Alpha lipoic acid (scientific name 1,2-dithiolane-3-pentanoic acid) is a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant. ALA (alpha lipoic acid) rapidly and easily penetrates biomembranes of cells and organelles. Studies indicate that ALA supplements hold promise for treating various health problems, including glaucoma, and cataracts.
Alpha Lipoic Acid and Eye Therapy
Alpha lipoic acid is very strong antioxidant and this antioxidant effect is beneficial in improving eye conditions like cataract and glaucoma. An antioxidant combination, which includes alpha-lipoic acid, has been shown to deter cone and rod cell death in the eyes that are associated with seeing a spectrum of colors and light. A study revealed that the combination of alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin E helped prevent retinal cell death in animals with retinitis pigmentosa. ALA inhibited aldose reductase activity in the rat lens. The enzyme aldose reductase plays an substantial role in the development of cataracts in diabetes.
Cataracts are related with reduced antioxidant activity in the lens of the eye, and ALA is known to regenerate several important lens antioxidants, including glutathione. In vitro and animal-based study has shown that ALA can increase glutathione levels, as well as prevent cataract formation. Since alpha lipoic acid is both water-soluble and fat-soluble, it can get deep into the eye tissues and destroy free radicals that cause protein changes resulting in cataracts. L-buthionine (S,R)-sulfoximine is an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis, whose administration to newborn animals leads to the development of cataracts. An animal experiment; studied the effect of ALA, on cataract formation in L-buthionine (S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO)-treated newborn rats and found that a dose of 25 mg/kg bw protected 60% of animals from cataract formation.
Researches have shown that ALA can increase glutathione in red blood cells and lacrimal fluid of patients with glaucoma, and so, may hold some positive effect for treating glaucoma. Some findings indicates that 150 mg of ALA, taken daily for one month, significantly improves visual function in patients with glaucoma. Forty-five patients with stage I and II open-angle glaucoma were administered either 75 mg of ALA for 2 months or 150 mg for 1 month. A control group of 31 patients were administered just local hypotensive treatment. The important improvement of biochemical parameters, visual function, and the coefficient of efficacy of liquid discharge was observed in the participants administered the higher dose of ALA.