Pareto Nutrition is currently the only PAGG stack supplier on the market to include R-alpha-lipoic acid, the more powerful, stable, faster acting, and naturally occurring form of ALA. While others say they use R-ALA, check their ingredient labels, if it doesn't say "R-alpha-lipoic acid" you're not getting what you want.
Never heard about Na-R-ALA or why it makes such a difference? Here's why you should insist your stack has it.
Na-R-ALA: More powerful, faster, all natural
We hope you’re ready for a little science lesson. If you examine the research on ALA you’ll quickly learn that it comes in two varieties S-ALA and R-ALA. The difference between these forms has to do with the shape of the molecule. Even though all ALA molecules are built with the same components, they differ in one critical aspect: they are enantiomers; that is, their atoms are arranged in a mirror image of each other.
An easy way to think of this is to compare your left and right hands. They both have the same number of fingers, yet the thumbs point in different directions. For most of us one hand tends to work a lot better than the other.
Only the R-ALA form occurs naturally. In fact, S-ALA never even existed prior to 1952 when it was chemically born in a University of Illinois laboratory. ALA was synthesized using a process that produced both S-ALA and R-ALA in a 50/50 mix. This is what chemists refer to as a racemic mixture.
The vast majority of early studies on ALA were done using the R-ALA/S-ALA combination. These were the years when scientists discovered the essential role that R-ALA plays in cellular metabolism, it took decades to discover that R-ALA is the biologically active form of ALA that is responsible for the positive health benefits they had seen in hundreds of studies. R-ALA actually converts to the active form R-DHLA in the body 28 times faster than S-ALA and is more quickly and completely absorbed.
S-ALA is generally considered safe and non-toxic. Up until recently researchers assumed that if you simply used half the R-ALA as standard ALA racemic mix you would get the same results. But several studies over the last decade have suggested that S-ALA competes with R-ALA in the body and may actually limit the overall effect of ALA supplementation. According to the evidence, eliminating the S-ALA will elicit an more powerful effect. By reducing the total number of milligrams per dose you also greatly reduce any chance of gastrointestinal side-effects such as acid reflux.
Na-R-ALA - Let's get stabilized
If this was all there was to the story, we could just use R-ALA in our product. Handled carefully and used in capsules, this is a fair option. R-ALA isn't perfect though. When exposed to heat it can polymerize, which means the molecules melt together and form something like a glue. If this happens, you'll end up losing 90% of your absorption. This can be avoided by taking good care of the ingredient during production. It's also vital to use capsules and the correct encapsulation machinery to make sure that heat from friction doesn't cause this unwanted reaction to happen. Many of our customers report poor results when using R-ALA in tablets, and it's common for the friction and pressure from making tablets to cause problems, which is another good reason to insist on capsules.
Stabilizing the R-ALA molecule by adding a sodium ion increases the polymerization temperature from the mid-40 degrees Celsius to well-over 200 degrees Celsius. It also increases absorption by improving the solubility of R-ALA.
Though it costs significantly more as a raw ingredient, our PAGG Stack contains 215mg of pure Na-R-ALA instead of 300mg of racemic ALA, or 150mg of R-ALA. This results in a more pure, natural and effective product.
Hornberger CS, Heitmiller RF, Gunsalus IC, Schnakenberg GHF, Reed LJ. Synthetic Preparation of Lipoic Acid. J. Am. Chem. Soc. (1952) 74(9) 2382-2382. DOI: 10.1021/ja01129a511
Hiraizumi G (1959). "Alpha Lipoic Acid Metabolism in Various Diseases. II. The Urinary Excretion and Serum level of Alpha Lipoic Acid in Patients with Various Diseases". Bitamin 18(1): 184–8.
Packer L, Kraemer K, Rimbach G (October 2001). Molecular aspects of lipoic acid in the prevention of diabetes complications. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.) 17(10): 888–95.
Hermann, R.; Niebch, G.; Enantioselective pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of different racemic alpha lipoic acid formulations in healthy volunteers. Eur J Pharm Sci 4: 167-174 1996
Teichert J, Hermann R, Ruus P, Preiss R. Plasma kinetics, metabolism, and urinary excretion of alpha-lipoic acid following oral administration in healthy volunteers. J Clin Pharmacol. 2003; 43(11):1257-1267
Ulrich H, Weischer CH, Engel J, Hettche H. Pharmaceutical compositions containing R-alpha-lipoic acid or S-alpha.-lipoic acid as active ingredient. US 6,271,254 2001
Streeper RS, Henriksen EJ, Jacob S, Hokama JY, Fogt DL, Tritschler HJ (July 1997). Differential effects of lipoic acid stereoisomers on glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle. The American journal of physiology 273 (1 Pt 1): E185–91.