This supplement could help healthy obese people lose weight effectively

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In a recent study at Oregon State University and elsewhere, researchers found that a compound given as a dietary supplement to healthy overweight people caused many of the patients to slim down.

The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition. One authoris is Balz Frei.

In the study, the team analyzed the effects of 24 weeks of daily, 600-milligram doses of lipoic acid supplements on 31 people, with a similarly sized control group receiving a placebo.

The results clearly showed a loss in body weight and body fat in people taking lipoic acid supplements. Particularly in women and in the heaviest participants.

The researchers also found that people who lost weight on lipoic acid also reduced their blood triglyceride levels.

By the end of the study, some markers of inflammation declined. The findings also suggest that lipoic acid supplementation provides a mild reduction in oxidative stress.

The team says identifying which patients will benefit the most from lipoic acid supplementation, and how much they need, is important for both clinical and economic reasons.

Produced by both plants and animals, lipoic acid sets up shop in cells’ mitochondria, where it’s normally attached to proteins involved in energy and amino acid metabolism.

A specialized, medium-chain fatty acid, it’s unique in having two sulfur atoms at one end of the chain, allowing for the transfer of electrons from other sources.

The body generally produces enough lipoic acid to supply the enzymes whose proper function requires it.

When taken as a dietary supplement, lipoic acid displays additional properties that might be unrelated to the function of the mitochondria.

They include the stimulation of glucose metabolism, antioxidant defenses and anti-inflammatory responses — making it a possible complementary treatment for people with diabetes, heart disease and age-related cognitive decline.

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