Friday, January 25, 2013

Environmental Toxins and Bone Loss: How Lipoic Acid can Help

Exposure to toxins in our environment can cause serious health issues. Heavy metals, bisphenols, pesticides, and phthalates are ubiquitous and impossible to avoid. These toxins are known to increase our risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurological disorders, and yes, osteoporosis. What can be done to reduce these risks? Eating organic and avoiding toxic environments (e.g. second hand smoke and highways...take your runs/walks in the woods!) are good places to start. You can also supplement with natural compounds such as spirulina and chlorella which are considered superfoods because they are loaded with essential fatty acids, enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants, and have potent detoxifying properties. Spirulina and chlorella (see our Osteo-pHBalance) have the ability to bind with toxic heavy metals and rid them from the body. Heavy metals can cause osteoporosis because they bind to bone, interfere with bone cell activity, and decrease formation of the hydroxyapatite crystal. This in turn lowers bone density and increases fracture risk.

In a Serbian study published in Toxicology and Industrial Health, Nikolic et al. tested the effects of lipoic acid on rats that had been exposed to lead, cadmium and copper. Rats exposed to these heavy metals had reduced red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit (up to 30%). They found that "treatment with lipoic acid and glutathione [a powerful antioxidant in the body that is restored by lipoic acid] reduced the toxic effects of these metals in all cases." The reason OsteoStim has a full 300 mg of alpha lipoic acid is because of its powerful antioxidant capacity. This essential cofactor for mitochondrial activity and energy production protects us from oxidative damage and helps reduce the damaging effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines that hyper-stimulate osteoclast activity and cause excessive bone loss. With this study we see another benefit of lipoic acid--that of helping to lower the toxic effects of heavy metals.

Nikolic R. et al., Monitoring the toxic effects of Pb, Cd and Cu on hematological parameters of Wistar rats and potential protective role of lipoic acid and glutathione. Toxicology and Industrial Health 2013; Jan 4 [Epub ahead of print].
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