Could alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L carnitine turn back the aging clock?
Picture this scene from an old movie: the elderly scientist, working late in the lab, takes a sip of potion from a bubbling flask and undergoes a miraculous transformation as his body regains its youthful look and vigor.
Science fiction? Maybe not…that’s pretty much what happened to elderly laboratory rats when they were fed two dietary supplements in a recent landmark study conducted by Dr. Bruce Ames and his colleagues from U.C. Berkeley.Dr. Ames is no newcomer to genetic research. Damaged genes have been his business for half a century. He has published more than 450 articles and is one of the most quoted scientists on the planet.
Ames said with a twinkle in his eye,
"With the two supplements together, these old rats got up and did the Macarena. The brain looks better, they are full of energy… everything we looked at looks more like a young animal."
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is known as the master antioxidant. It is unique in that, unlike any other antioxidant, ALA is both fat and water soluble; thereby allowing it to operate in all environments in the body.
Alpha Lipoic Acid inhibits the "hydroxyl radical." The hydroxyl radical is considered to be the most damaging of the free radicals due to its ability to initiate heart disease.
Adding to the myriad of benefits, ALA regenerates other antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, thus helping to prevent a deficiency in any one of these vital nutrients.
Alpha Lipoic Acid also maintains and even increases our bodies' own antioxidant: glutathione. Glutathione' s best attribute is its ability to protect us from cancer. Glutathione is the chief detoxifier for the human body.
Through a process known as "conjugation" it attaches to deadly chemicals and escorts them out of the body.
Co researcher, Tory M. Hagen was also enthusiastic about the benefits of the Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl L Carnitine combination.
"The animals fed the supplements seemed to have much more vigor and are much more active. We also see a reversal in loss of memory. That is a dual-track improvement that is significant and unique."
"We significantly reversed the decline in overall activity typical of aged rats to what you see in a middle-aged to young adult rat 7 to 10 months of age," Hagen said. "This is equivalent to making a 75- to 80-year-old person act middle-aged."
For many years Ames and Hagen have been extremely interested the body’s mitochondria and its role in the aging process. Mitochondria are tiny structures inside cells that act like furnaces, manufacturing most of the energy that is used by the body.
The byproduct of this process is oxidation, which causes the formation of free radicals. These free radicals hurtle through our body bombarding our cells and DNA.
When free radicals are on the rampage they take building blocks from normal cells and cause those cells to break down, wounding cell membranes and damaging DNA codes within the cell’s nucleus.
The result is aging and disease.
Dr. Hagen explained,
"With aging, we see so many different things that are occurring to mitochondria that then lead to consequences in the cell. If you tune up mitochondria you may have a means of at least delaying the onset of a number of age-related problems that we encounter, or we can in some ways, hopefully, reverse what has already taken place."
Over the last few months, scientific interest in alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and acetyl L-carnitine (ALC), the two supplements used in the studies, has exploded and a large number of studies are now under way with humans.
Ames and his researchers are also studying the role of alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L carnitine have in healing heart disease. They theorize that these supplements can improve circulation in cardiovascular patients by relaxing blood vessels, which could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
“I don’t want over hype it” says Ames. “We have to wait for the results of human trials.” But Dr. Ames isn’t waiting. He is taking a dose of ALA and ALC twice a day.
It could take years for these clinical studies to be completed, analyzed and debated by the medical community. In the meantime I've joined Dr. Ames by adding Alpha Lipoic Acid and ALC to my daily vitamin regimen.
It's going to be great fun doing the Macarena. I never did learn how to dance when I was a kid.
Thanks for joining us on the journey to Vital Heart Health for Life!