Health Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Health Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is a naturally available compound that is prepared in the body. It is abbreviated as ALA, and there are a large number of health benefits.  It serves critical functions at the cellular level, like energy formation. If you are healthy, the body may create all the ALA it requires for these purposes. There has been plenty of recent interest in utilizing ALA supplements.  The supporters of alpha-lipoic acid make claims that range from advantages and influences for treating conditions like diabetes and HIV to promote weight loss.

Research on the health benefits of alpha-lipoic acid is diverse.  And you can say there are numerous potential health benefits of utilizing alpha-lipoic acid supplements.

ALA is a vitamin-like chemical known as an antioxidant. Liver, yeast, spinach, Brussel sprouts, and potatoes are ideal food sources of this acid.  Scientists also make it in the laboratory to use as medicine.

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid & Its Uses?

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant also called ALA, Biletan, Thioctan, Acetate Replacing Factor, and numerous other names. It is a naturally present fatty acid that can be available in a variety of foods like spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and organ meats like liver or kidney.

For decades, ALA has been used in alternative drugs as a possibly beneficial aid in weight loss, curing diabetic nerve pain, healing wounds, reducing blood sugar, maintaining skin discoloration because of vitiligo, and minimizing the risk of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

It may have been mixed with other plants or extracts in particular preparation for the treatment of these conditions.

It has also been utilized to cure rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's condition, alcoholic liver issues, altitude sickness, heart-related nerve disorders, HIV-related brain conditions, or eyesight issues because of diabetes.   But a study has indicated that alpha-lipoic acid may not be as efficient in treating these conditions as we think it is.

Other possible uses proven with research have involved treating migraine headaches, glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart issue, memory loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, leg pain due to sciatic nerve disturbance, or peripheral artery disease (PAD), skin anti-aging, and other conditions.

Alpha-lipoic acid is effective in treating the FDA has approved the particular medical condition as Medicinal uses of its supplements. You can use it in place of medication prescribed for you by the health care provider and your doctor.

It is typically sold as an herbal supplement.

You should buy ALA supplements from a reliable source to decrease the risk of contamination.  You can also use alpha-lipoic acid to treat many age-related problems.

How Does ALA Work?

Alpha-lipoic acid may help prevent certain kinds of cell damage in your body and restore vitamin E and vitamin C levels.  According to scientists, alpha-lipoic acid may regulate the function and conduction of neurons in diabetes.

In the cells of your body, ALA is transformed into dihydrolipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid is not similar to alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that improves heart health. There is a particular misconception between alpha-lipoic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, as both are often abbreviated as ALA. Alpha-lipoic acid is also sometimes called lipoic acid.

Alpha-lipoic acid is utilized in your body to break down carbohydrates for the formation of energy to maintain functions in your body. It is highly effective and works as an antioxidant.  It means that it may offer protection to your brain under conditions of pain or injury. The antioxidant influences may also be beneficial in specific liver diseases.

Health Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Numerous studies involving alpha-Lipoic acid have been associated with the prevention of diabetes and how to deal with diabetic nerve pain.

Additionally, many health care providers think that alpha-Lipoic acid may help to prevent or treat a large number of health conditions, such as alcoholic liver problem, HIV, Alzheimer's condition, bipolar issue, cardiac arrhythmia, abnormal blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, and erectile dysfunction, etc. there are enough studies available to support this claim.

Below is some of the more promising health benefits alpha-Lipoic acid;

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Weight Loss

A plethora of studies highlighted that alpha-Lipoic acid might influence weight loss in multiple ways. A research-based study shows that it may minimize the activity of the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).  It is present in your brain's hypothalamus.

When AMPK is more efficient, it may boost feelings of hunger. In fact, inhibiting AMPK activity may boost the number of calories your system curb at rest.  So, if you take more amount of alpha-Lipoic acid may burn more calories.

Most of the human highlight this fact that alpha-lipoic acid greatly influences on weight loss. An analysis of 10 studies indicated that individuals who consumed an alpha-lipoic acid supplement reduce an average of 1.4 2 pounds (0.60 kg). This amount was more than people who consumed a placebo over an average of 12 weeks. According to the same analysis, it may significantly impact waist circumference.

The analysis of 14 research-based studies indicated that individuals who consumed alpha-lipoic acid lost 2 pounds (1.2 kg) more than people consuming a placebo over 14 weeks.

Practically, it is a known fact that alpha-lipoic acid has a tremendous effect on weight loss in humans. Therefore, you can include it to boost your weight loss journey.

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Nerve Pain

Neuropathy is a medically formulated term utilized to explain the restlessness, hurt, and irregular sensations because of nerve damage. Sometimes, the damage is because of the oxidative stress placed on the nerves. It is due to chronic health conditions such as type-2 diabetes, Lyme disorder, shingles, thyroid disorder, kidney disease, and HIV.

Most people believe that if alpha-lipoic acid is provided in large enough doses, it may face this stress by exerting powerful antioxidant function. There have been powerful shreds of evidence of this impact in individuals suffering from diabetic neuropathy. It is a debilitating problem present in people having advanced diabetes.

A 2010 study in the Netherlands discovered that a regular 500-mg intravenous dose of alpha-lipoic acid provided over two weeks had offered "potential and clinically relevant reduction in neuropathic pain."

From previously known diabetes research, we come to know that alpha-lipoic acid dietary supplements were generally more efficient in reducing nerve pain.

Another research-based study has shown that alpha-lipoic acid may have involved in treating other types of neuropathy. If you consider taking supplements in the future, you should first consult your doctor or any other medical health provider.

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and High Cholesterol

Alpha-lipoic acid has a long time impact on weight and health by changing the fat composition you're your blood. It involves enhancing "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, on the other hand, reducing "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.  The current study recommends this may not be so.

A 2010 study from Korea indicated that 1,100 to 1,700 mg of alpha-lipoic acid lost nearly 20 % more weight than the placebo group after 14 weeks. But they felt no changes in total cholesterol or triglycerides.

Besides, higher doses of it conferred to maximize total cholesterol and bad cholesterol level in the study participants. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Slow Memory Loss

Memory loss is a genuine concern among older age people. People believe that destruction from oxidative stress plays a beneficial role in memory loss and other medical conditions. The reason is alpha-lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant. A plethora of studies has described its ability to cut down the progression of problems characterized by memory loss like Alzheimer's condition.

Both animal and lab studies recommend that alpha-lipoic acid minimizes the progression of Alzheimer's condition by neutralizing powerful or unstable free radicals and minimizing inflammation that is a triggering factor of many mental health problems.

On the other hand, there are only a handful of studies have shown the link between alpha-lipoic acid and memory loss-linked problems. Enough amount of study is required before alpha-lipoic acid can be suggested to treat slow memory loss.

  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid and Eye Health

Scientific pieces of evidence recommend that it may be sufficient for the eyes. Alpha-lipoic acid may positively influence cataracts and glaucoma. One old study highlighted that alpha-lipoic acid "protects your eye from the damaging influence of ultraviolet exposure" or sun damage.

So, it may be highly essential to take supplements. But before taking it, you should consult your doctor.

  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid and Diabetes

Over the past decades, a large number of studies worldwide have been completed on the potential influence of alpha-lipoic acid on diabetes and its related problems, like kidney disorder, neuropathy, and blindness.

Alpha-lipoic acid has been utilized for decades as a cure for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It may also be useful for treating depression and other such issues like neuropathy. It is a health condition caused by diabetes that produces nerve damage.  It represents itself as burning, pain, restlessness, numbness, stinging, and weakness, primarily in your hands and feet.

One study highlighted that alpha-lipoic acid stops diabetes mellitus in diabetes-prone obese," while another study indicated that alpha-lipoic acid might be useful for diabetes-related impotence. This acid's ability to decrease blood sugar and maximize insulin sensitivity is significant concerning the role of insulin sensitivity in human longevity.

  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid and Alzheimer's or Other Brain Disorders

Different scientists are positive that alpha-lipoic acid is useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's condition and memory problems. Another research from the University of Berkeley further described that alpha-lipoic acid or many other nutrients are incredibly crucial for the treatment of such degenerative brain problems like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's condition.

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Heart Disease

Heart disorder is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States.  A research-based study from a combination of lab and human studies has indicated that the antioxidant features of alpha-lipoic acid may reduce heart disorder risk factors.

These antioxidant properties permit it to neutralize unstable free radicals and decrease the oxidative stress that is associated with damage. It can maximize heart disease risk. It is indicated to promote endothelial dysfunction. It is a condition in which blood vessels are unable to dilate, and it may also increase the risks of heart attack and stroke.

Moreover, a review of several studies explained that consuming an alpha-lipoic acid supplement decreased triglyceride and LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels in people suffering from a metabolic disorder.

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Liver, Bone or Muscle Disorders

Research emerged in early 2005 in the Journal of Cardiovascular nursing suggested that health experts become educated on the possible advantages of alpha-lipoic acid in the cure of heart disorder. Another research in England explained that alpha-lipoic acid had a potential influence on liver cells.

Intravenous types of alpha-lipoic acid are used in hospitals to treat conditions of acute mushroom poisoning and other such kinds of poisoning that influence your liver. Mixed with the herb silymarin and the micronutrient selenium, alpha-Lipoic acid has been a beneficial treatment for hepatitis C.

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Skin Aging

Different studies have indicated that alpha-lipoic acid may aid in fighting against the signs of skin aging. In one animal study, experts discovered that using a cream comprising alpha-lipoic acid to your skin can decrease the fine lines, wrinkles, and skin roughness with no side effects.

When alpha-lipoic acid is used for your skin, it penetrates itself into your skin's inner layers and provides antioxidant protection from the sun's harmful UV radiation. Furthermore, alpha-lipoic acid increases the levels of other antioxidants, like glutathione that aid in protecting against skin disorder and may decrease signs of aging.

  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is associated with multiple disorders, involving cancer and diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid has been highlighted to decrease certain markers of inflammation.

In an analysis of 10 studies, alpha-lipoic acid potentially reduced the levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) in people with high levels of CRP.

In a test-tube study, alpha-lipoic acid has decreased markers of inflammation, involving NF-kB, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and IL-6. Getting rid of the inflammation may help you to reduce the risk of immunity related disorder, gastrointestinal issues and many other health problems.

Alpha lipoic acid has also been considered for its possible influence on stopping bone loss because of chronic inflammation. One study finalized that this unique acid and L-carnitine were efficient in saving age-related cell damage in the skeletal muscle. Alpha lipoic acid is also effective to reduce "fat accumulation" and boost "muscle pH" in many individuals. Another such study explained that alpha lipoic acid because of beneficial nutrients is effective in preventing cancer-related muscle wasting.

One research based study concluded that it is facilitated in the damage of human colon-cancer cells. ALA is also considered helpful in speeding the healing process of wounds; if it is cured with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


Animal, lab and human studies recommend that alpha-lipoic acid may aid in treating glaucoma. But still, there are not adequate scientific evidences to say for sure whether it works. In one  research on aging skin, a cream with 10% lipoic acid aided  in decreasing fine lines from sun damage.

Studies indicate that it attaches with damaging metals like mercury, iron, and other metals which function as free radicals. They also recommend that alpha lipoic acid may also play a critical role in managing other conditions like erectile dysfunction and certain cancers.  Other research based study concluded that it may decrease complications linked to otitis media (ear diseases).

Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Possible Side Effects

Alpha-lipoic acid is typically considered safe by FDA when consumed as an oral supplement or utilized as a topical ointment. But, there is not an enough research describing the long-term safety of this beneficial acid. There have been multiple reports of restlessness and vomiting in kids who have consumed doses of nearly 2,300 mg or greater.

Common side effects of alpha-lipoic acid may involve;

  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle cramp
  • Tingling "pins
  • Needles" sensation

The draw backs tend to be mild and will usually resolve once treatment is ended.

Alpha-lipoic acid may minimize your blood sugar levels. But if you are using diabetes medications, speak to your doctor and other health care provider so that the drug dose may be adjusted if required.

Human studies strongly recommend that alpha lipoic acid may change thyroid hormone levels.

As such, individuals consuming thyroid medications like levothyroxine should be described by their doctor if alpha lipoic acid is being utilized.  Because of insufficient safety research, it must not be utilized in kids, pregnant ladies, or nursing mothers.

Best Food Sources of ALA

The ideal way to obtain any nutrients is through real food sources, as it is how your body knows how to absorb and utilize chemicals effectively.  It is present in a variety of different plants and animal sources, as it is attached to protein molecules (particularly lysine).

The concentration of alpha lipoic acid in different foods may change depending on where they are developed , the quality of the soil, and how they're formed,  therefore it's hard to  conclude how much is in every kind of food. There hasn't been clinical trial  done to get  results related to how much  this acid is present in specific foods,  but still you can predict certain vegetables and  organ meats seem to have highest amount of it.

Experts think that when you consume a whole food-based diet and change the kinds of things you consume, possibilities are you eat an adequate amount, additionally what your body already produces on its own.

Below are some of the perfect food sources of alpha lipoic acid;

  • Spinach
  • Red meat
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Organ meat (such as liver, kidneys from chicken or beef)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Beets
  • Carrots

How Much You Need Alpha Lipoic Acid per Day

Even if you daily eat dark leaf greens salad with minced chicken kidney and heart, the amount of "free" alpha lipoic acid you are obtaining in total from food sources can probably be taken in micrograms, no milligrams.

It means even a minimum dosage supplemental amount, such as a 50 mg tablet, may give you multiple times more than you are receiving from food sources during your day.

Experts suggest that "The amounts of alpha-lipoic acid present in dietary supplements (200-600 mg) are likely as much as 1,000 times higher than the amounts that could be received from the diet."

There are plenty of studies conducted on the ALA. According to them, supplements are the best way to get alpha-lipoic acid. Of course, plants and other dietary sources with great ALA content continue to be an excellent idea, as it's in the natural form.

We may not wholly understand the bioavailability of ALA when protein-bound (i.e. source in alpha-lipoic acid foods), but maximum scientific evidence is still needed to prove this claim.

How Should You Take Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

  • When thinking about the usage of ALA supplements, take the advice of your doctor. You may also think about speaking to a practitioner who is an expert in using these supplements.
  • If you are ready to use alpha-lipoic acid, utilize it as directed on the label of the bottle or as recommended by your doctor or healthcare provider. Avoid using more of it than is suggested on the label.
  • Go to your doctor if the condition for which you are using ALA supplements does not improve or if it gets worse while utilizing these products.
  • Do not utilize different kinds (tablets and capsules) of ALA at the same time without speaking to your doctor or any other professional person. Using various forms together can maximize the risk of an overdose. You should store at room temperature away from heat and humidity.

Medications Interactions with Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid may reduce blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also known to reduce blood sugar. Consuming ALA, along with diabetes medications, may lead to your blood sugar to go too low. But more evidence is required to know if this interaction is a huge concern.  You should consider your blood sugar carefully.

Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant. There are specific considerations that antioxidants may lower the effectiveness of some drugs utilized for cancers. But it is early to know if this interaction happens.


It is a potent antioxidant composed of your body. It is present in every cell, where it aids transform glucose into energy. These antioxidants are highly beneficial as they fight against "free radicals," waste products formed when your body transforms food into energy. Free radicals lead to toxic chemical reactions that may damage cells, making it difficult for your body to combat infectious agents. They also disturb your organs and tissues.

Other antioxidants work in water (like vitamin C) or fatty tissues (like vitamin E). But ALA is both fat and water-soluble. It means alpha-lipoic acid can function throughout the body. Antioxidants in your body are used up as they combat free radicals. But experts recommend that alpha-lipoic acid may aid regenerate these other antioxidants and activate them again.

You can get it from food sources like dark leafy greens and legumes etc. ALA is also available in supplement form in the market. But before taking it, you should speak to your doctor first to avoid any side effects!

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