Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an effective chelating agent for lead, mercury, arsenic, copper, excess iron, excess calcium, cadmium, and zinc. Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, copper, cadmium and arsenic can be very damaging to the body. Studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid is capable of chelating transition metals by forming stable complexes with manganese, copper, cadmium and zinc ions.
Alpha Lipoic Acid and Heavy Metal Chelation
ALA may reduce the toxicity from toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, and zinc ions. In vitro studies show that ALA, forms insoluble complexes with toxic metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. ALA, by binding to these substances, it pulls them out of circulation and facilitates their excretion, thereby preventing damage to body tissue. ALA is a true oral chelating agent that has been widely used in Europe in the therapy of heavy metal toxicity caused by chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride, arsenobenzoles, and mercuric chloride.
Alpha lipoic acid increases the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that plays a role in the detoxification and elimination of potential carcinogens and toxins. Alpha lipoic acid directly terminates free radicals, chelates transition metal ions, increases cytosolic glutathione and vitamin C levels, and prevents toxicities associated with their loss. ALA have shown efficacy in minimizing liver toxicity following exposure to toxic industrial chemicals such as n-hexane and heavy metals such as mercury, copper and lead. In animal-based studies, alpha lipoic acid has been shown to provide protection against arsenic poisoning and to safeguard the liver against the effects of cadmium exposure. Other study demonstrated that ALA helped protect the delicate nervous system against the deleterious effects of mercury poisoning. A study on mercury intoxication revealed an injection of 10 mg/kg/day Alpha-lipoic acid in rats inoculated with 1 mg/kg/day mercuric chloride prevented damage to nerve tissue caused by lipid peroxidation. In one study an intraperitoneal injection of 25 mg/kg alpha-lipoic acid given to rats for 7 days was able to significantly alter the oxidative stress induced by lead toxicity.