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Alpha-lipoic acid is equally important for it will, along with selenium, raise glutathione levels. Along with selenium, ALA will help us deal with mercury that is polluting the body.
According to Jones and Cherian, an ideal heavy metal chelator should be able to enter the cell easily, chelate the heavy metal from its complex with metallothionein or other proteins, and increase the excretion of the metal without its redistribution to other organs or tissues. According to Dr. Lyn Patrick “ALA satisfies at least two of the above criteria; i.e. absorption into the intracellular environment and complexing metals previously bound to other sulfhydryl proteins. ALA, when found unbound in the circulation, is able to trap circulating heavy metals, thus preventing cellular damage caused by metal toxicity. The fact that free ALA crosses the blood brain barrier is significant because the brain readily accumulates lead and mercury, where these metals are stored intracellularly in glial tissue.”
Patrick goes on to say, “ALA has been shown to increase both intra-and extracellular levels of glutathione in cell cultures, human erythrocytes, glial cells, and peripheral blood lymphocytes. Increases in glutathione levels seen with ALA administration are not only from the reduction of oxidized glutathione (one of the functions of ALA) but also from the synthesis of glutathione.”
ALA is also beneficial in diabetes to treat and prevent the complications. It enhances glucose uptake in non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM), inhibits glycosylation (the abnormal attachment of sugar to protein), and has been used to improve diabetic nerve damage and reduce pain associated with that nerve damage
There is preliminary evidence that ALA, taken in the amount of 150-200mg daily for one month, improves visual function in people with glaucoma. ALA has been shown to inhibit the replication of the HIV virus in the test tube. ALA has been given to people who have eaten poison mushrooms, significantly increasing the survival rate. ALA is presently used in therapy for a variety of liver and kidney disorders due to free radical damage and has been used to treat cancer along with a pharmaceutical drug called Naltrexone. Dr. Burt Berkson reports evidence of pancreatic cancers with liver metastases recovering through ALA/Naltrexone treatment.
The amount of ALA used in research to improve diabetic neuropathies is 600-1800 mg per day and 200 mg per day for glaucoma. 200 mg per day is recommended for general antioxidant protection in healthy people.
Dosage: Because of its chelation effect, one should only cautiously exceed recommended dosages.