Researchers are discovering more amazing benefits of Alpha Lipoic acid against aging
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University is the site of much investigation into LA.
Researchers there see aging as an inevitable process resulting from adverse changes in the body. While people are generally resigned to eventual death, there is a universal desire to maintain health and avoid degenerative disease.
Two research projects currently underway seek to define the mechanisms of mitochrondrial decay in the aging heart and elucidate the mechanisms leading to increased vulnerability to oxidative insults that result in aging.
The mitochondria is the furnace or power plant of the cell which converts food into energy to be used by the body. Mitochondria play major roles in calcium homeostasis and regulate programmed cell death and tissue renewal. Any impairment in mitochondrial function has significant consequences to the cell. Mitochondria become severely impaired with age, resulting in high levels of free radicals that continually damage it and other important parts of the cell such as DNA. This leads to a vicious downward spiral in overall cell function.
Researchers are examining the affect of mitochondrial decay on age-related loss of cardiac function, the leading cause of death in the elderly. They have identified compounds normally found in cells that decline markedly with age but can be replaced by dietary supplementation. They term these compounds ‘age-essential’ micronutrients and have shown that two of these compounds, acetyl-L-carnitine and LA, when fed to rats, significantly improve mitochondrial function and reduce many of the signs of aging. They are now determining whether these age-essentials can also improve overall human health.
Their other project involves study of the susceptibility of the body to a variety of oxidative insults. They have found that glutathione, a major cellular detoxicant, declines substantially with age. This loss is due to age-dependent lessening of activity and levels of gamma-glutamylcysteine ligase (GCL), the rate-controlling enzyme for glutathione synthesis. GCL expression is controlled by a transcription factor that becomes dysregulated with age, resulting in loss of GCL expression and potentially many of the nearly 400 other detoxification enzymes controlled by this transcription factor.
They have found that treatment with LA re-regulates these factors, thereby increasing glutathione levels and the ability to withstand oxidative insult. Their ongoing research is aimed at defining the exact mechanisms of these actions.