Alpha Lipoic Acid

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Alpha Lipoic Acid

Postby Chilcotin » Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:32 pm

Is anyone out there supplementing with Alpha Lipoic Acid? I have not been able to find out too much about it except for the CBS station in Chicago had done a story. The link below is that story.

http://cbs2chicago.com/health/local_sto ... 60834.html

I was diagnosed in March of this year with RRMS at the age of 44. I am currently on Rebif. I struggle with fatigue but do not take anything for it.

Any information you could provide would be appreciated.

Chilcotin
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Re: Lipoic Acid

Postby NHE » Sat Nov 27, 2004 2:54 am

There are many papers on PubMed concerning lipoic acid and its antioxidant characteristics. You can search through the abstracts at
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi

Run a combined search query on "lipoic acid" AND "multiple sclerosis" (enter exactly as typed, quotes and all) and you should find several papers which discuss lipoic acid and EAE. Now MS and EAE are spelled different for a good reason, they aren't the same. However, the data look promising. Note that you can usually get the full papers from your local university if they have a good medical library. Some journals also offer their papers at no cost though this is rare.

You may also want to read a book by Dr. Nicholas Perricone titled "The Perricone Prescription." Dr. Perricone is a dermatologist. However, his focus appears to be on treating inflammatory conditions. He discusses research work he has done with antioxidants and also with diet modifications that reduce the body's overall tendency towards inflammation. I found his book informative and try to apply the diet modifications the best I can however I'm not 100% by any means - much more like 30% or so at best.

Anyways, to answer your question, I do take lipoic acid supplements (actually R lipoic acid as described below) as well as other antioxidants, e.g., vitamin E, vitamin A & D from cod liver fish oil, vitamin C. In addition, I also take omega 3 & 6 fish oil. I'm also currently researching grape seed extract and may add that to my regimen at some time in the future. Lastly, I drink 4-5 cups of strongly brewed green tea per day most of which is decaffeinated. I try not to over do it with the fat soluble vitamins since these can accumulate to toxic levels if safe recommendations are exceeded. To complete the record here, I've also been on Avonex for a little over 4 years now.

With regards to lipoic acid, you'll find several formulations available. There's alpha lipoic acid, R lipoic acid, and lipoic acid supplemented with biotin (a B vitamin which can become depleted when taking lipoic acid at doses 100mg or greater per day).

Alpha lipoic acid is actually a 50/50 mixture of two stereo isomers due to the molecule having what's known as a chiral center (an atom that can be joined to other atoms in a non-identical mirror image manner). These two forms are called the R and S forms. They are equally produced during chemical synthesis. You can think of them as left handed and right handed versions of the same molecule. In effect, they're mirror images of each other much as your hands are when you hold them together. Chemical synthesis will always produce equal amounts of all possible stereo isomers unless specific and often difficult steps are taken to ensure the production of one or the other (another example is with synthetic vitamin E which has 3 chiral centers so there are 8 possible forms produced all of which are mirror images of each other for each chiral center).

What's important about all of the above chemistry is that R lipoic acid is the natural form that's found in the body, more specifically in the mitochondria. The biological activity of R lipoic acid is also reported to be roughly 6-12 fold higher than S lipoic acid if I rember correctly. There are several papers which discuss the differences between the two forms available on PubMed.

The above discussion brings forth the second form that I listed, R lipoic acid, which can be found from a few different manufactures such as Humax and Source Naturals. Incidentally, Humax offers their R lipoic acid fortified with biotin. I can't make any recommendations here so you'll have to do your own investigation regarding the different brands.

What's interesting about lipoic acid when taken as a supplement is that its soluble in both the lipid and aqueous environments of a cell. This enables it to function as an antioxidant in both the cell plasma membrane and in the cytosol as well as other aqueous environments such as blood. Lipoic acid is also known to cross the blood brain barrier (which plays a role in why it was found to be helpful with EAE). Lipoic acid is also used to treat diabetic neuropathies. This is a standard treatment in some countries in Europe. Lipoic acid has also been shown to inhibit NFk-B (which plays a role in the production of proinflammatory cell signaling molecules). One other issue which I feel is physiologically important, is that lipoic acid can play a central role in regenerating other antioxidants in the body, e.g., vitamin E, vitamin C, and glutathione.

Anyways, I realize that this answer was probably more than I needed to go into and I hope that the chemistry discussion did not go into too much detail. However, I believe that the issues I raised are important to understanding the different forms of lipoic acid supplements and why one formulation may or may not be preferred over another.

By the way, I would be very interested in hearing if/how anyone else is using antioxidant supplements, either as a means of helping to control inflammation or for any other reason. 8O

NHE


Disclaimer: I'm not a Dr. nor in the medical profession and I can't make any specific medical recommendations for anyone.
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Re: Lipoic Acid

Postby NHE » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:16 am

I wanted to mention that information on many different supplements can be found at the Health Notes website. This site cannot be accessed directly as it's offered on a subscription basis to other sites which then often provide access for free. For example, you can get there by going to the http://www.newseasonsmarket.com page and then clicking on the Health Notes link on the lower right.

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Alpha Lipoic Acid

Postby Chilcotin » Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:09 pm

Thanks, NHE for taking the time to give me so much information about Alpha Lipoic Acid.

I will take some time to look up those sites you suggested.

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Re: Lipoic Acid

Postby NHE » Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:09 am

Chilcotin,
Here's a link to other news regarding the lipoic acid study that you had inquired about, http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct/gui/show/N ... 2?order=38. This study is to be completed by December 2004 although the above link states that it has been completed. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to read the results once they're available.

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Postby Arron » Mon Nov 29, 2004 11:20 am

great information, NHE... thank you for sharing.

Perhaps I missed it somewhere, but how have your results been on your regimin?
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Re: Lipoic Acid

Postby NHE » Wed Dec 01, 2004 1:47 pm

Perhaps I missed it somewhere, but how have your results been on your regimin?

That's not an easy question to answer. Before I do though, I should note that I forgot to mention in my prior post describing my regimen that I also consume ground flax seed on a daily basis in addition to the omega 3 & 6 fish oil. Now, to attempt to answer your question.

To provide some perspective, I decided to include some background information first. I have relapsing remitting MS. My first "MS event" was in 1991. I had numbness in one arm which lasted for about a month. I saw a neurologist at that time but no diagnosis of anything specific was made and I experienced no ongoing symptoms from that event. Later in 1999 I had a second "MS event" which led to my diagnosis. This second attack was more severe than the first. I had numbness and burning in one of my legs which elicited a limp while walking and then before that resolved I developed optic neuritis. At that I point I had a couple MRI's, a spinal tap, and treatment with IV methylprednisolone which shortened the duration of the attack. My symptoms did not completely subside after the second attack. I continue to experience neuropathic pain in my foot and burning sensations in my leg. These symptoms are worsened by physical stress and tend to vary from day to day. About 6 months or so after the second attack I began taking Avonex and have been on it for a little over 4 years now.

The regimen I now follow has developed over time as I continue to learn. I initially started with cod liver oil and vitamin E. It was during this time that I noticed the biggest effect from my supplement regimen. As I was just getting started, there were a couple of times when I would forget to take my supplements for a period of 2-3 days. I noticed that I was really beginning to feel quite fatigued. This fatigue would dissipate shortly after returning to my regular supplement routine.

Since then, I have added various antioxidants to my regimen as I have learned of their anti-inflammatory effects. I should stress caution here though that not all antioxidants have beneficial effects with respect to MS and I go to lengths to confirm anecdotal reports with information from the published scientific literature before modifying my regimen. Some may disagree with this approach though it’s what works for me.

Overall, my MS symptoms have been reasonably stable over the last 5 years since I recovered from my second attack and I have not had another major attack during that time period (however, I do tend to have more balance problems then I used to). Can I attribute this lack of additional attacks to either Avonex or the supplements? I can’t say for sure with absolute certainty due to the relapse remitting nature of my MS and the initial 8 year period between my first two attacks. However, I’m convinced of the beneficial effects of Avonex. In addition, the available data on omega 3 & 6 oils and antioxidants such as lipoic acid and EGCG from green tea also look promising. As such, I will use the available treatments to hedge my bets against the MS monster in order to help prevent any further progression.

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Re: Antioxidant Regimen

Postby NHE » Sat Dec 04, 2004 1:48 am

I noted in my previous post that...
I'm also currently researching grape seed extract and may add that to my regimen at some time in the future.

In order to keep things up to date, and possibly help others here as well, I wanted to share a reference I recently found on PubMed. This paper indicates that grape seed extract may NOT be a good idea for people with MS as it increases the production of gamma interferon promoting a Th1 immune response.

N. Nair, et al., 2002. Grape seed extract activates Th1 cells in vitro. Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology, 9(2):470-476.

Abstract:
Although flavonoids manifest a diverse range of biological activities, including antitumor and antiviral effects, the molecular mechanisms underlying these activities await elucidation. We hypothesize that the flavonoid constituents of a proprietary grape seed extract (GSE) that contains procyandins exert significant antiviral and antitumor effects, by inducing production of the Th1-derived cytokine gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) by peripheral blood mononuclear cells) from healthy donors. Our results show that GSE significantly induced the transcription of IFN-gamma mRNA as demonstrated by reverse transcription-PCR but had no effect on the Th2-derived cytokine interleukin-6. The enhancing effect of GSE on IFN-gamma expression was further supported by a concomitant increase in the number of cells with intracytoplasmic IFN-gamma as well as the synthesis and secretion of IFN-gamma. Our results demonstrate that the potentially beneficial immunostimulatory effects of GSE may be mediated through the induction of IFN-gamma.

By the way, this paper is available for free if anyone is interested.
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