By now there is a battery of research available on alpha-lipoic acid, and one form in particular shows the most promise: Na-R-ALA — sodium-stabilized, R-enantiomer alpha-lipoic acid.
Quickly, the R-enantiomer (+) is the one that is used by the body, but if you were to buy basic alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) you would be getting what is known as the racemic mixture of ALA. Racemic simply means a 50/50 mixture of the R-enatiomer (+) and the S-enantiomer (-). To avoid getting too technical, what’s important here is that the S-enantiomer (-) is not found in nature and may inhibit the R-enantiomer (+) from interacting with proteins, enzymes, and genes, and thus is undesirable. Of primary significance, R-enantiomer alpha-lipoic acid has shown to be ten times more effective than racemic alpha-lipoic acid for reducing inflammation. Furthermore, adding the sodium group (Na+) makes the compound water-soluble and further enhances absorption, as well as extending the shelf-life to up to three years without refrigeration.
Here are some of the purported benefits of Na-R-ALA:
In this form, this is definitely a supplement worth taking a second look at, if not a staple. There is even some interesting, although not yet conclusive, research showing that Na-R-ALA can induce apoptosis (cell death) in human colon cancer cells.
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