Alpha-Lipoic Acid- The Versatile Antioxidant
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant which is both lipid and water soluble. Also called lipoic acid or thioctic acid, it is synthesized by plants and animals, including humans and is an essential cofactor in the mitochondrial production of energy.
Alpha-lipoic acid can be found in low amounts in some foods such as red organ meats and some vegetables. Dietary supplements that contain ALA are often used because they can deliver up to 1,000 times more ALA than what can be gained from food alone. Research has demonstrated that ALA is better absorbed when taken on an empty stomach.
ALA helps regenerate and enhance other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C. It has also been shown to positively support nerve function.* In fact, in Germany, high doses of ALA are used to support nerve function.*
Research clearly demonstrates that ALA can support healthy insulin sensitivity and support healthy blood glucose levels.* ALA has also been shown to support heart health and healthy weight.* A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in the journal Metabolism, concluded that ALA administration supports healthy glucose balance and lipid profiles, “except HDL-cholesterol levels.” *
Several studies have also shown that ALA can help support nerve function in certain patient populations, including those with metabolic issues. According to a 2014 review published in the journal Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, the mechanisms of action regarding ALA and nerve health include “…reduction of oxidative stress along with improvement in nerve blood flow, nerve conduction velocity, and several other measures of nerve function.”
ALA is a powerful natural substance that has been shown to support healthy energy metabolism, weight management, and nerve health.* Because uncontrolled blood sugar increases the risk of nerve damage, ALA is an antioxidant often recommended to support those with metabolic challenges.* As a dietary supplement, it is available as a stand-alone nutrient or often combined with other synergistic ingredients.
Akbari M, Ostadmohammadi V, Lankarani KB, et al. Metabolism. 2018;87:56-69.
Boriani F, Granchi D, Roatti G, et al. Journal of Hand Surgery. 2017;42(4):236-242.
DiGeronimo G, Caccese AF, Caruso L, et al. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2009; 13(2):133-9.
Foster TS. Diabetes Education. 2007;33(1):111-7.
Kucukgoncu S, Zhou E, Lucas KB, Tek C. Obesity Reviews. 2017;18(5):594-601.
Monroy EA, Garcia L, Ambriz AR, et al. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2018;21(5):521-526.
Namazi N, Larijani B, Azadbakht L. Clinical Nutrition. 2018;37(2):419-428.
Papanas N, Ziegler D. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 2014;15(18):2721-31.