Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a substance with properties similar to those of vitamins, produced in a little amount by the human organism or delivered with some food products. Its main tasks are: an antioxidant effect, the role of a coenzyme in carbohydrate metabolism and participation in the synthesis of acetyl-CoA, a key compound during energy production. Another positive application of ALA is the support of the treatment of type 3 diabetes and angiopathy connected with it and the support of liver functions.
It is sometimes called a "versatile" antioxidant. Because of its chemical structure, it is both water- and fat-soluble, thanks to which it can be active in both environments, as well as inside and outside the cells. ALA has also been proven to increase the efficiency of other antioxidants (vitamin C and E), regenerating their antioxidant properties.
It is believed that the amounts of naturally synthesised in the organism or delivered with food are completely sufficient for normal metabolic processes. However, in order to fully take advantage of the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid's antioxidant potential, it is recommended to additionally supplement it.