Lipoic acid, a critical cofactor in three vital enzyme complexes that control energy metabolism, is synthesized in both plants and animals. It also can act as a powerful antioxidant in large amounts. Animal studies have shown supplemental lipoic acid, in conjunction with L-carnitine, decreases the biomarkers of mitochondrial decay — a critical factor in aging. Several human studies suggest that lipoic acid may increase insulin sensitivity, improve muscle strength and help prevent age-related memory loss.
R-lipoic acid can increase or maintain levels of other antioxidants, such as CoenzymeQ10, vitamins C and E and glutathione — all of which decline in production in the body as we age. R-lipoic acid also can promote energy production and chelates metals. It has been shown to prevent cataract formation and increase cellular glucose uptake.
Studies have indicated R-lipoic acid inhibits cross-linking — the chemical formation of bridges between body proteins or other large molecules believed to contribute to aging through such processes as hardening of the arteries, reduction of skin elasticity that cause wrinkles, and the stiffening of joints.
Lipoic acid occurs in two forms: R and S. Only the R form naturally occurs in the body. When lipoic acid is synthesized, however, it occurs as a 50-50 mixture of R and S forms. Studies suggest the R form is more potent, with greater bioavailability. Literature likens the difference to trying to use a left-handed glove on the right hand. Since the body uses and recognizes the R form, the S form is not utilized nearly as well by the body.
Purified R-lipoic acid is highly unstable, degrading with exposure to light, air and temperatures slightly above ambient, affecting both potency and bioavailability. BI Nutraceuticals answers these problems with its K-RALA, a potassium salt of a 30 percent concentration of naturally derived R-lipoic acid. The product is free of residual solvents and moisture, heat-stable and humidity-resistant, with a shelf life of at least three years.
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