As you age, it's common for your arteries to function less efficiently. If your arteries are healthy, they should be "relaxed" or dilated. This means they are less stiff. Age stiffens them. But researchers recently found that a powerful nutrient can relax your arteries and restore their function.

Research has linked accumulation of ceramides to stiffening arteries. Ceramides are fatty deposits that form when undesirable fatty acids hook to a long-chain base. Acids are naturally attracted to their opposites - bases.

Researchers thought that ceramide accumulation might be due to age-related loss of glutathione in endothelial cells (inner lining cells of your arteries).

So, in this study, the researchers measured relaxation in the aorta of experimental old rats. They found that glutathione levels in the lining cells were 30% less than in younger rats. The researchers gave the rats the trademarked form of ALA.

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The results were impressive. Arterial relaxation improved. So did glutathione levels. What intrigued me the most was that ceramides levels fell as well. This has far-reaching implications for just about every human health condition.

I've told you in the past about the many incredible health benefits of ALA. I've also told you about phospholipids, which can soften stiff arteries. My colleagues and I have seen stunning reversals of conditions such as neurological degeneration, autism, Parkinson's disease, and more. And now we know that ALA can have a similar impact.

I've been using ALA almost as long as I've used nutritional healing. It's one the supplements I use regularly. Many supplements come and go, but I still use ALA as much now as I did 15 years ago. Why? Because my patients just do so much better on it - almost no matter what their condition. I thought it might be simply raising glutathione to get rid of toxins. Now we learn that ALA reduces ceramide and restores arterial health. The researchers also found that it restores nitric oxide metabolism, which is critical for arterial dilation. I can only say, "Wow!"

There are two types of ALA on the market. The generic ALA and a trademarked variety. I personally don't feel you need to spend significantly more money for the expensive trademarked form. I've found the cheaper ALA simply marvelous. I typically recommend 100-300 mg daily. I think that ALA should be at the top of the list in most anyone's anti-aging and preservation of health program.

Ref: Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Feb 25. Published online ahead of print; British Journal of Pharmacology, advance online publication, 17 March 2008.

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