Alpha-lipoic acid, sometimes called lipoic acid, is an antioxidant produced in the body. It is found in every cell and helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants fight “free-radicals,” (harmful chemical reactions that damage cells in the body, making it harder for the body to fight off infections — also damages organs and tissues).
Fat and Water Soluble
Antioxidants such as vitamin C are water soluble and vitamin E are fat soluble, but alpha-lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble. This means it can work throughout the body. Antioxidants are used up in the body as they attack free radicals, but evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these antioxidants, making them active again.
Not To Be Confused
Beware that Alpha-lipoic acid and alpha linolenic acid, (an omega-3 fatty acid that may help heart health) are not the same. There is confusion between the two because they both are sometimes abbreviated ALA.
Several studies suggest that alpha-lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar levels. Its ability to kill free radicals may help people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy — who have pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in arms and legs due to nerve damage. Researchers believe Alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity. Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years to treat peripheral neuropathy in Germany. However, most of the studies that have found it helps have used intravenous (IV) alpha-lipoic acid. Taking alpha-lipoic acid may help another diabetes-related condition called autonomic neuropathy, which affects the nerves to internal organs. One study of 73 people with cardiac autonomic neuropathy, which affects the heart, found that subjects reported fewer signs of the condition when taking 800mg of alpha-lipoic acid orally compared to placebo.
At Natural Healing Center, we administer ALA via IV — for better absorption.
Brain Function Issues
Because Alpha-lipoic acid easily passes into the brain, it may help protect brain and nerve tissues. Researchers are investigating it as a treatment for stroke and other brain function issues, such as dementia.
Preliminary studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid may help treat glaucoma. But there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether it works. In one study on aging skin, a cream with 5% lipoic acid helped reduce fine lines from sun damage. Studies show ALA binds with toxic metals, such as mercury, arsenic, iron, and other metals that act as free radicals. Preliminary studies also suggest that ALA may play a role in managing other conditions including erectile dysfunction and cancer.
Side effects are generally rare and may include insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, and skin rash. Due to these potential side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a health care provider. Alpha-lipoic acid hasn’t been studied in pregnant or breast-feeding women, so researchers don’t know if it’s safe.
Alpha-lipoic acid can lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes or low blood sugar should take alpha-lipoic acid only under the supervision of their health care provider.
Animal studies suggest that people who don’t get enough thiamine (vitamin B1) should not take alpha-lipoic acid. B1 deficiency is associated with long-term alcohol abuse.
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use alpha-lipoic acid without first talking to your health care provider:
Diabetes Medication – Apha-lipoic acid can combine with these drugs to lower blood sugar levels, raising the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Consult with your health care provider before taking alpha-lipoic acid (he or she may need to adjust your medication doses), and watch your blood sugar levels closely.
Chemotherapy Medication – Alpha-lipoic acid may interfere with some chemotherapy medications. Always consult with your oncologist before
taking any herb or supplement, including alpha-lipoic acid.
Thyroid medications, Levothyroxine – Alpha-lipoic acid may lower levels of thyroid hormone. Your health care provider should monitor blood hormone levels and thyroid function tests closely.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) — Alpha-lipoic acid can lower the level of vitamin
B1 (Thiamine) in the body. This can be particularly dangerous in alcoholics
where malnutrition is often already present.
Other Injections We Offer