Mitochondria are the smallpowerhouse organelles that control the energy output for each of the trillionsof cells that function synergistically within the human body. Every cell housesdozens to hundreds of mitochondria, depending on the particular function andenergy requirement of the component organ. More than 85% of the oxygencontained in every breath is consumed by these tiny energy producers, so it iseasy to understand how low mitochondrial function typically seen with aging canlead to low energy levels and ultimately cellular death.
Cutting edge research published inthe Journal of Nucleic Acids and Metabolism furnishes details to explainthat the naturally occurring antioxidant alpha lipoic acid can significantlyreduce mitochondrial decay and boost energy levels to improve longevity parametersin aging humans.
Alpha Lipoic Acid Reduces Free Radical Stress and Improves Energy Production
Since the early 1970`s scientistshave proposed and validated the `mitochondrialtheory of aging` that demonstrates how a lifetime of accumulated damage tomitochondrial DNA leads to increased free radical stress and lowered cellularenergy production and chronic disease. Researchers examined aging mice thatwere broken into two groups, one supplemented with alpha lipoic acid in theirdrinking water and the other a control group, for a period of 30 days. Bothgroups were tested for metabolic functions relating to glucose metabolism,energy production and antioxidant status.
Authors of the study found thatthe alphalipoic acid supplemented group experienced mitochondrial biogenesis, aprocess that rejuvenates and replaces damaged and aging mitochondria. Priorbodies of research postulated that mitochondrial regeneration and genesis werenot possible and cell death was always the final result of mitochondrialdysfunction. Through a very intricate metabolic process, lipoic acidsupplementation was found to improve body composition, glucose tolerance, andenergy expenditure in the aged mice.
Alpha Lipoic Acid May Aid Weight Management and Improve Insulin Control
Researchers noted this was thefirst time a natural compound was able to effectively revitalize mitochondriain aging cells, and concludedthat alpha lipoic acid supplementation “increaseslean mass loss possibly by suppressing protein synthesis in the skeletal muscleby down-regulating the mTOR signaling pathway. Thus, lipoic acid may be apromising supplement for treatment of obesity and/or insulin resistance inolder patients.”
Subsequently, research conductedby Dr. Bruce Ames found that combining the bioactive `R` isomer of lipoic acidand acetyl-l-carnitine decreases oxidative damage leading to mitochondrialdecay and may help prevent degenerative diseases of aging including cancer,cognitive decline (dementia) and diabetes while restoring the vital energyneeded to live an active lifestyle. Nutrition experts recommend supplementingwith `R` alpha-lipoic acid (100 – 300 mg daily) and acetyl-l-carnitine (1000 mgdaily) to restore energy levels lost to mitochondrial decline.