ALPHA LIPOIC ACID – a supplement that actually works for fat loss and muscle gain?!

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID – a supplement that actually works for fat loss and muscle gain?!

 

Very rarely do I recommend any supplement.  Generally speaking, besides multivitamins, probiotics, protein powder (usually Whey) and Creatine Monohydrate, any supplements give such teeny tiny results (or no results!) that they are really not worth the money.  However, I think I have another supplement to add to the short short list of supplements worth taking.  The supplement I am talking about is Alpha Lipoic Acid, or ALA.

 

ALA is a supplement I have personally been taking for a few years now.  And from my personal experience of using it, I believe (for me at least!) that it actually “works” in promoting fat loss and muscle gain!

 

weight loss

What is ALA?

Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant.  It can neutralise free radicals, so can have a “detox” effect, and it is both water and fat soluble.

 

 

What does ALA do?

ALA can act as a glucose disposal agent, so it can assist in the conversion of sugar into energy. This means it can improve blood sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity.  In other words, it can have “insulin-like effects”, so reducing the amount of insulin required.

 

But more importantly, research suggests that ALA has a “nutrient partitioning” effect.  It can help ensure that the carbohydrates you eat are stored in your body’s muscle cells (as glycogen) rather than in fat cells (as adipose tissue, aka body fat).

 

 

How to take ALA?

It makes sense to take ALA with your higher carb meals, especially taken post workout and prior to bed. Dosages are inconclusive, but it seems that up to 3000mg a day can be taken to help with muscle gain and fat loss, ideally splitting this dose across the day.

 

 

Can ALA be found naturally?

Yes ALA is found in foods like red meat, liver, kidneys, spinach, and potatoes.  But the quantity of ALA in these foods is so small, that you will never reach the dosages required for fat loss and muscle gain without using supplements.

 

 

Where can I buy ALA from?

I get mine from myprotein.com and I usually buy the powder form rather than the capsules as it is cheaper. However, there are of course other places online, including Amazon:

 

 

 

 

Let me state the obvious as a disclaimer, that you will need to be following a healthy balanced diet and exercise program in order to see any weight loss benefit from supplementing with ALA.  Also note that since ALA is a glucose disposal agent, if you are taking any medication to treat diabetes then you should definitely consult your GP first before trying it!

 

 

References

 

Henriksen EJ, Jacob S, Streeper RS, Fogt DL, Hokama JY, Tritschler HJ. Stimulation by alpha-lipoic acid of glucose transport activity in skeletal muscle of lean and obese Zucker rats. Life Sci 1997;61:805-12.

 

Jacob, S., Streeper, R. S., Fogt, D. L., Hokama, J. Y., Tritschler, H. J., Dietze, G. J., & Henriksen, E. J. (1996, August). The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid enhances insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant rat skeletal muscle. Diabetes, 45(8), 1024-9.

 

Konrad D, Somwar R, Sweeney G, Yaworsky K, Hayashi M, Ramlal T, et al. The antihyperglycemic drug alpha-lipoic acid stimulates glucose uptake via both GLUT4 translocation and GLUT4 activation: potential role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in GLUT4 activation. Diabetes 2001;50:1464-71.

 

Lee WJ, Song KH, Koh EH, Won JC, Kim HS, Park HS, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid increases insulin sensitivity by activating AMPK in skeletal muscle. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005;332:885-91.

 

Li, Z., Dungan, C. M., Carrier, B., Rideout, T. C., & Williamson, D. L. (2014, December). Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation reduces mTORC1 signalling in skeletal muscle from high fat fed, obese Zucker rats. Lipids, 49(12), 1193-201.

Okanovic, A., Prnjavorac, B., Jusufovic, E., & Sejdinovic, R. (2015, July 9). Alpha-lipoic acid reduces body weight and regulates triglycerides in obese patients with diabetes mellitus. Medicinski glasnik, 13(2).

 

Shay KP, Hagen TM. Age-associated impairment of Akt phosphorylation in primary rat hepatocytes is remediated by alpha-lipoic acid through PI3 kinase, PTEN, and PP2A. Biogerontology 2009;10:443-56.

Shi SS, Day RM, Halpner AD, Blumberg JB, Suzuki YJ. Homocysteine and alpha-lipoic acid regulate p44/42 MAP kinase phosphorylation in NIH/3T3 cells. Antioxid Redox Signal 1999;1:123-8.

 

Silvestri, S., Orlando, P., Armeni, T., Padella, L., Bruge, F., Seddaiu, G., Tiano, L. (2015, July). Coenzyme Q10 and α-lipoic acid: antioxidant and pro-oxidant effects in plasma and peripheral blood lymphocytes of supplemented subjects. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 57(1), 21-26.

 

Wollin SD, Jones PJ. Alpha-lipoic acid and cardiovascular disease. J Nutr 2003;133:3327-30.

 

Zhang WJ, Wei H, Hagen T, Frei B. Alpha-lipoic acid attenuates LPS-induced inflammatory responses by activating the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2007;104:4077-82.

 

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