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Alpha Lipoic Acid & Diabetes

Eighty percent of all diabetics are classified as type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetics. While type 1 diabetics must take insulin injections to live, type 2 diabetics commonly produce as much insulin as ever. The problem in type 2 diabetics is they have lost the ability to utilize their insulin.

In order for type 2 diabetics to recover their ability to utilize insulin, three steps are essential:

  1. Dietary modification: Saturated (trans) fats and refined sugar must be avoided while consuming foods that are easily metabolized (vegetables and fruits).
  2. An adequate exercise program: It must be vigorous enough to cause the body to better utilize the insulin.
  3. Adequate nutrition through proper diet and supplements: Even though most diabetic patients are overweight, they are malnourished.

The most common problem for diabetics is nerve damage closely followed by cardiovascular disease.

Alpha lipoic acid is indispensable in improving utilization of insulin and reversing nerve damage.

Nerve damage from diabetes causes muscle weakness which leads to an irregular heart rate and numbness with burning and extreme pain, especially in the fleet. The first symptom of nerve damage from diabetes may be foot drop caused by weakening muscles. Blindness, kidney failure, and amputations are all expected diabetic complications which are caused by arteriosclerotic disease and nerve damage.

There are no effective medicines for treating diabetes. However, there is now hope. Recent studies report that the antioxidant nutrient, alpha lipoic acid, can begin restoring nerve function after only four months of high dose treatment.

The first clear evidence that nutritional treatment can reverse the nerve damage done by diabetes was produced by a German team. Seventy-three type 2 diabetics from seven German medical centers were ultimately selected and randomly assigned to receive either 800/mg of alpha lipoic acid or a placebo (sugar pill). At study's end (four months), there was appreciable improvement in those taking alpha lipoic acid while no change was noted in the placebo group.

In 1993, Diabetes Care reported that gamma-linolenic acid from borage, black current seed, or oil of evening primrose would reduce the always-present inflammation in diabetes. Yet, so far it has not gained favor with traditional medicine. It is probably safe to assume alpha lipoic acid will meet the same fate.

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