Hi! Hoping all had a merry Christmas and will have a wonderful New Year, full of everything good, and the strength to do everything possible for vibrant and glowing health and happiness. !
Been asked by lots of people to elaborate on the short report about an easy to get hold of supplement, Lipoic acid, in MS, that was part of this blog post; most importantly, where to get supplies of the dose that was used in the study ( 1,200mg daily).
“Lipoic acid for neuroprotection in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: results of a randomised placebo-controlled pilot trial,1” was reported on by Dr. Rebecca Spain, MD, MSPH, a neurologist in the Oregon Health & Science University Multiple Sclerosis Center, also working with the VA Portland Health Care System, at ECTRIMS 2016.
Pic source: http://www.desimd.com
Patients in the study had secondary progressive MS, were, on average, 58.5 years old, and had an average Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 6. ( walking with 1 stick)
The trial was randomised; around half (27) took 1,200 mg of lipoic acid, around half (24) took a placebo for 96 weeks, and neither the patients nor the clinicians knew who was taking which. They measured brain atrophy ( shrinkage), which is a way of showing loss of neurones in the central nervous system, and also neurodegeneration in the spinal cord and eye, neurological functions, cognition, walking, fatigue, and quality of life.
Five participants in the lipoic acid group, equaling 9.8 percent, quit the study early, but the remaining patients took about 80 percent of their daily lipoic acid doses.
Researchers found that the annualized rate of whole brain tissue loss was significantly lower in patients receiving lipoic acid. After two years, treated patients had lost about 0.4 percent of their total brain volume, while those in the control group lost 1.3 percent during the same time; brain atrophy was reduced by 66%, almost to within normal limits. Those receiving lipoic acid were also found to walk faster, and had half the number of falls.
The treatment did not increase the occurrence of adverse events, but researchers noted that lipoic acid was linked to more stomach problems.
The author, Rebecca Spain when interviewed by Multiple Sclerosis News Today, said,
“The slowing of whole brain atrophy was remarkable. We can use this pilot study as the basis for designing a multisite clinical trial, which will help us answer questions about how lipoic acid works and whether it can indeed improve clinical outcomes for people,”
So; what is the mode of action of Lipoic acid?
Why might it be working so well in MS, and where can you get hold of higher doses?
Lipoic acid is an anti-oxidant, meaning that it helps to protect cells, including those in the brain, against damage from ‘oxidants’, or ‘free radicals’ which are unstable, oxygen-containing molecules, that damage other cells to protect themselves. Free radicals are both produced in the body as a result of metabolism, energy creation and, importantly, inflammation, and also come from environmental factors, such as air pollution, radiation, UV light and cigarette smoke. Anti-oxidants can help to fend off viruses and microbes, but an imbalance, with too many anti-oxidants, has been linked to the development of more than 50 diseases, the most commonly discussed being heart disease and cancer.
In food, antioxidants are present in various degrees in all plant-based food; a 2010 study analysing the anti-oxidant content of over 31,000 foodstuffs begins ‘A plant-based diet protects against chronic oxidative stress-related diseases’
and goes on to report a ‘several thousand-fold differences in antioxidant content of foods. Spices, herbs and supplements include the most antioxidant rich products in our study, some exceptionally high. Berries, fruits, nuts, chocolate, vegetables and products thereof constitute common foods and beverages with high antioxidant values.
So daily diet, as always, is super important, and nothing can replicate the benefits of eating the nutrients from real, fresh food; in this case, berries, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The range is as important as the quantity, so ‘Eat the Rainbow’
But if you want to replicate this study, where participants took 1,200mg of supplemental lipoic acid, you need to find a high dose ( and probably, reasonably priced) supplement. If money is no object, then it’s a good idea to spend more and buy from a reputable, high-end source. If, like me, you need to keep an eye on the pennies, then I’ve done a scout round for cheap, high dose, vegetarian.
I don’t have any vested interest in any supplement companies, and am not qualified to judge their products or to recommend supplements; you always need to take your own responsibility for your choices, based on your condition. However, lipoic acid seems to be a safe supplement.
A scout around the internet produced a few brands that make 600mg tablets, which would give a dose of 1,200mg with 2 tablets daily. I always go for a vegetarian friendly option, and came up with these via Amazon.co.uk
‘Doctor’s Best’ from i-herb, at £8.11 for 60 veggie capsules
‘Natrol’ timed release, via amazon, at £9.95 for 60 timed release veggie capsules
I am going to be protecting my brain, I hope you’ll protect yours!
Hope this helps!
all the best,
Thanks miranda very interesting good to hear fr0m you take care x
Thanks Lyn! All the best for 2017 x
Reply from Stephen Walker
Thank you for your timely reminder as to why I was taking lipoic acid supplements.
I have become increasingly concerned about brain atrophy and how it is affecting my cognitive function. To the extent that I had stopped taking lipoic acid because I had forgotten why I was taking it. Duh!
I have now resumes my 1200mg per day.
Good! Glad to hear it Stephen! Hope the New year is good to you
Thanks for this Miranda, it sounds so interesting. I will definitely be adding lipoic acid to my supplement regime. Happy 2017 😊
Thankyou Jenny! All the very best
Doesn’t flaxseed oil contain ALA – Alpha Lipoic Acid?
it’s so confusing, but the ALA in flax oil is alpha Linoeic acid, which is different from alpha lipoic acid!
I followed your advice the first time that you blogged about ALA. Possibly 2-3 years ago?
I have only ever taken Doctors Best 600mg, as I did try another brand in the beginning, that didn’t agree with me (bad acid) I have to say the ones I take are not cheap, but I feel that this supplement is the best money that I spend. For me taking this is keeping my MS at bay in so many ways! I follow a clean diet, drink water until its coming out of my Ears! I have recently started fasting. My digestive system is working great! B12, flaxseed capsule, ginger tea (home made every day) and last but not least 3tsps of apple cider vinegar of which I put in my ginger Tea. ALA is the first thing that I take religiously every single day before anything touches my lips! Having MS is a full time job, but one that gets me up at 7 every day and I finish most nights at 9pm! The DWP think that this is not gainful employment, for me it is!
HI Fiona, sounds great! Thanks for your input! I also think intermittent fasting is a fantastic aid to health, and there is some research on its benefits in auto-immune disease and MS. I do a lot of mini fasts. Wishing you the best of health, Miranda
Thanks for your response much appreciated! Its good to know that I am doing the right thing regarding my MS. I have watched to many family members both pass away and be eaten alive with this destructive illness. I had so much/too much MS in my life hence why whatever life has thrown at me I took control of My MS and planned a route! and thankfully as brought me in to the present day, which incidentally I take one day at at a time. If only one size fits all when it comes to MS? I had to own my own MS! and trust me I hate the suffering that I see/saw and I am so happy that MS has you! Because I know that you are doing the Best for MS and all your Patients. Its International womens Day today and you are a fine example!! Fiona.