Vitamin N is thought to be vitamin having chemical names thioctic acid or alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid is the sulfur-containing fatty acid. It is present intracellularly in the body, and here in the cells, it causes generation of energy which is necessary to keep our body functioning normally and alive. It is an antioxidant that is synthesized in our body. Lipoic acid is an important component of the metabolic machinery which produces energy from glucose necessary for us. This α-lipoic acid is soluble in water as well as in lipids.
Our body itself synthesize this vitamin N especially the α-lipoic acid. So it is not necessarily to be taken from food sources. However, it may be found in the following food sources: liver, heart, kidney, broccoli, spinach and the yeast extracts.
- This vitamin N acts as an antioxidant and it attacks the free radicals and other reactive oxygen species that are very dangerous to the body. Therefore, by this action, it prevents the liver damage, heart damage and also various other organs from the damages caused by these free radicals. It acts in the water areas of the cells as well as in the fatty acid and detoxifies the harmful substances. It works along with vitamin E and vitamin C in providing this important antioxidant function. It also causes recycling of the other antioxidants so they remain available in good amount in the body.
- Vitamin N is also necessary for oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvic acid and alpha-ketoglutaric acid.
- It has been found to be beneficial in treating type 2 diabetes mellitus because of its increases the glucose breakdown or burning.
- Alpha lipoic acid or thioctic acid functions in the body in 2 ways:
- It causes conversion of food into energy and provides protection by its antioxidant action.
- It is found to be essential in the citric acid cycle.
- This vitamin N assists in the production of cellular energy which is the ATP. It does this process by working as a catalyst and produces the acetyl-coenzyme. So its main function is to provide energy to the body.
- It plays an important function in the mitochondria which is the energy-producing organelles in cells.
- The alpha lipoic acid helps in protecting the mitochondria as well as the genetic element of the body, the DNA.
- Being soluble in lipid and water, vitamin N can readily enter all parts of the cell and then provide protection there within lipid cell membrane and in water compartments and also in the nucleus. This function is important for preventing aging.
- This vitamin also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent as it can rapidly enter the cells’ interior.
- It is found helpful in the treatment of burning mouth syndrome.
The therapeutic dosage of lipoic acid orally use for the treatment of diabetes complications is around 100mg-200 mg thrice daily.
If it is used as a general antioxidant 20mg-50 mg per day dosage is found beneficial daily and is also commonly recommended.
Deficiency of vitamin N rarely occurs. In case of its extreme deficiency, it will lead to loss of its antioxidant effects on the cells.
There is no such toxic effects seem when it is ingested in very large amount.