SUPPLEMENTS PART 3

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA is a potent antioxidant that amplifies insulin’s actions at the muscle cell. Take 200–300 mg 2–3 times per day before meals.

If you’re a bodybuilder or are into weight training than you have probably heard of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (or ALA), but might not be sure of how beneficial supplementing with it can be.

To give a scientific explanation of what Alpha-Lipoic Acid is, one of the easiest ways to explain it would be that it is an essential co-factor in energy metabolism in organisms from microbes to humans.

Simply defined it is a substance (such as a co-enzyme) that must be available in order for another substance (such as an enzyme) to produce a specific result. Additionally, when present in sufficient quantities, Alpha Lipoic Acid acts as an antioxidant.

The amount of Alpha Lipoic Acid naturally present in the body may not be adequate to obtain the antioxidant benefits. Increasing the amount of Alpha Lipoic Acid through dietary supplementation can be helpful to perform this vital function.

The combination of these two attributes makes Alpha Lipoic Acid a unique antioxidant supplement. Your body does in fact manufacture Alpha-Lipoic Acid, but supplementing it provides benefits beyond its involvement in carbohydrate metabolism.

For starters, Alpha-Lipoic Acid is able to deactivate both fat and water soluble free radicals (build-up of excess minerals underneath the surface of your skin) and thereby protect both lipoproteins and membranes; no other anti-oxidant can do this.

To give a more understandable answer, for those who just want to know what Alpha-Lipoic Acid can do for them, it helps to take the toxins out of the body thereby improving overall health.

Numerous studies have shown that daily intake of 50 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid produced no specific side effects. Evidence of low toxicity was observed in four different human studies where the daily intake of Alpha Lipoic Acid was between 100 and 600mg for three weeks up to six months.

In very high doses given consistently to humans in excess of 500mg per day or more, slight blood glucose lowering effects have been observed.

Some reversible allergic skin reactions have also been reported in a few subjects at these high dosages. However, these side effects have only been reported for individual cases.

If Alpha-Lipoic Acid were just another antioxidant, then its value would be far less. After all, there are dozens of ingredients on the market that have powerful antioxidant functions.

However, the unique qualities possessed by Alpha-Lipoic Acid, functioning as both a water- and fat-soluble antioxidant make it an intriguing ingredient and a supplement worthy of serious consideration.

In addition to the anti-oxidant effects that ALA produces the list below shows why it is such an important supplement.

The list of benefits includes:

  •         Improval of physique
  •         Combats free radicals
  •         Protects our genetic material
  •         Slows aging
  •         Protects against heart disease
  •         Protects against cancer
  •         Improves skin and helps erase wrinkles
  •         Regulates blood sugar in diabetics
  •         Protects the liver
  •         May be used as a treatment for Stroke

Chromium

This mineral also enhances insulin’s actions at muscle cells. Take 200–400 mcg as chromium picolinate or chromium nicotinate per day with food.

Chromium allows insulin to be used more efficiently in the body by acting as a regulator and a blood sugar balancer. It is, therefore, beneficial for people with hypoglycemia, glucose intolerance, and diabetes.

Essential minerals must be obtained from the diet because our bodies cannot produce them. One of these essentials–chromium–has the important function of working closely with insulin to direct glucose into the cells.

Chromium is lost in the process of refining foods. For example, when sugar cane is refined into white sugar, 93 percent of the chromium is lost.

Because our soils are depleted of chromium and because we consume more processed foods than other countries, North Americans are generally deficient in chromium levels, which can lead to many health problems.

What is the connection between our current chromium levels and the incidence of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity?

It may all relate to chromium deficiency, which leads to poor insulin utilization and metabolism.

Chromium can change the way our bodies use insulin; however, this does not always translate to lower numbers on the scale.

The glucose tolerance factor (GTF) interacts with insulin and regulates how much glucose (sugar) enters a cell. GTF encourages energy production (burns calories) and may also curb feelings of hunger.

Chromium is a supportive tool to use in combination with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.

There is no such thing as a magic pill for weight loss, but many people try chromium as a weight loss plan and are discouraged when they don’t reach their desired results.

The link between chromium supplementation and weight loss is frequently discussed because someone who is overweight is often at high risk of becoming insulin resistant and therefore is treated with chromium to help regulate blood sugar.

Supplementing with chromium provides the best results for weight loss in individuals who have an actual mineral deficiency.