The Sticky Truth

R-Lipoic acid naturally polymerizes into a glue-like substance

R-Lipoic acid (RLA) is a highly unstable compound that easily polymerizes into a sticky rubber or gluelike substance if it is not prepared, stored and processed correctly. 

RLA has the unique ability to homolytically (the process of breaking a bond in a molecule into two free radicals) cleave the S-S bond with exposure to light, heat pr moisture, resulting in free radicals, (atoms or molecules that have unpaired electrons) that polymerize into a chain of linear disulfides with the carboxyl groups free. This polymer was first reported in 1956, (at the Dept. of Chemistry at the University of Texas) and is a major issue for those who store, process and encapsulate R-Lipoic acid, as it drastically reduces shelf life and bio-availability. 


Issues with encapsulated and bottled RLA

Refrigerated capsules with unstabilized RLA can maintain potency for 6 months. However, polymerization begins to occur quickly in unrefrigerated capsules and powder and can reach 100% polymerization after just one hour in a hot car. The dissolution rate and bioavailability of RLA capsules and tablets can be adversely affected by polymerized RLA/ALA, even if no polymer is present. Polymerization can also occur in the low pH environment of the stomach. 

Few supplement companies have experience with RLA and are unaware of the myriad problems associated with its encapsulation and stability. The heat of friction and exposure to air during normal blending and encapsulation processes are sufficient to initiate the polymerization of both RLA and ALA, although the heat stability is slightly higher for the racemic mixture. GeroNova’s Bio-Enhanced® R-Lipoic acid is specifically designed to combat this issue.

Specifications for GeroNova’s Bio-Enhanced® R-Lipoic Acid

GeroNova’s Bio-Enhanced® R-Lipoic Acid is made with the highest purity material and has been independently analyzed to confirm the R/S ratio. The RLA content is typically >99.4%, SLA=0.2-0.6%, and ALA content >99.8%. Polymer content is typically 0.2-0.4%. 

After extensive R & D, GeroNova developed a low temperature, oxygen free, anhydrous process to reduce polymer content in bulk powder and capsules.  The result is a stable, non-hygroscopic, non-polymeric sodium salt form of RLA, now produced on an industrial scale. The material does not require any special handling or refrigeration. The shelf life is at least 3 years.



This process also increases the bio-availability to 21 times higher than regular RLA. It can be easily stored and taken orally without worrying about polymerization or degradation.