Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant made by our body. It is found in every cell where it assists transforming glucose into energy. Antioxidants attack “free radicals
”, waste products created when your body transforms food into energy. Free radicals cause damaging chemical reactions that can harm your cells, making it more difficult for your body to fight off infections. They can also damage your tissues and organs.
Other antioxidants work only in fatty tissues (such as vitamin E) or water (such as vitamin C). But Alpha-lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble. That means it can work throughout your body. Antioxidants in the body are used up as they battle free radicals. But some evidence suggests Alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again.
Possible Health Benefits
Various study reviews suggest Alpha-lipoic acid helps reduce blood sugar levels. Its capability to destroy free radicals may assist people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, who have pain, itching, burning, tingling, and numbness in legs and arms from nerve damage. Researchers believe Alpha-lipoic acid helps enhance insulin sensitivity.
Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years to aid peripheral neuropathy in Germany. One research found that taking Alpha-lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy decreased symptoms compared to some prescribed drugs.
Alpha-lipoic acid may assist another diabetes-related condition known as autonomic neuropathy, which impacts the nerves to internal organs. One research of 70 people with cardiac autonomic neuropathy, which affects the heart, found that subjects reported fewer signs of the disorder when taking 800 mg of Alpha-lipoic acid orally, compared to a prescribed medicine.
Stroke and Brain Function
Because Alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into your brain, it may help protect your nerve tissue and brain. Researchers are investigating it as a significant medication for stroke and other brain disorders involving free radical damage, such as dementia.
In one research on aging skin, a cream with 5% Alpha-lipoic acid helped decrease fine lines from sun damage.
A study review suggested that taking Alpha-lipoic acid orally can slightly lower body weight in adults who are overweight.
Preliminary studies show that Alpha-lipoic acid may help aid:
- Erectile dysfunction,
- Complications linked with ear infections.
If you’re healthy, your body makes sufficient Alpha-lipoic acid. However, it is also found in:
- Yeast (especially brewer’s yeast),
- Red meat,
- Organ meats (such as liver).
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements are available as capsules. Your healthcare provider can also give it by injection.
The Bottom Line
Effects of Alpha-lipoic acid has not been studied in children, so it is not suggested for pediatric use. Otherwise for adults, check with your doctor regarding dosage recommendations. Better to take Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement under the supervision of a professional healthcare provider.