Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant produced naturally in the body as well as found in foods. It aids in the digestion of carbohydrates and the production of energy.
Red meat, carrots, beets, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes are all high in alpha-lipoic acid. Supplements are also available. Because alpha-lipoic acid appears to act as an antioxidant, it may protect the brain and be beneficial in the treatment of some liver illnesses.
Alpha-lipoic acid is most typically used to treat nerve discomfort in diabetics. It’s also used for obesity, altitude sickness, aging skin, excessive cholesterol or other fat levels in the blood, and a variety of other things, but there’s no clear scientific evidence to back up many of these claims.
Uses of Alpha-lipoic acid
Supplement use should be tailored to the individual and vetted by a medical practitioner. No supplement is designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Many integrative medicine doctors believe that Alpha-lipoic acid can help people with alcoholic liver disease, HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, erectile dysfunction, and other illnesses. There is currently no evidence to back up any of these statements.
The management of diabetes and nerve pain has been the focus of much of the ALA research. The following are some of the possible applications for ALA:
Alpha-lipoic acid may help with glucose control by speeding up blood sugar metabolism. This could aid in the treatment of diabetes, a disease marked by elevated blood glucose levels.
The use of Alpha-lipoic acid in persons with metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, was studied in a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials published in 2018. ALA supplementation reduced fasting blood glucose, insulin concentration, insulin resistance, and blood haemoglobin A1C levels, according to the findings.
The medical name for the pain, numbness and altered sensations caused by nerve injury is neuropathy. Chronic disorders such as diabetes, Lyme disease, shingles, thyroid disease, kidney failure, and HIV often cause nerve damage due to oxidative stress.
People experiencing pain from unknown sources reported less severe pain scores when they took 400 to 800 mg of an oral Alpha-lipoic acid supplement compared to those who took a placebo, according to a clinical investigation published in 2021.
In persons with diabetic neuropathy, a potentially severe disease that occurs in people with advanced diabetes, Alpha-lipoic acid may have antioxidant effects.
Many diet gurus and supplement makers have inflated ALA’s capacity to increase calorie burning and aid weight loss. Furthermore, much of the research on ALA supplementation for weight loss is preliminary and lacks strong results.
According to a 2017 analysis of research conducted by Yale University, Alpha-lipoic acid supplements in doses ranging from 300 mg to 1,800 mg daily helped people lose an average of 2.8 pounds when compared to a placebo.
Another evaluation of research published in 2018 indicated that when Alpha-lipoic acid was compared to placebo, it resulted in higher weight loss. The average weight loss, however, was only 1.5 pounds.
The effects of ALA supplementation in youngsters have not been well investigated. As a result, it is not suitable for children.
Alpha-lipoic acid, like many other supplements, is not suggested for pregnant or breastfeeding women. There hasn’t been enough research done on the effects of ALA on these women yet.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a fatty acid that occurs spontaneously in every human cell. Its major function is to use oxygen to convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Diabetes, nerve discomfort, weight loss, heart disease, and primary mitochondrial abnormalities are all treated with it. The negative effects of taking ALA appear to be minor (and when they aren’t, they appear to be due to overeating). Alpha-lipoic acid, like other supplements, can interact with other drugs. As a result, it’s critical that a healthcare physician get a complete picture of your health before recommending ALA.