Alpha lipoic acid is one of my favorite nutrients. I've used it for 20 years for heavy metal toxicity and to help regenerate your body's glutathione reserves. (Glutathione is your body's premier protector from toxins, heavy metals, and free radicals.) But alpha lipoic acid can do a lot more than that, especially if you're a diabetic. In fact, there's new evidence that alpha lipoic acid can diabetics reverse cataracts. And it also can stop vascular damage in diabetics.

A few years ago, I told you how a simple glutathione eye-drop formula I created has helped many people stop cataracts. That's because glutathione is critical to protect your eye lens from photochemical damage. So it makes sense that ALA can help too. A recent study on lab rats suggests that it does.

In the study, the researchers induced type-1 diabetes in rats. They did this by chemically destroying their pancreas's beta cells. Then they divided the rats into two groups. One group received a placebo. The other received ALA (30 mg per day).

After five weeks of diabetes, the rats given ALA had a greater transmission of light in their lens than the controls. The authors concluded that ALA is a "promising agent in the prevention and treatment of diabetic cataracts."

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Another study evaluated humans with diabetes and end-stage kidney disease. These patients had major problems with their endothelial cells (lining of your blood vessels). Endothelial cells produce nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. Without it, you will have constricted arteries, as these patients did.

The goal of the study was to determine how well alpha lipoic acid affected the levels of asymmetric dimethyl arginine (ADMA) in the patients' blood. ADMA is a known risk factor for vascular disease. It impairs the ability of your endothelial cells to make nitric oxide.

The researchers put the patients into two different groups, a treatment group and a control group. They gave the former 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid each day.

After 12 weeks, ADMA decreased significantly in the treatment group. It fell from a median of 1.68 muM to a median of 1.31 muM. That means that these patients were able to generate nitric oxide better, which reduced vascular damage.

Simply said, alpha lipoic acid is a super nutrient. I have only grazed the surface here of what it can do. I'll tell you more about it in future health alerts and in my Second Opinion

In the meantime, I suggest you take 300 mg daily. There are lots of great brands out there. Farmacopia (800-896-1484) carries both Jarrow and Cardiovascular Research. I especially recommend it for all diabetes patients, anyone with heavy metals or vascular damage, and anyone who has cataracts.

Ref: Jpn J Ophthalmol, 2007; 51(1): 10-3; Am J Nephrol, 2007; 27(1): 70-74.

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