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Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) was discovered in the 1950’s and recognized as an antioxidant in the 1980’s. It plays an essential role helping the body produce energy. It is necessary for aerobic life. It only acts like an antioxidant when there is an excess of it in its free state in our cells. Since there is naturally little free circulating ALA in the body, one needs to supplement or have it injected into the body in order to have enough of it available for its protective, antioxidative effects.
ALA boosts the activity of the entire antioxidant network so that when you take it, you’re also increasing your body’s level of vitamin E, vitamin C, CoQ10 and glutathione. This helps deactivate a wide array of cell-damaging free radicals.
ALA and Cancer
ALA has the ability to modify and regulate genetic expression. This is significant for cancer patients since ALA can turn off genes that spur the development of, or acceleration of, cancer without any signs of toxicity. For example, research has shown that mice with malignant tumors given ALA had their life spans extended by 25%.
Finally, ALA does not interfere with chemotherapy. As a matter of fact, German scientists found that when they combined ALA with two chemotherapy agents (cyclophosphamide and Vincristine) in mice, they observed lower toxic side effects, increased survival and no detrimental effect on the chemotherapy’s potency. ALA also seemed to protect certain patients being treated with Cisplatin from permanent hearing loss or deafness, a significant side effect of this therapeutic agent.