Also of considerable interest, Frei said, is the apparent role of lipoic acid supplementation in reducing weight gain. It appears to have this effect both through appetite suppression, an enhanced metabolic rate, and at least in laboratory animals has been shown to stimulate higher levels of physical activity, which again would increase caloric expenditure and further reduce weight.
Mice given lipoic acid supplements simply chose to eat less than a control group that did not receive supplements, suggesting a reduced appetite. In another test, mice that received supplements gained less weight than other mice in a control group that were given identical amounts to eat, suggesting a higher metabolic rate and enhanced activity levels.
Weight gain and obesity is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease, and lower weight and abdominal fat may be one of the mechanisms by which lipoic acid has beneficial effects, Frei said. The study concluded that lipoic acid supplementation may be a promising approach to prevent weight gain and to lower cardiovascular disease risk in humans.
Although some of the most compelling research with lipoic acid research has been done in mouse models, scientists say, there should be a reasonable extrapolation to humans, because the lipoprotein profile is similar, as well as the composition of the atherosclerotic lesions. These mouse models are routinely used in studies of human atherosclerosis.
|Contact: Balz Frei|
Oregon State University