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Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)

A fatty acid present within the mitochondria. It positively affects Weight Loss, General Oxidation and Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Alpha-Lipoic Acid, more commonly referred to as ALA, 1,2-dithiolane-3-pentanoic acid, tiopleta, and thiotic acid, is a fatty acid present within the mitochondria. Its activities revolve around the metabolism of energy within the body. Alpha-Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant. Food is not a particularly good source of it.

Experts commonly recommend its consumption with L-Carnitine, which works similarly to Alpha-Lipoic Acid. Researchers explain that ALA is capable of providing a temporary and brief, yet powerful reduction in oxidation, which is achieved by increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes.

Warning

Do not supplement Alpha-Lipoic Acid above the usual dose of 50 to 1800mg. High doses of over 3000mg can be life-threatening and should only be administered under strict medical supervision.

Positive Interactions

Alpha-Lipoic Acid appears to be synergistic with L-Carnitine supplementation. Both seem to increase mitochondrial density.

Negative Interactions

Avoid supplementing Alpha-Lipoic Acid with MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), as it competes with them for absorption in the gut.
Examples of foods high in MCTs: coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cheese, butter, whole milk and full-fat yogurt.

ALA also competes for absorption with benzoic acid, so avoid foods which contain it such as: cranberries, prunes, plums, cloudberries, cinnamon, beer, jams, jellies and margarine.

Effects

Blood Pressure (BP)

Despite an abundance of evidence on the oral and intravenous use of Alpha-Lipoic Acid, researchers are unable to identify its influence on blood pressure. The only research that indicates a reduction in blood pressure also highlighted the effects of weight loss, which, in effect, lowers blood pressure levels. It is safe to conclude that ALA does not affect blood pressure levels considerably, even in studies where blood flow fluctuations have been noticed.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Researchers attempted to examine the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy by subjecting several studies of ALA supplementation to a meta-analysis. The results revealed it to be far more effective at reducing the nerve pain caused by diabetes as compared to several other treatments. However, reference drugs were not included in these comparisons.

General Oxidation

ALA supplementation has been associated with a reduction of the biomarkers of oxidation. Research reveals that ALA supplements managed to **reduce hs-CRP levels, **which is a prominent risk factor that leads to the development of cardiovascular ailments amongst HD patients.

Body Weight (BW)

Even though more evidence is required to fully validate this claim, experts agree that the consumption of ALA supplements in large doses, 1800mg, is likely to reduce the body weight of individuals with obesity. Do not attempt supplementing high doses without a doctor’s supervision.
1Effects Of Alpha-lipoic Acid On Body Weight In Obese Subjects 2Effect Of Alpha-lipoic Acid And Exercise Training On Cardiovascular Disease Risk In Obesity With Impaired Glucose Tolerance 3Alpha-lipoic Acid Supplementation: A Tool For Obesity Therapy 4Efficacy And Safety Of Antioxidant Treatment With α-lipoic Acid Over 4 Years In Diabetic Polyneuropathy: The NATHAN 1 Trial

FAQ

What is Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

Alpha-Lipoic Acic is an anti-oxidant produced naturally within the body. It can also be found in plants and animals.

What does Alpha-Lipoic Acid do?

It help the body turn glucose into energy.

What foods contain Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

Although Broccoli, spinach, organ meat, red meat, tomatoes, beets, carrots, crussel sprouts, peas and brewer’s yeast are rich with Alpha-Lipoic Acid, a typical supplement will contain a thousand times more ALA than what you can get through a typical diet alone.

What are the health benefits of taking Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

It’s beneficial for blood sugar, diabetic neuropathy and general oxidation.

What are the side effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

Albeit rarely, some people can experience fatigue, diarrhea, insomnia, skin rash and low blood sugar.

Where can you buy Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

As always, the best place to buy Alpha-Lipoic Acid is Amazon.

Dosage

The recommended dosage of Alpha-Lipoic Acid should be within the range of 50 to 1,800mg:

  • 50-100mg, for anti-oxidant effects, in healthy adults.
  • 600-800mg, dividided into 2 doses, for individuals suffering from diabetes, for lowering blood sugar.
  • 600-1,800mg, for improving weight loss and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

ALA can be supplemented while fasting. Alpha-Lipoic Acid tends to get absorbed through the gut. Even though it is naturally fat-soluble, you do not have to consume any dietary fatty acids to allow its absorption. In fact some oils, which contain MCTs, lower its absorption.

Editor's Notes

Pros

  • There’s evidence that Alpha-Lipoic Acid works as a energy booster.
  • Helps patients with diabetes.
  • High-dose may help with weight loss in obese patients.

Cons

  • Evidence is decent, but we still need more studies on various demographics.
  • Risk of toxicity when using a dose higher than 3000mg.

References   [ + ]

Healthzoned founder.

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4 Comments on "Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)"

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M. Riley
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M. Riley
hi. I was wondering, do I need to consume ALA every day?
kaczorowski
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kaczorowski
i know there are several versions of alpha lipoic acid. is all ALA the same? what’s the difference between R-ALA and S-ALA?
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