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  1. #1
    iceman11111 is offline Junior Member
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    Apr 2002

    Thumbs up A Great ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) Article!!!!

    by Bodybuilder Derek Charlebois

    Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has been getting a lot of attention lately. Making more and more people try it. From what I read and what other people have told me, ALA sounds like a great supplement. So I decided to look into it for myself. It is important to research for yourself before jumping onto the latest trend. This allows you to fully, or at least try, to understand what you are taking. With that said, let's look in ALA.

    Other Names of ALA

    Lipoic acid
    Thioctic acid
    1,2-dithiolane-3-pentanoic acid
    1,2-dithiolane-3-valeric acid
    6,8-thioctic acid

    The History of ALA

    ALA was isolated in 1950 by Dr. Lester Reed of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas. From 1950 until the late 1980's, ALA was only looked at for its effect on glucose. But in the late 1980's, researchers discovered its powerful antioxidant properties. ALA as a Antioxidant. ALA is also known as "The Universal Antioxidant". It is known as this, because it is both water and fat soluble and can pass the brain blood barrier. This means it can be used throughout the body: muscles, fat, organs, brain. It also works on the inside and outside of cells, allowing it to destroy free radicals before the get into cells and once they are already in (1).


    (Taken from my fruit and vegetables article.)

    Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron. This gives them a strong electro-negativity or want to fill their electron shell. To complete their shell and become positive, free radicals will take an electron from another molecule or give an electron to another molecule. The molecule that gained or loss an electron is now a free radical. This is called oxidation. The new free radical now looks to make itself positive. It finds another molecule and completes oxidation. This sets off a chain reaction which can harm many molecules. Antioxidants stop this chain reaction from taking place. Some antioxidants give the free radicals an electron. Others destroy the free radical. Free radicals can cause a variety of negative effects, so it is important to get rid of them. Fruits and vegetables are known for their antioxidants.

    Not only is ALA a powerful antioxidant itself, but can also enhance the effectiveness of other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, glutathoine, and coenzyme Q10. Antioxidants are either in reduced or oxidized form. An antioxidant is in its reduced form when it has an extra electron to give. Once an antioxidant has come into contact with a free radical, they return to their oxidized form. ALA gives up its extra electron to oxidized glutathoine or vitamin C, returning them to their reduced form where they can fight off free radicals. Vitamin C in turn can regenerate vitamin E to its reduced form. The process is known as the redox cycle. Adding ALA as a supplement greatly enhances your body's overall ability to fight off free radicals. That in itself makes it an excellent supplement!

    Disease Fighting


    ALA how been shown to stop the HIV virus from replicating in test tubes. Testing is still be done to see how the supplement effects HIV positive patients. It is known though, that people who are HIV positive have a weaken immune system. ALA's powerful antioxidant properties make it a must for HIV patients. Studies show that glutathoine levels were greatly increased in HIV patients who supplemented with ALA.


    ALA has been shown to prevent cataracts in rats, improve visual functions of people with Glucoma, and prevent the eyes from degeneration.

    Nervous System Diseases

    ALA is a protector of the nervous system. It might also be involved in nerve regeneration. Because of this, studies are being done to see how ALA affects patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

    ALA and the LIVER!

    Two "hopeless" patients lay in hospital beds. Both are diagnosed with incurable liver disease. One doctor thought to try a "new" product that had not really been tested. As a result, the patients made full recoveries. What was this magical drug? ALA! (2). ALA has been used to cure liver damage caused by poisonous mushrooms, alcohol, metal detoxification, and other poisonings. All this is possible because ALA can remove toxic minerals from the body (3).

    Dietary Sources of ALA

    ALA is found in:

    Red meats (The richest of all food sources in ALA)
    Spinach (Popeye knew what he was doing)
    Potatoes (Particularly the skin)
    Well, I hope this wet your appetite to the world of Alpha Lipoic Acid. In part two of this series, you will explore why ALA has become popular with bodybuilders.

  2. #2
    iceman11111 is offline Junior Member
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    Apr 2002
    Before we get into ALA, let's take a look at what happens to food when it enters the body.

    A normal meal:

    1. Food is consumed.
    2. This food is converted into glucose for energy.
    3. Insulin is released by the pancreas to shuttle the glucose into muscle and fat cells (assuming liver glycogen levels are full). Once the muscle cells are full, all excess glucose is shuttled to fat cells.

    Now let's look at a meal taken with ALA:

    1. Food is consumed.
    2. This food is converted into glucose for energy.
    3. Insulin is released by the pancreas to shuttle the glucose into muscle and fat cells. Once the muscle cells are full, all excess glucose is shuttled to fat cells.

    Now this is where ALA comes into play. In order for glucose to be carried into cells, it must be attached to insulin. ALA is shown to have an insulin mimicking effect. So then more glucose would be shuttled to fat cells because the muscle cells are full, right? Wrong! Studies show that ALA increases Glut-4 transporters on the outside of muscle cells. This means more glucose can be shuttled into muscle cells and away from fat cells. Studies show that the amount of glucose shuttled to your muscles can increase from 50-60%. For those who are not that good in math: This means if you ate 100 carbs and originally without ALA, 40 grams of glucose went to your muscles cells and the rest, 60 grams, went to fat cells. Now, by supplementing with ALA, you have the power to send 60 grams of glucose and only 40 to fat cells. That is a big difference! How you ask.

    Insulin Effect

    ALA has an insulin like effect. It does not take the place of insulin, only mimics it. (To learn about insulin and its effects you can read my Insulin article). ALA has been shown to increase glucose uptake by mimicking insulin and shuttling it to Glut-4 receptors as mentioned above. Because ALA has increased the number of Glut-4 receptors on the outside of the muscle, more glucose can be absorbed.

    Effects of Increased Glucose Uptake

    This increase of glucose does many positive things. These include:

    1. Increased pump
    2. Less fat accumulation
    3. Increases Amino Acid transport
    4. Increases creatine
    5. Increased insulin sensitivity
    6. Increased Pump

    The increased pump is due to the increase in glucose uptake. Not only does this feel great, but it also contributes to muscle growth. By increasing the muscle cells volume, but nutrients are able to be shuttled to the muscle. Hence increased muscle growth.

    Less Fat Accumulation

    Again, due to the increase in glucose uptake by muscles cells, less glucose is stored as fat. ALA also lowers one's blood sugar levels, creating a more suitable atmosphere for fat burning.

    Increased Amino Acid and Creatine Uptake

    This comes back to the increased pump. Because the muscle cells are in an enlarged state, more amino acids and creatine can reach them. Insulin increases amino acid and creatine uptake. Remember, ALA mimics insulin, which means it also increases amino acid and creatine uptake. There are a ton of creatine products on the market that are loaded with sugar. This is because sugar causes an insulin spike, which carries the creatine to muscle cells. The problem with this is an excess amount of sugar with cause you to gain fat. By supplementing with ALA you can carry more creatine to muscle cells without swallowing 75+ grams of sugar. I still recommend taking a simple sugary carb after your workout, but ALA can increase creatine uptake while you take a lower amount of sugar. This is very important for those who are cutting. They can get the same effects post workout without having to worry about storing excess carbs as fat.

    Increased Insulin Sensitivity

    This is great news for bodybuilders! When I go on a bulking cycle. I find that about after two months, my gains slow drastically. One way to combat this is to go on a brief cutting cycle to and your insulin sensitivity rebuild. Supplementing with ALA could allow you to add more mass as a result of your insulin sensitivity not reducing.

    Results During Cutting vs. Bulking

    Results will differ depends on your diet. If you are bulking, you can expect to less fat and more muscle gain because of ALA nutrient partitioning effect.

    Results from cutting are increased fat loss and a muscle sparing effect. Because your muscles are storing more glucose, your muscles will not become as depleted as they usually do when cutting. This helps you look full and not flat.

    Dosage (per day)

    200-600 mg will increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels. Lower than 200 mg won't give you noticeable effects, except for ALA antioxidant properties. 600 mg-1200 mg will give you an increase in #1 1200-2000 will give you an increase in #1 and more noticeable fat loss. 3000 mg is "said" (Not a fact, just what has worked best for ALA users) to be the ideal dose to assist in massive fat loss, increase in insulin sensitivity, and increasing glucose.

    I got these doses from experienced ALA users and other information I've read. They are a general ranges. It is best to divide you dosages up throughout the day. For example, if you are taking 1000 mg a day. You could take:

    300 mg with breakfast
    200 mg with a carb meal
    300 mg post workout
    200 mg with last meal

    It can be found on this website:

  3. #3
    OGPackin's Avatar
    OGPackin is offline Anabolic Member
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    Jun 2002
    South Florida
    Hey i recognize Big Cats profiles anywhere.. Iv posted it myself a few times. ALA, great stuff! Totally recommend taking it if ur not.


  4. #4
    showtime is offline Junior Member
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    Aug 2002
    that was a great article. thanks for posting.

  5. #5
    Shredder's Avatar
    Shredder is offline Associate Member
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    Sep 2001
    TAking Ala with chromium picolinate w/ a carb/protein drink or creatine/Humulin R will help the deliver the nutrients where it suppose to be not to fat.

  6. #6
    iceman11111 is offline Junior Member
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    Apr 2002

  7. #7
    djdjdjddjon's Avatar
    djdjdjddjon is offline Anabolic Member
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    Mar 2002
    very nice posts...gotta love this board

  8. #8
    iceman11111 is offline Junior Member
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    Apr 2002

  9. #9
    symatech's Avatar
    symatech is offline Retired Moderator
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    May 2002
    not where I want to be
    gotta love that ala

  10. #10
    Bigk is offline Junior Member
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    Oct 2001
    The Gym
    very interesting read, thanks alot!

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