July 14, 2009
INGREDIENTS (PER 1 CAPSULE)(120/ BOTTLE): Acetyl-L-Carnitine 525mg, Alpha Lipoic Acid 225mg
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha Lipoic acid is one of the most potent, versatile and longer-acting antioxidant vitamins known. Of all the major antioxidant vitamins only lipoic acid possesses the unique ability to work in both water-soluble and fat-soluble environments in the body. This ubiquitous property means that lipoic acid has access to all parts of our cells to neutralize damaging free radicals, which are implicated in many age-related diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Being able to navigate cellular membranes throughout the body also means that lipoic acid can also cross the blood-brain barrier to exert its protective effects against neurological and cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Every second, 24 hours a day, oxidative damage caused by free radicals occurs in our bodies through the energy-producing reactions that take place within mitochondria of our cells. The cumulative damage inflicted by free radicals can have numerous negative age-related effects. This damage is a major contributor to aging and to degenerative diseases of aging such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune-system decline, brain dysfunction, and cataracts. Scientific research suggests that minimizing these deleterious free radical reactions by ensuring optimal antioxidant levels could therefore hold the key to effectively slowing aging and its unwanted consequences.
Insulin Sensitivity/ Diabetes
Lipoic acid is a dietary supplement that is perhaps best known for being an insulin mimic because it increases glucose uptake in insulin-resistant cells.
ALA increased glucose uptake from 40% up to an impressive 300% (in insulin resistant muscles) in obese diabetic mice. ALA can prevent or slow neuropathy experienced by up to 70% of diabetics and it has been used in Germany for over 30 years for this application. A short-term study found that just five weeks of oral supplementation with 600-1,800 mg/day of lipoic acid also improves painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. ALA can also help protect other organs from sugar damage. In addition, lipoic acid has been shown to be beneficial in renal complications associated with diabetes. This was seen in a study in which supplementing with 600 mg/day of lipoic acid for 18 months slowed the progression of kidney damage in 84 patients with diabetic nephropathy.
Studies have shown that ALA supplementation can decrease fat accumulation in mice. ALA also reduces body weight and prevents the development of diabetes in diabetes-prone obese rats by reducing triglyceride accumulation thus improving insulin sensitivity.
Lipoic acid has the ability to preferentially induce apoptosis and inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Researchers have also studied the effects of lipoic acid on abnormal ovarian cell development. They found that lipoid acid selectively inhibits the growth of tumorigenic ovarian cells by increasing levels of a marker that halts abnormal cell division and reducing levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the body.
ALA inhibits monocyte adhesion and endothelial activation, which leads to atherosclerosis. ALA prevents hyperglycemia induced hypertension in rats by lowering free radical production and raising glutathione levels. ALA improves numerous functions in the heart including oxygen uptake, ATP levels, cardiac output, and energy production. It also protects glutathione and controls hydroxyl radicals, which may account for its anti-aging, heart supporting function. Finally, ALA is found to protect against reperfusion arrhythmias.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is the biologically active form of the amino acid L-carnitine and has been shown to protect cells throughout the body against age-related degeneration. Most clinical research has focused on the brain, where improved mood, memory and cognition has been observed in response to acetyl-L-carnitine administration. By facilitating the youthful transport of fatty acids into the cell’s mitochondria, acetyl-L-carnitine better enables dietary fats to be converted to energy and muscle. Carnitine is approved as a drug in the United States to protect against muscle wasting diseases, including heart muscle weakness and low energy levels. Despite FDA-approval, few conventional doctors prescribe carnitine to support those with cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, chronic fatigue, etc. The failure of doctors to prescribe this natural amino acid correlates directly with the lack of drug company advertising for the product. There is little economic motivation for drug companies to promote the benefits of carnitine to doctors when their patients can choose from hundreds of lower cost carnitine supplements available over the counter. In addition to its FDA-approved indications, acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to maintain immune competence. The most important anti-aging effect of acetyl-L-carnitine, however, is to work with alpha lipoic acid to maintain the function of the mitochondria. When the mitochondria function dwindles, degenerative disease becomes an inevitable consequence. People use acetyl-L-carnitine as a multi-purpose anti-aging supplement.
Reversing heart aging
The effects of aging were dramatically demonstrated when scientists measured cell energy activity and respiration rates in the heart mitochondria of rats. Both cellular energy and respiration was depressed around 40% in the older rats. When acetyl-L-carnitine was administered, their heart rates became almost completely restored to the metabolic function level of young control rats. This study showed that the heart mitochondrial content of cardiolipin, a key agent necessary for mitochondrial substrate transport, was markedly reduced in aged rats. Treatment of aged rats with acetyl-L-carnitinereversed the age-associated decline in cardiolipin content. This newly identified mechanism helps explain why acetyl-L-carnitine is so beneficial in treating congestive heart failure in humans.
Liver and Detox
ALC helps maintain liver function, which is essential for detoxification. One new study found that ALC almost completely restores the age-dependent decline in oxygen consumption, gluconeogenesis, urea synthesis, and ketogenesis found in the liver of old rats to the levels found in young rats. ALC also helps prevent hepatoxicity. ALC also enhances detoxification of ethanol in the liver as well as the unpleasant side effects of detoxification. ALA is also shown to decrease smoking-related lipid peroxidation.
Aging causes alterations in brain cell metabolism. Acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to counteract several mechanisms of brain cell damage. A new study shows that acetyl-l-carnitine protects against temporary cerebral ischemia (no blood flow) by maintaining the cell’s energy cycle. Other recent studies show that acetyl-L-carnitine protects brain cells against glutamate-induced and ammonia-induced toxicity. As people grow older, circulation to the brain diminishes, which sets off a cascade of pathological events that results in neurological impairment. Acetyl-L-carnitine appears to protect against some of the known negative effects that aging induces in the brain.
Studies shows that acetyl-L-carnitine may prevent cataract by preventing glycation-mediated protein damage in the eye lense. This protective benefit can also help to preserve body collagen (skin sagging, disc loss, etc.), and brain senility.
The optimal dose range of acetyl-L-carnitine for healthy people is 1000 mg to 2000 mg day. Those with neurological deficit should consider 3000 mg.
Acetyl-l-carnitine-arginate is a patented form of carnitine that stimulates the growth of neurites in the brain. Acetyl-l-carnitine by itself stimulates neurite growth after 5 days by 5.6%.
An inevitable consequence of aging is a rapid decline in our cellular energy levels. The outward effects often manifest as a sense of overall fatigue, depression, and sexual dysfunction. The internal effect of a cellular energy deficit is a greater vulnerability to a host of degenerative diseases.
and thus confers powerful protective effects on nerve tissue and the central nervous system—enhancing mood, restoring energy, protecting against neurodegenerative diseases, alleviating depression, stimulating nerve growth, and improving heart function, and alleviating nerve pain.
Acetyl-L-carnitine prevents stress-related reductions in nerve growth factor levels, and prevents the death of brain cells in culture. These mechanisms may explain how it reduces damage to brain cells caused by the amyloid beta peptide, which is found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. The good news continues, as other studies have found that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation at doses of 1.5-3 grams daily for at least three months provided significant improvement for those with mild cognitive impairment as well as in people with Alzheimer’s. These promising findings indicate a role for acetyl-L-carnitine in slowing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and boosting the effectiveness of prescription therapies.
ALC actually improves the brain’s structure and function, which can help alleviate certain forms of depression. A study published in 2004 showed that supplementing cancer patients with carnitine for just one week resulted in marked improvements in depression score, sleep disruption, and fatigue scores. Such quality-of-life improvements are critical and can make the difference between improvement and decline. Recently, doctors tested acetyl-L-carnitine against the mood-stabilizing drug amisulpride. They found that acetyl-L-carnitine was just as effective as amisulpride in treating depression, without any of the drug’s side effects.
Physical and Mental Fatigue
Because ALC helps produce energy in brain tissue and muscle, it can be of significant benefit for patients who suffer from fatigue.
In a long-term, randomized, controlled trial in patients with diabetic neuropathy in 2002, acetyl-L-carnitine treatment (daily injections of 1 gram for 10 days, followed by 2 grams per day taken orally for one year) produced notable improvements in nerve conduction velocity and pain compared to placebo. Another recent study found that in addition to pain relief among 1,257 patients receiving acetyl-L-carnitine, significant improvements were recorded in nerve fiber numbers and regenerating nerve fiber clusters in people with chronic diabetic neuropathy. One recent study found that acetyl-L-carnitine treatment helped to prevent nerve cell death, even in traumatically damaged nerve fibers.
In another promising study, acetyl-L-carnitine improved the function of the specialized nerve cells that make up the retina, the part of the eye involved in visual perception. Individuals with age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss, received a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, vitamin E, and other antioxidants, which led to improved function of the retinal nerve cells and slight improvements in visual function.
In a related study of sexual dysfunction in aging males, researchers gave patients testosterone, a combination of L-carnitine, or placebo. While both testosterone and the carnitine combination notably improved penile blood flow and night-time erections, as well as the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction, depression, and fatigue scores, the carnitine combination outperformed testosterone on measures of erectile function. The authors concluded that the carnitine combination was especially useful in managing sexual dysfunction as well as other symptoms associated with male aging.
Boosts Growth Hormone
ALC boosts the body`s levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential to the flow of communication between the nerves and muscles. Keeping acetylcholine levels high is the way to maintain strong, healthy, metabolically active muscle. Besides muscle movement, REM sleep, memory, mental alertness, and concentration are linked to acetylcholine. Acetylcholine stimulates the release of growth hormone, improving tissue healing, promoting muscle growth, improving skin tone and bone density and aiding in fat loss. Acetylcholine naturally declines with age. This depletion is thought to be a major reason for developing memory loss, constipation, depression, mood changes, and insomnia.
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