Can ALA Ease MS Stress? Emerg­ing Re­search Sug­gests “Yes”

Alternative Medicine - - Condition Spotlight - BY DAVID COYNE

Sci­ence has dis­cov­ered some ex­cit­ing ben­e­fits of al­pha lipoic acid (ALA) for mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis (MS). Re­search con­ducted by Ore­gon Univer­sity of Health and Sci­ence and pub­lished in Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis Jour­nal reveals that ALA has the po­ten­tial to re­duce in­flam­ma­tion de­vel­oped dur­ing the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease. In­flam­ma­tion dam­ages the body's cells, or­gans, and tis­sues, and it's linked to many other se­ri­ous health con­di­tions, such as can­cer and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease. MS is clas­si­fied as an au­toim­mune dis­or­der—th­ese types of dis­eases re­sult from the im­mune sys­tem mis­tak­enly at­tack­ing the body. Es­sen­tially, the im­mune sys­tem can no longer tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween healthy tis­sues and dan­ger­ous sub­stances like viruses, bac­te­ria, and tox­ins.

When MS oc­curs, pro-in­flam­ma­tory im­mune cells cross into the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem and strike the myelin, a pro­tec­tive sheath that sur­rounds nerves. As it pro­gresses, the dis­ease can trig­ger paral­y­sis, mus­cle stiff­ness, epilepsy, and de­pres­sion.

With 400,000 Amer­i­cans cur­rently af­fected, MS is more preva­lent in peo­ple of North­ern Euro­pean de­scent, and women are twice as likely as men to get it. Although peo­ple can de­velop MS at any age, most pa­tients are di­ag­nosed be­tween the ages of 20 and 50.

Sci­en­tists are still try­ing to find the an­swer to an im­por­tant, rel­e­vant ques­tion: What causes MS? At present, they be­lieve en­vi­ron­men­tal and ge­netic fac­tors play a role in the on­set of the dis­ease. Be­cause one of the key bi­o­log­i­cal mark­ers of MS is in­flam­ma­tion, it's not sur­pris­ing that sci­en­tists turned to study al­pha lipoic acid. It has al­ready come to the at­ten­tion of med­i­cal re­searchers be­cause of its pow­er­ful

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