Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lipoic Acid Could Reduce Atherosclerosis, Weight Gain

Date:
January 17, 2008
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
A new study done with mice has discovered that supplements of lipoic acid can inhibit formation of arterial lesions, lower triglycerides and reduce blood vessel inflammation and weight gain -- all key issues for addressing cardiovascular disease.

A new study done with mice has discovered that supplements of lipoic acid can inhibit formation of arterial lesions, lower triglycerides, and reduce blood vessel inflammation and weight gain -- all key issues for addressing cardiovascular disease.

Although the results cannot be directly extrapolated beyond the laboratory, researchers report that "they strongly suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may be useful as an inexpensive but effective intervention strategy . . . reducing known risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory vascular diseases in humans."

The findings were made by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University, and the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The study found that lipoic acid supplements reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation in two types of mice that are widely used to study cardiovascular disease, by 55 percent and 40 percent, respectively. The supplements were also associated with almost 40 percent less body weight gain, and lower levels of triglycerides in very low-density lipoproteins.

As a result, the authors concluded that "lipoic acid may be a useful adjunct in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic vascular diseases."

"We are excited about these results, particularly since the supplements of lipoic acid appear to provide several different mechanisms to improve cardiovascular health," said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute. "They are helping in a fundamental way to reset and normalize metabolic processes, in ways that could help address one of the most significant health problems in the Western world.

"These findings also reinforce the need for more comprehensive human studies," Frei said. "That will be the next step in our research, in double-blind, randomized, clinical studies during the next five years with Oregon Health and Science University."

Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring nutrient found at low levels in green leafy vegetables, potatoes and meats, especially organ meats such as kidney, heart or liver. The amounts used in this research would not be obtainable by any normal diet, researchers said, and for human consumption might equate to supplements of about 2,000 milligrams per day. Even at low, normal, dietary levels, the compound can play a key role in energy metabolism.

Atherosclerosis, or what used to be called "hardening of the arteries," is a long-term process that is now seen as a chronic inflammatory disease, which begins when certain types of white blood cells called monocytes bind to "adhesion molecules" on the walls of arteries. This in turn allows the monocytes to enter the arterial wall, there they become inflammatory macrophages that, in the presence of low density lipoprotein, or LDL, can transform into lipid-laden foam cells -- ultimately, an arterial fat deposit.

This chronic process often begins during adolescence, can continue for a lifetime, and has been linked to obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic predisposition and other causes. The fatty deposits in arteries can ultimately trigger a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers now believe that high levels of alpha lipoic acid can be particularly useful in preventing this process, by inhibiting the formation of the adhesion molecules. It can also lower triglycerides, another important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It may also function as an antioxidant, and helps to normalize insulin signaling and glucose metabolism.

"From what we understand, this supplement would be most valuable as a preventive mechanism before people have advanced cardiovascular disease," Frei said. "However, it may help retard the process at any stage, and may also be of value in treating diabetic complications."

Also of considerable interest, Frei said, is the apparent role of lipoic acid supplementation in reducing weight gain. It appears to have this effect both through appetite suppression, an enhanced metabolic rate, and -- at least in laboratory animals -- has been shown to stimulate higher levels of physical activity, which again would increase caloric expenditure and further reduce weight.

Mice given lipoic acid supplements simply chose to eat less than a control group that did not receive supplements, suggesting a reduced appetite. In another test, mice that received supplements gained less weight than other mice in a control group that were given identical amounts to eat, suggesting a higher metabolic rate and enhanced activity levels.

Weight gain and obesity is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease, and lower weight and abdominal fat may be one of the mechanisms by which lipoic acid has beneficial effects, Frei said. The study concluded that "lipoic acid supplementation may be a promising approach to prevent weight gain and to lower cardiovascular disease risk in humans."

Although some of the most compelling research with lipoic acid research has been done in mouse models, scientists say, there should be a reasonable extrapolation to humans, because the lipoprotein profile is similar, as well as the composition of the atherosclerotic lesions. These mouse models are routinely used in studies of human atherosclerosis.

The full study was recently published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Lipoic Acid Could Reduce Atherosclerosis, Weight Gain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080114162506.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2008, January 17). Lipoic Acid Could Reduce Atherosclerosis, Weight Gain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080114162506.htm
Oregon State University. "Lipoic Acid Could Reduce Atherosclerosis, Weight Gain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080114162506.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins