Alpha Lipoic Acid: What You Need to Know

Alpha Lipoic Acid at Work in Your Body

­AL­A is a fatty acid both produced by the body and absorbed from the foods you eat. When it binds to certain proteins, ALA plays an important role in our metabolism -- namely the Krebs cycle, the body's main process for converting carbohydrates into energy. And unlike other antioxidants, ALA is both water and fat soluble, enabling it to work throughout the body. That's why it's found in varying concentrations in all your muscles and internal organs [source: Larsen].

Your body typically produces enough ALA for its role in creating energy. But when there's an excess in your system, ALA does not bind to protein and acts as an antioxidant. When in this "free" state, ALA deactivates a wide variety of free radicals, such as heavy metals, circulating through your body. It may also help regenerate other antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E to fight more free radicals [source: Berkeley Wellness Letter].

Because we produce less ALA as we age, some researchers believe that taking a supplement may help slow the aging process. ALA, combined with acetyl-L-carnitine, has been touted as an anti-aging and vitality supplement [source: National Toxicology Program]. To learn more about the benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid, read on.