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Nutritional Supplement

Alpha Lipoic Acid

  • Blood Sugar and Diabetes Support

    Type 2 Diabetes

    Taking alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and help protect against diabetic complications such as nerve damage.
    Type 2 Diabetes
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    Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful natural antioxidant that protects blood vessels and other tissues from free radical damage. Numerous clinical trials have been conducted to examine its effects in people with type 2 diabetes. The strongest evidence for its beneficial effects comes from trials in subjects with diabetes-related nerve complications (neuropathy).2,3 One placebo-controlled trial monitored 460 participants with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and mild to moderate polyneuropathy taking 600 mg per day of alpha lipoic acid or placebo for four years. Those taking alpha lipoic acid had significantly reduced symptoms and progression of neuropathy.4 In addition, clinical research suggests that alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity, blood glucose control, and lipid metabolism, support weight loss, and reduce the impacts of diabetic complications such as retinopathy (damage to the retina in the eye), nephropathy (kidney dysfunction), and erectile dysfunction.5,6,7,8,9,10,11 Studies reporting benefits have generally used doses ranging from 600 to 1,200 mg of alpha lipoic acid per day.

    Type 1 Diabetes

    Supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid may improve the symptoms of diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy).
    Type 1 Diabetes
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    Alpha lipoic acid is an important nutrient for mitochondrial function. It has antioxidant properties and can act as a reducer of oxidized forms of vitamins C and E. A number of placebo-controlled clinical trials have found that supplementing with 600 to 1,200 mg of alpha-lipoic acid per day can improve the symptoms of diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy).12,13,14,15 Animal studies and early clinical research suggest alpha-lipoic acid may also help prevent diabetes-related damage to the small blood vessels and nerves in the eyes (diabetic retinopathy).16,17
  • Weight Management

    Obesity

    In one trial, obese people who supplemented with alpha-lipoic acid lost a statistically significant amount of weight, compared with a placebo. In another trial, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid enhanced weight loss in overweight and obese women who were consuming a low-calorie diet.
    Obesity
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    In a double-blind trial, obese people who supplemented with alpha-lipoic acid (1,200 or 1,800 mg per day for 20 weeks) resulted in a statistically significant weight loss, compared with a placebo. The amount of weight lost was 6.1 pounds with 1,800 mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid, 3.3 pounds with 1,200 mg per day, and 2.1 pounds with placebo.18 The weight loss was due primarily to a loss of fat mass, as opposed to muscle mass. It is not clear how alpha-lipoic acid works, but it may work by increasing the conversion of fuel to energy in the body. In another double-blind trial, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid (300 mg per day for 10 weeks) enhanced weight loss in overweight and obese women who were consuming a low-calorie diet. Women who received alpha-lipoic acid lost an average of 3.3 pounds more than women who received a placebo.19
  • Pain Management

    Migraine Headache

    In a small double-blind trial, supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks.
    Migraine Headache
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    In a small double-blind trial, supplementation with 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid once a day for three months significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks. However, this improvement was not statistically significant when compared with the change in the placebo group.20 Additional research is needed to determine whether alpha-lipoic acid is effective for preventing migraines.

  • Eye Health Support

    Glaucoma

    Alpha lipoic acid may improve visual function in people with some types of glaucoma.
    Glaucoma
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    Alpha lipoic acid (150 mg per day for one month) improves visual function in people with some types of glaucoma.21

  • Skin Protection

    Vitiligo

    In one study, supplementing with a combination of antioxidants including alpha-lipoic acid increased the effectiveness of ultraviolet light therapy.
    Vitiligo
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    In a double-blind trial, supplementation with antioxidants for two months before and for six months during treatment with narrowband ultraviolet B light increased the effectiveness of the ultraviolet light therapy. The antioxidant supplement contained daily 100 mg of alpha-lipoic acid, 100 mg of vitamin C, 40 IU of vitamin E, and 100 mg of cysteine.22
What Are Star Ratings?
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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References

1. Kagan V, Khan S, Swanson C, et al. Antioxidant action of thioctic acid and dihydrolipoic acid. Free Radic Biol Med 1990;9S:15.

2. Gomes M, Negrato C. Alpha-lipoic acid as a pleiotropic compound with potential therapeutic use in diabetes and other chronic diseases. Diabetol Metab Syndr 2014;6:80.

3. Garcia-Alcala H, Santos Vichido C, Islas Macedo S, et al. Treatment with alpha-Lipoic Acid over 16 Weeks in Type 2 Diabetic Patients with Symptomatic Polyneuropathy Who Responded to Initial 4-Week High-Dose Loading. J Diabetes Res 2015;2015:189857.

4. Ziegler D, Low P, Litchy W, et al. Efficacy and safety of antioxidant treatment with alpha-lipoic acid over 4 years in diabetic polyneuropathy: the NATHAN 1 trial. Diabetes Care 2011;34:2054–60.

5. Udupa A, Nahar P, Shah S, et al. A comparative study of effects of omega-3 Fatty acids, alpha lipoic Acid and vitamin e in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ann Med Health Sci Res 2013;3:442–6.

6. Zhao L, Hu F. Alpha-Lipoic acid treatment of aged type 2 diabetes mellitus complicated with acute cerebral infarction. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2014;18:3715–9.

7. Okanovic A, Prnjavorac B, Jusufovic E, Sejdinovic R. Alpha-lipoic acid reduces body weight and regulates triglycerides in obese patients with diabetes mellitus. Med Glas (Zenica) 2015;12:122–7.

8. Nebbioso M, Pranno F, Pescosolido N. Lipoic acid in animal models and clinical use in diabetic retinopathy. Expert Opin Pharmacother 2013;14:1829–38.

9. Gebka A, Serkies-Minuth E, Raczynska D. Effect of the administration of alpha-lipoic acid on contrast sensitivity in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Mediators Inflamm 2014;2014:131538.

10. Hong Y, Peng J, Cai X, et al. Clinical Efficacy of Alprostadil Combined with alpha-lipoic Acid in the Treatment of Elderly Patients with Diabetic Nephropathy. Open Med (Wars) 2017;12:323–7.

11. Mitkov M, Aleksandrova I, Orbetzova M. Effect of transdermal testosterone or alpha-lipoic acid on erectile dysfunction and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Folia Med (Plovdiv) 2013;55:55–63.

12. Agathos E, Tentolouris A, Eleftheriadou I, et al. Effect of alpha-lipoic acid on symptoms and quality of life in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy. J Int Med Res 2018;46:1779–90.

13. Ametov A, Barinov A, Dyck P, et al. The sensory symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy are improved with alpha-lipoic acid: the SYDNEY trial. Diabetes Care 2003;26:770–6.

14. Han Y, Wang M, Shen J, et al. Differential efficacy of methylcobalamin and alpha-lipoic acid treatment on symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Minerva Endocrinol 2018;43:11–8.

15. Ziegler D, Ametov A, Barinov A, et al. Oral treatment with alpha-lipoic acid improves symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy: the SYDNEY 2 trial. Diabetes Care 2006;29:2365–70.

16. Nebbioso M, Federici M, Rusciano D, et al. Oxidative stress in preretinopathic diabetes subjects and antioxidants. Diabetes Technol Ther 2012;14:257–63.

17. Gebka A, Serkies-Minuth E, Raczynska D. Effect of the administration of alpha-lipoic acid on contrast sensitivity in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Mediators Inflamm 2014;2014:131538.

18. Koh EH, Lee WJ, Lee SA, et al. Effects of alpha-lipoic acid on body weight in obese subjects. Am J Med 2011;124:85.e1-85.e8.

19. Huerta AE, Navas-Carretero S, Prieto-Hontoria PL, et al. Effects of alpha-lipoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in overweight and obese women during weight loss. Obesity 2015;23:313–21.

20. Magis D, Ambrosini A, Sandor P, et al. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of thioctic acid in migraine prophylaxis. Headache 2007;47:52-7.

21. Filina AA, Davydova NG, Endrikhovskii SN, et al. Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma. Vestn Oftalmol 1995;111:6-8.

22. Dell'Anna ML, Mastrofrancesco A, Sala R, et el. Antioxidants and narrow band-UVB in the treatment of vitiligo: a double-blind placebo controlled trial. Clin Exp Dermatol 2007;32:631-6.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.