Alpha lipoic acid helps volunteers lose fat

Overweight American test subjects dumped fat thanks to a dietary supplement containing alpha lipoic acid. This hopeful study result is in line with previous research.

Being overweight is disastrous for your longevity, but losing weight is easier said than done. Or could there be an easy and healthy short cut to success after all? For a change, in an American experiment researchers did not ask their test subjects to eat less and exercise more. In stead they asked 81 healthy but overweight (BMI higher than 25) volunteers not to stick to their (unhealthy) habits except for one detail: they were asked to take two capsules every day half an hour before breakfast. Some of the test subjects were given capsules containing an neutral substance (placebo), while others were given capsules containing 300 milligrams of alpha lipoic acid. I.e. some of the test subjects took 6oo milligrams of alpha lipoic acid every day.

Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant

Alpha lipoic acid is a sulphurous fatty acid which is found in our mitochondria, the power centers of our cells. There it plays a small but essential role in the conversion of sugar into energy. The body produces it, but does so less as we age. We also get some of it from food, meat being the main source. As a food supplement, alpha lipoic acid is popular because it’s a very powerful and versatile antioxidant that, in addition ensures that cells absorb glucose better in people with type 2 diabetes * * * It also limits nerve damage caused by a too high blood sugar level*.

1.7 kg lighter thanks to alpha lipoic acid

At the start of the experiment and after 24 weeks, the weight and BMI of the test subjects were determined. Those who had taken the capsules with alpha lipoic acid were on average 1.7 kg lighter afterwards and their BMI had decreased by 0.6 point. The weight reduction was only seen in women (5 percent lighter) and obese participants – BMI higher than 30 – (4.8 percent lighter); men who were overweight but not obese did not notice any difference. The scientists cannot explain this difference between men and women.

Less inflammation markers due to alpha lipoic acid

Indeed, losing 1.7 kg per half year is not impressive. However, the participants had not exercised more or eaten less to achieve this. The researchers suspect that the effect of alpha lipoic acid on weight and BMI is greater when it is combined with healtier eating and exercise habits. In addition, blood and urine tests showed that under the influence of alpha lipoic acid, a series of antioxidant enzymes had increased while inflammation markers had decreased. In those who had lost weight, excess triglycerides (blood fats) had also decreased slightly.

The results of this American study are in line with earlier experiments in Asia, Europe and New Zealand. In total, thirteen studies were involved (source, source), in ten of which the average BMI fell thanks to alpha lipoic acid.

Choose the right form of alpha lipoic acid

Alpha lipoic acid does not work in all studies. The American scientists suspect that this can be explained partly by the form of alpha lipoic acid used. Alpha lipoic acid is available as the synthetic S-alpha lipoic acid or as the natural and better absorbable R-alpha lipoic acid. Most cheap supplements contain S-alpha lipoic acid or a mix of R- and S-alpha lipoic acid. The American subjects took R-alpha lipoic acid.

Based on the knowledge about alpha lipoic acid to date, you may expect the supplement to help you lose weight, even if only a little. It can give you just that little push you need to reach your goal. In addition, alpha lipoic acid offers protection on several fronts and is safe in the quantities used in the study. Do choose the more expensive but more absorbable R-alpha lipoic acid. Take half an hour before breakfast with a generous amount of water or tea.

Tekst Pim Christiaans | Life Unlimited