acid and R-lipoic acid (this combination is known as “racemic alpha lipoic acid”). It’s important that the label specifically states that the R-lipoic acid form is used, as it is the only type that functions as a cofactor for mitochondrial enzymes and is also ten times more effective than racemic alpha lipoic acid as an antioxidant.