Naturopaths at the Nardella Clinic of Calgary employ intravenous Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA) to address neurological issues typically associated with chronic diseases.
What is ALA?
ALA is an antioxidant that has the ability to activate other antioxidant molecules and helps to prevent the oxidation of other molecules, which can in turn, damage cells. Therefore, ALA also protects cells from the free radicals that can cause cell death.
ALA itself is fat soluble, which allows it to penetrate and cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) and extinguish free radicals through its antioxidant activity. Its molecular structure comprises a fatty acid molecule bound by two atoms of sulfur.
In the red blood cells, ALA can promote glutathione synthesis. Glutathione is another antioxidant that is produced in our bodies, which works on more than just nerve tissue. ALA has the ability to work synergistically with other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Nerve Pain Treatment
Clinic Naturopathic Doctors use ALA in particular due to its high level of benefit for any nerve-related symptoms (i.e. tingling, numbness and in particular, pain). Diabetic-induced peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain) is a common symptom that ALA can benefit. In neuropathy related to diabetes, chronic infection or chemotherapy, ALA scavenges the free radicals causing oxidative damage on the peripheral nerves and promotes glutathione regeneration to protect the nerve lining from inflammation.
Naturopathic Doctors also know that there are advantages to using ALA for neuropathy from chemotherapy and radiation, chronic infection such as Lyme disease, chronic kidney and liver disease, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, alcoholism and much more.
ALA is also advantageous in Multiple Sclerosis. It helps to prevent relapsing and remission of symptoms. The theory is that ALA prevents immune attack on the myelin sheath of nerve cells by altering the movement of immune cells to the central nervous system. Studies have also shown that ALA can prevent atrophy of destruction of the brain in patients with MS.
Thyroid Conditions and Diabetes
Additional research is showing that ALA can also be beneficial in patients with hyperthyroidism and autoimmune thyroid conditions. Interestingly, research is also showing that ALA can help to improve blood vessel dilation in patients with Type II Diabetes.
Naturopathic patients at the Nardella Clinic of Calgary have found relief and success with intravenous ALA therapies. One group includes those naturopathic patients on the “platin” group of chemotherapeutic agents, which tend to cause a lot of peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage in the fingers and toes. In this case ALA is administered away from chemotherapeutic agents to ensure that efficacy of these medications is not compromised. The second group of naturopathic patients includes those with Lyme disease that has manifested in the nerves leading to pain and numbness and tingling. Another group includes patients who have advanced diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy.