Can Lipoic Acid Restore Circadian Rhythms?

Basis Thursday

Can Lipoic Acid Restore Circadian Rhythms?

  • For people who have been following me for a while, you know that I work a graveyard shift, so trying to improve my sleep and minimize disruption to my circadian rhythm is something I’ve been trying to tinker with (hence the sleep trackers)… so when I came across this headline, my interest was piqued.
  • This was also interesting to me because Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the supplements Tim Ferriss recommends as part of the PAGG stack in his 4 Hour Body book.
  • Unfortunately the article itself hasn’t been fully released yet so everything available at this moment are simply media releases.  The link I included is only for the abstract.
  • Here is the release put out by the university itself

Researchers fed laboratory animals higher levels of lipoic acid than might be attained in a normal diet, while monitoring proteins known to be affected by disruption of the circadian clock in older animals.

They found that lipoic acid helped remediate some of the liver dysfunction that’s often common in old age, and significantly improved the function of their circadian rhythms.

In previous research, scientists found that the amount of lipoic acid that could aid liver and normal lipid function was the equivalent of about 600 mg daily for a 150-pound human, more than could normally be obtained through the diet.

  • My understanding of this so far is, as organisms age (in this case rats) their circadian rhythm gets screwed up, and one place this gets screwed up is in the liver.  Taking lots of lipoic acid will help unscrew things up.
  • I still have a few questions of my own now:
    • Can this be applied to the circadian rhythm screw up that occurs with shift workers?
    • Does it apply to organs other than the liver?
      • My simple interpration of how the circadian system works is that every organ has a circadian rhythm, but it’s the hypothalamus… particularly the supra-chiasmatic nucleus (SCN) that is the master circadian rhythm governor.  If this guy get’s messed up, as with shift work, all the individual circadian rhythms in the individual organs start doing their own thing
    • Does timing of ingestion matter?
    • Does timing of ingestion + timing of light exposure have a greater effect?
      • Light is what helps to reset the SCN
  • In any case… the next step for me will be to get my hands on the actual article itself when it’s officially released.

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