Safe From Outside Influences
Another useful property of cyclodextrins is their protective action. Cyclodextrins shield numerous functional compounds against various external influences (such as low pH, oxygen, and light) that could compromise their effectiveness. These molecular-sized carriers are highly adept at stabilizing alpha-lipoic acid, which is also used in dietary supplements and in sports nutrition. This substance plays an important role in our cells, where it acts as an efficient free-radical scavenger, neutralizing aggressive oxygen molecules that are formed by cell metabolism and can damage the body. Furthermore, alpha-lipoic acid can regenerate other, spent antioxidants (vitamins C, E, coenzyme Q10). For competitive athletes whose bodies are worked to the extremes, it is essential to have the right functionality in their food. In addition to protein drinks and energy bars, there are special powder mixtures available which are designed to replenish the depleted reserves of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – including alpha-lipoic acid. This compound is not easily incorporated into powder products as it is very sensitive, especially to heat and in the presence of certain minerals. "Even in the dry state, it can polymerize, i.e. form long, chain-like structures," explains Reuscher "This chemical reaction causes the alpha-lipoic acid to lose its desired effect."