R-Lipoic Acid: A Unique and Remarkable Antioxidant
Some of you may have heard of Lipoic Acid. It is a fatty acid with unique vitamin like antioxidant properties. What you typically see on the market is a form of Lipoic Acid commonly referred to as Alpha Lipoic acid. It is marketed as an internal supplement as well as an ingredient for topical use in anti-aging products, such as in facial creams.
Lipoic acid is reported to be a potent free radical scavenger. Some refer to it as the "mitochondrial antioxidant," meaning that it may have the ability to prevent mitochondrial oxidative damage (mitochondria is the energy storehouse in our cells). That is the reason why Lipoic Acid is often recommended for increasing energy levels. Lipoic Acid is produced by the body in small amounts and helps to convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy.
Lipoic Acid can be found in small amounts in foods such as organ meats, broccoli, spinach, peas and plants. Our ability to produce Lipoic Acid decreases with age. Because there is not enough of it found it nature, it must be synthesized in a lab.
Lipoic acid is known for its ability to reduce oxidation more than other antioxidants because of its unique fat and water soluble properties; it has the ability to penetrate both the fat and water portion of a cell. It is also has the ability to boost levels of other vitamins and antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C and glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Glutathione deficiency has been associated with diabetes, HIV infection, liver disease, etc.
Lipoic Acid is comprised of two forms: A synthetic form commonly known as the "S" form or Alpha Lipoic Acid, and the "R" form or what is known as R-Lipoic Acid. R-Lipoic Acid is considered the "natural" form of Lipoic Acid because it most closely mirrors what our bodies naturally produce. In other words, our bodies can more easily assimilate the "R" form. The "S" form is actually a by-product of chemical synthesis and may actually hinder or negate some of the benefits of the "R" form.
While the "S" form is reported to have some antioxidant properties, it has not been shown to reduce inflammation. According to some experts, R-Lipoic Acid is the only form of Lipoic acid capable of reducing inflammation and inflammation is the number one cause of aging. This is an important distinction since inflammation is a contributory factor in a host of degenerative diseases.
R-Lipoic Acid is reported to be twice as effective as Alpha Lipoic Acid. Therefore, 100mg. of R-Lipoic Acid would be equivalent to 200mg. of Alpha Lipoic Acid. R-Lipoic Acid absorbs more easily because it is more biologically active (our bodies recognize it better than the synthetic form) and may be far more effective at preventing oxidative damage than Alpha Lipoic Acid.
It was only recently that scientists have been able to find a way to isolate the "R" form from the synthetic form while still maintaining its stability (R-Lipoic acid by nature is unstable and can disintegrate quickly). To my knowledge, there is only one US manufacturer of R-Lipoic Acid who has found a way to control the product from polymerizing or disintegrating. It is composed of potassium-R Lipoate and is marketed under the name K-RALA (potassium has the symbol "K").
In Germany, K-RALA has been used in the clinical treatment of diabetes for many years. It may reduce insulin resistance and may lower blood sugar levels. However, those with hypoglycemia should be cautious. Always consult your physician before taking any supplementation.
Because of its potency, R-Lipoic Acid is twice as expensive as Alpha Lipoic Acid. That is most likely the reason why most companies do not use it for supplements and for topical usage. You can find it in the marketplace, but it is certainly not as abundant as products which also contain the synthetic form.
Topically, R-Lipoic acid has demonstrated significant positive changes in the overall health and beauty of the skin. Many people report changes very quickly; skin takes on a rosy glow, the appearance of redness, such as mild rosacea may begin to diminish, and fine lines and wrinkles soften or in some cases, may disappear. Skin takes on a natural and healthy glow. Even those with very sensitive skin have reported using topical R-Lipoic Acid with great success. A 1% concentration of R-Lipoic Acid as a topical agent is considered to be a very effective concentration.
If you have not yet tried skin care containing R-Lipoic Acid, you may want to see if it would benefit your skin.
Dr. Teri Dourmashkin received her doctorate in Health Education (Ed.D.) from Columbia University in NYC. She is also the President & Founder of La Vie Celeste Skin Care, Inc. La Vie Celeste offers the finest all natural skin care products for even the most sensitive skin. Fragrance free and never tested on animals. Simple, Versatile and Luxurious…Discover the La Vie Celeste difference.