Lipoic acid supplements may reduce atherosclerosis, weight gain

January 15th, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Jan 15(ANI): Researchers at Oregon State University have found that supplements of lipoic acid, a naturally occurring nutrient found at low levels in green leafy vegetables, potatoes and meats, especially organ meats such as kidney, heart or liver can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease affecting arterial blood vessels.

The study conducted on a mice model revealed that lipoic acid supplementation can restrain formation of arterial lesions, weight gain, lower triglycerides, and reduce blood vessel inflammation.

They strongly suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may be useful as an inexpensive but effective intervention strategy . . . reducing known risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory vascular diseases in humans, said the authors.

Researchers found that the mice given lipoic acid supplements simply chose to eat less than a control group that did not receive supplements, suggesting a reduced appetite.

In another test, mice that received supplements gained less weight than other mice in a control group that were given identical amounts to eat, suggesting a higher metabolic rate and enhanced activity levels.

The findings revealed that lipoic acid supplements reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation in two types of mice by 55 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

The supplements also diminished body weight by almost 40 percent and lowered triglycerides levels in very low-density lipoproteins and suggested higher metabolic rate and enhanced activity levels.

We are excited about these results, particularly since the supplements of lipoic acid appear to provide several different mechanisms to improve cardiovascular health, said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute.

They are helping in a fundamental way to reset and normalize metabolic processes, in ways that could help address one of the most significant health problems in the Western world, he added.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, has become a chronic inflammatory disease and is a leading cause of death in the United States.

The process that begins during adolescence and can continue for a lifetime has been linked to obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic predisposition and other causes. The fatty deposits in arteries can ultimately trigger a heart attack or stroke.

According to the researchers high levels of lipoic acid may also work as an antioxidant, and helps in normalizing insulin signaling and glucose metabolism.

From what we understand, this supplement would be most valuable as a preventive mechanism before people have advanced cardiovascular disease. However, it may help retard the process at any stage, and may also be of value in treating diabetic complications, said Frei.

Weight gain and obesity is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease, and lower weight and abdominal fat may be one of the mechanisms by which lipoic acid has beneficial effects.”

Lipoic acid supplementation may be a promising approach to prevent weight gain and to lower cardiovascular disease risk in humans.

The study appears in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association (ANI)

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