Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University and the University of Washington said that their study in mice cannot be directly extrapolated beyond the laboratory but they strongly suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may be useful as an inexpensive but effective intervention strategy.
The study, published in Circulation, 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.
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 the research wouldn't be obtainable by any normal diet and for human consumption might equate to supplements of about 2,000 milligrams per day but even at low, normal, dietary levels, the compound can play a key role in energy metabolism, the researchers said.
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