Cutting edge research published in the Journal of Nucleic Acids and Metabolism explains how alpha lipoic acid can significantly reduce mitochondrial decay and boost energy levels to improve longevity parameters in aging humans.
Alpha-lipoic acid is classified as a phospholipid, meaning it is both water and fat-soluble and can work in all the tissues of your body, earning itself the reputation of “universal antioxidant”. In addition , where alpha lipoic acid surpasses other antioxidants, is that it is targeted to the mitochondria where it helps protect mitochondria from oxidative damage and improve mitochondrial function. You may not be familiar with mitochondria and the role they play in your overall health, but you should be because the health of your mitochondria could be the key to how well (or poorly) you age. The mitochondria are referred to as the “powerhouse” of cells where their main function is to generate large amounts of energy (ATP) that is required to power nearly every function and biochemical process that happens in our bodies. ATP cannot be stored, so the mitochondria must stay in good working order to continuously create energy. It not surprising you don't feel well when your mitochondria are not functioning properly. Mitochondrial dysfunction is commonly cited as a primary cause of age-related decline, while optimal mitochondrial health is associated with longevity. One of the main symptoms of poor mitochondrial function is fatigue. In fact, according to an article published in the journal Integrative Medicine, “Loss of function in mitochondria, the key organelle responsible for cellular energy production, can result in the excess fatigue and other symptoms that are common complaints in almost every chronic disease.”
Mitochondria also mediate cell growth and death, including apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
The mitochondria are especially susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, environmental toxins, and oxidative damage. The good news is that there are supplements, as well as lifestyle changes, that have been shown to be very effective at supporting mitochondrial health and function. One of those supplements is alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Researchers have actually labeled alpha lipoic acid a “mitochondrial nutrient.” This is a well-deserved title, since ALA has been shown to improve the structure as well as the function of mitochondria. In addition the B vitamins are integral to mitochondrial energy production and are essential for maintaining normal mitochondrial function. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins has a harmful effect on mitochondria structure and function by interrupting normal energy production, leading to an accumulation of toxic byproducts in the mitochondria and increasing oxidative stress.