First let’s start by briefly discussing the benefits of using R-lipoic acid. It’s important to know that a sustained release lipoic acid formulation has a much different application versus an immediate release lipoic acid supplement, even though both are utilizing its highly potent antioxidant activity. In the simplest explanation, immediate release lipoic acid creates a sharp rise in blood levels and is therefore most useful for regulating blood sugars, managing weight and improving diabetic concerns. A sustained release (SR) lipoic acid, on the other hand, is beneficial for anti-aging support, mitochondrial health, neurological protection and optimal energy production.
It is also necessary to clarify that the R-form of lipoic acid (as opposed to the S-form) is the “active” form that is responsible for all of these health benefits. A supplement labeled only “Alpha Lipoic Acid” is typically a 50/50 blend of both forms, unless stated otherwise. In those circumstances, it essentially means that you are only getting 50% of the active ingredient. AOR avoids this confusion by providing a blend that is guaranteed to have a minimum 95% of R-lipoic acid in its formulations.
"Why did AOR discontinue its R+SR formulation and introduce the R+SR NAC product?" Well, quite simply, AOR saw the opportunity to make a better product in a more cost effective manner. Previously, the ability to make an SR capsule was outsourced to another company (meaning that AOR did not actually encapsulate the lipoic acid in its manufacturing facilities). Now, AOR is capable of using the SR encapsulation technology in-house, thereby drastically reducing the costs of manufacturing, processing and quality control. This change reduced the cost enough to add a significant amount of N-Acteyl-Cysteine (NAC) into the new formula and not affect the overall cost of the new R+NAC SR bottle. The discontinued formula contained 60 capsules per bottle with 150mg of R+Lipoic Acid per capsule, while the new formula has 90 capsules per bottle and 100mg of R+Lipoic acid per capsule – PLUS the addition of 400mg of NAC per capsule. Essentially you get the same amount of R+SR per bottle with the addition of 36 grams of NAC!
NAC is a precursor to glutathione, one of the most potent antioxidants found in our bodies. Together, R-lipoic acid and NAC act synergistically as ‘networking’ antioxidants, meaning that they help to maintain high levels of all antioxidants in the tissues. This leads to a greater protective effect, more youthful cells and more efficiently running mitochondria – all providing better results.
Otherwise, you can still rest assured that you are getting the exact same high quality ingredient and capsule dissolution as before. The new R+NAC SR formula is developed and proven to dissolve over an 8-hour period, the exact same dissolution time as the previous formulation of R+SR.
High-Dose vs. Low-Dose:
The difference between AOR’s R-Lipoic High Dose product and AOR’s ‘regular’ or lower dose R-lipoic acid is as simple as the names imply – each capsule contains a higher and lower dosage, respectively and comparatively. R-Lipoic High Dose contains 300mg R-Lipoic acid per capsule, whereas the R-Lipoic has 150mg per capsule.
The main advantage here is that fewer capsules of the High Dose formula are needed to achieve a therapeutic effect. For example, most research studies examining the benefits of lipoic acid in diabetic neuropathy and insulin resistance utilize anywhere from 1200mg-1800mg per day. As you can imagine, reaching these therapeutic levels with 150mg capsules forces you to ingest a high number of pills on a daily basis. If you are diabetic, R-lipoic High Dose is a great addition to AOR’s Ortho-Glucose II (a product that already contains a moderate amount of R-lipoic acid) with the addition of very few daily capsules. Speak with your physician for proper dosing of these products when used concomitantly and for appropriate monitoring of your health.
Lastly, the regular R-lipoic product provides a more flexible option for those wanting a more sustained, lower dose R+Lipoic Acid without the additional 400mg of NAC (i.e. for those supplementing with separate NAC products and not wanting to take even more NAC that is found in the R+NAC SR).
A few final notes on absorption and safety…
Lipoic acid is necessary for even those without disease. In fact, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends 200-400mg of Lipoic Acid per day for generally healthy individuals. For optimal benefit, lipoic acid appears to be best absorbed on an empty stomach (about 20% more lipoic acid is absorbed than if taken with food). Lipoic acid can also be considered extremely safe. Up to 1200 mg/day of lipoic acid has been supplemented orally for up to 2 years duration with no significant adverse effects. Moreover, an even higher oral dose of 1800 mg/day has been studied for 6 months and also found to be completely safe. So rest assured – a therapeutic dose of R-lipoic acid is safe and beneficial for many aspects of your health.
Have you had any experience with Lipoic Acid? Anything I may have missed? Leave a comment or question in the section below!
Ansar H, Mazloom Z, Kazemi F, Hejazi N.Effect of alpha-lipoic acid on blood glucose, insulin resistance and glutathione peroxidase of type 2 diabetic patients. Saudi Med J. 2011 Jun;32(6):584-8.
Hagen TM, Ingersoll RT, Lykkesfeldt J, Liu J, Wehr CM, Vinarsky V, Bartholomew JC, Ames AB. (R)-alpha-lipoic acid-supplemented old rats have improved mitochondrial function, decreased oxidative damage, and increased metabolic rate.FASEB J 1999 Feb; 13(2): 411-8.
Linus Pauling Institute. www.lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/la/
Porasuphatana S, Suddee S, Nartnampong A, Konsil J, Harnwong B, Santaweesuk A. Glycemic and oxidative status of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus following oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid: a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled study.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2012;21(1):12-21.
Streeper RS, Henriksen EJ, Jacob S, Hokama JY, Fogt DL, Tritschler HJ. “Differential effects of lipoic acid stereoisomers on glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle.” Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul; 273(1 Pt 1): E185-91