Antioxidant compounds fulfill a vital function by protecting cells against the damage that free radicals cause. Alpha-lipoic acid or ALA has antioxidant activity and is also found in some foods. The body naturally produces a small amount of ALA, but we can increase our stores by eating vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli. Some people also choose to take ALA supplements. As we age, our bodies produce less alpha-lipoic acid.
The benefits of ALA stem primarily from its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight damaging free radical cells in the body, which develop from environmental toxins, stress, inflammation, aging, and other less-than-ideal factors such as dietary choices. If oxidative stress and free radicals are not balanced by antioxidants, it can lead to cell and tissue damage that increase the risk of health problems, including cancer. Oxidative stress also contributes to aging.
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