Nearly all researchers into the biology of aging agree that the decay of mitochondrial function is a major engine of the aging process.
Caloric restriction, with adequate nutrition, is the only proven way to slow down the fundamental aging process in mammals.
Lipoic acid has a reputation as an "anti-aging" supplement.
The "lipoic acid" in common supplements is a 50/50 mixture of two different "lipoic acid" molecules: the natural R(+)-lipoic acid, and the unnatural S(-)-form. This mixture is called the "racemate."
Many of the benefits of R(+)-lipoic acid closely mimic those of caloric restriction.
R(+)-lipoic acid's effects on mitochondrial function are its most striking and unique in parallel with caloric restriction.
A study in a short-lived strain of mouse demonstrated that R(+)-lipoic acid can dramatically increase its lifespan. Neither S(-)-lipoic acid, nor the racemate, had this power.
The National Institutes on Aging are currently funding studies to see if lipoic acid can truly slow down the aging process itself.
Common "lipoic acid" supplements are thus like a house at war with itself. The S(-)-form should be removed from supplements in favor of pure R(+)-lipoic acid.
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