Emerging Research Suggests “Yes”
By David Coyne
Science has discovered some exciting benefits of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) for multiple sclerosis (MS). Research conducted by Oregon University of Health and Science and published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal reveals that ALA has the potential to reduce inflammation developed during the progression of the disease. Inflammation damages the body’s cells, organs, and tissues, and it’s linked to many other serious health conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
MS is classified as an autoimmune disorder—these types of diseases result from the immune system mistakenly attacking the body. Essentially, the immune system can no longer tell the difference between healthy tissues and dangerous substances like viruses, bacteria, and toxins.
When MS occurs, pro-inflammatory immune cells cross into the central nervous system and strike the myelin, a protective sheath that surrounds nerves. As it progresses, the disease can trigger paralysis, muscle stiffness, epilepsy, and depression.
With 400,000 Americans currently affected, MS is more prevalent in people of Northern European descent, and women are twice as likely as men to get it. Although people can develop MS at any age, most patients are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
Scientists are still trying to find the answer to an important, relevant question: What causes MS? At present, they believe environmental and genetic factors play a role in the onset of the disease.
ALA and Free Radicals
Because one of the key biological markers of MS is inflammation, it’s not surprising that scientists turned to study alpha lipoic acid. It has already come to the attention of medical researchers because of its powerful antioxidant properties and ability to soothe inflammation by protecting the body from damaging molecules known as free radicals.
Unfortunately, lipoic acid (ALA is the synthesized form of naturally occurring lipoic acid) is not widely found at high levels in our food supply. However, you can purchase ALA as a supplement—and studies show that it’s readily absorbed and well-tolerated by the body. An advanced form of ALA is liposomal R-ALA, which can be found online and in some health stores.
What the Research Reveals
A number of medical studies have examined ALA and noted benefits for several health conditions. In fact, German physicians prescribe it for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.
MS researchers put ALA to the test, and the results prove promising.
In one study involving mice, researchers found that ALA completely suppressed the development of MS inflammation for the duration of the test phase.
Although human research on ALA and MS has been limited, scientists did launch a small pilot study in the US, with 37 MS patients supplementing daily with ALA. During the two-week test period, blood was drawn at various intervals from each MS patient; the samples then underwent analysis. The scientists found that two inflammation markers of MS activity were reduced in the patients. And unlike many prescription drugs, patients reported only a few minor side effects from the supplement.
Although this is only one small study, scientists were encouraged by what they discovered. They suggested that larger trials should be conducted to further study the therapeutic benefits of ALA for patients living with MS.
Every year, science learns more about the health advantages that ALA delivers. As well as helping with MS, this potent antioxidant may slow the aging process and reduce stroke-related brain damage. But, be sure to talk to your doctor before using ALA to ensure that it’s the right supplement for you.
About the Author:
David Coyne is a writer who specializes in the alternative health field. Visit him online at healthcopywriter.net.