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α-Liponic acid (Alpha lipoic acid, ALA)
α-Liponic acid, more precisely (R)-lipoic acid, is a fatty acid that occurs as a coenzyme and component of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex in the mitochondria of almost all eukaryotes. The salts of lipoic acid are called lipoates.
The two sulphur atoms of alpha-lipoic acid are linked together in a ring structure so that alpha-lipoic acid is both water- and fat-soluble. The body itself forms alpha lipoic acid, and the food (especially beef and offal such as liver, heart and kidneys) also contains small amounts of alpha lipoic acid.
Alpha lipoic acid can have two different antioxidant effects:
Alpha lipoic acid can deactivate reactive oxygen species ("oxygen radicals"), which are not only responsible for an abundance of health complaints, but are also associated with the physical process of aging. This leads to a reduction in oxidative stress caused by body tissue, whether in a fat-soluble or water-soluble environment.
Furthermore Alpha-lipoic acid can promote and facilitate the optimal functioning of other antioxidants, which can have a positive effect on the vitamin concentration of vitamin C and vitamin E, for example. High alpha lipoic acid levels can return vitamin C from its oxidized form to its natural form and thus increase the levels at the cellular level. The same applies to vitamin E.