Alpha-lipoic acid (thioctic acid) is a powerful antioxidant and free-radical scavenger. It is also an essential cofactor for mitochondrial enzymes that stimulate energy production. Unlike other antioxidants that act only in water (such as vitamin C) or fat (vitamin E), alpha-lipoic acid can access all areas of the body…even the fatty contents of your bone marrow. This is important because it is within your marrow that cellular “coupled” activity determines the health and density of your bones. Alpha-lipoic acid can help maintain balance between the osteoclasts that tear down bone and the osteoblasts that form bone.
The following are some of the powerful benefits related to bone health that we have seen with alpha-lipoic acid:
– Protects against oxidative stress which is part of the inflammatory process that
drives bone loss.
– Reduces the proinflammatory cytokines (Il-1, Il-6, TNF-alpha) that stimulate
– Lowers NF-kB, the protein that commands a cell’s nucleus to turn on
– Reduces RANKL, the signaling molecule that activates osteoclasts.
– Activates the enzyme AMPK (a negative regulator of RANKL) in osteoclasts.
– Inhibits the production of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) seen with
elevated glucose levels. AGEs make bone stiff and vulnerable to breaking.
– Chelator of heavy metals that can cause bone loss.
– Suppresses osteoclast formation.
– Inhibits excess bone resorption.
A recent study conducted by Beyzagul, et al. out of Turkey used rats to assess the effect of alpha-
lipoic acid on bone metabolism. The researchers concluded that alpha-lipoic acid “had a protective effect on both senile [inflammation induced] and postmenopausal osteoporosis” and that it “may be a candidate for radical osteoporosis treatment.” This is one more study that we can add to the volumes of research before it showing the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for bone health.
Dietary sources of alpha-lipoic acid are minimal and endogenous (within the body) production, especially during times of stress or disease, is insufficient for controlling oxidative stress and promoting optimal energy production. This is why supplemental alpha-lipoic acid can be so beneficial and it is why we at OsteoNaturals include alpha-lipoic acid as a primary ingredient (300 mg) in our OsteoStim. Yes, as the authors of this study write, alpha-lipoic acid can be a “radical osteoporosis treatment”…but then, we’ve always known that OsteoNaturals formulas are way ahead of the curve.
Beyzagul P. et al. 2013. The effect of alpha-lipoc acid in ovariectomy and inflammation-mediated osteoporosis on the skeletal status of rat bone. Eur J Pharmacol doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.07.033. [Epub ahead of print]