Alpha lipoic acid or thioctic acid is an antioxidant with far-reaching health benefits, so it isn’t surprising if you’re trying to increase your intake. The good news is many natural food sources have this nutrient and will make for interesting additions to your diet. But first, a round-up of what this antioxidant can do for you:
- Alpha lipoic acid plays a role in physiological functions as well as energy production in the body.2
- It also helps recycle other antioxidants like vitamin C and E as well glutathione.3 Levels of glutathione especially tend to decline with age and alpha lipoic acid may actually offer a way to counter this.4
- It may help the body fight oxidative stress and may be beneficial for conditions like diabetes, neurodegenerative conditions, cataract, and even radiation damage.5
- It could even have potential in protecting you against cardiovascular disease by helping manage risk factors like blood lipid levels and hypertension.6
- It may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of nerve damage in diabetics.
- It has been known to help cut down the frequency of migraine attacks in those prone to them.7
While considering food sources of this nutrient, what you need to know is that alpha lipoic acid is usually bound to protein molecules in dietary sources and is not available in free form. This makes it less easily available for your body to use. How these protein-bound forms of alpha lipoic acid found in foods are absorbed by the body – and how much the body is able to absorb – is something science is still studying.8 But having said that, the foods that follow contain alpha lipoic acid and are natural sources. Some of them may even already feature in your diet, so why not reap the benefits of alpha lipoic acid also in the bargain! Do note, since the dietary form of alpha lipoic acid is bound to the protein, it is indicated as lipoyllysine content in the list below.
Here’s another reason to eat your greens! There’s 3.2 mcg/g dry weight of lipoyllysine in spinach. Enjoy it in a soup or in a smoothie if you’re on the go. But if you truly appreciate the flavor of spinach, you may want to try it in stir-fries, in curries, with meat or beans in a casserole, or even in your pasta.