Alpha-Lipoic Acid: How It Works

Also known as ALA, the alpha-lipoic acid is a natural compound that functions as an antioxidant for the body. This vitamin-like substance is occasionally mentioned as “universal antioxidant” since it can be dissolved in both water and fat and is easily absorbed by the body through the gastrointestinal tract. ALA is found in certain foods like broccoli, yeast, kidney, liver, and potatoes.

This substance is normally produced by the body and it provides important roles like energy production. The body produces a minimal amount of this compound component but a person can get this from foods.

The market itself offers a variety of supplements and creams that contain alpha-lipoic acid in it. Additionally, it is combined with several other extracts to treat certain health conditions. The online reviews and feedback from users show that the effectivity is impressive, however; it must be taken into consideration that the use of this substance as medicine is FDA not approved. The product should not be used as a substitute for any medication. Talk to your doctor regarding this matter.

Health Benefits

Because of its potency as an antioxidant, ALA has been studied by many researchers and they discovered many potential benefits as stated by Healthline as the following:

Skin Aging

Alpha-lipoic acid is said to oppose aging caused by free radicals because of its antioxidant components. Additionally, it also elevates the number of other antioxidants like glutathione and vitamin C that help defend the skin from damage.

When applied to the skin, creams that contained alpha lipoic acid l showed that it can lessen wrinkles, roughness, and fine lines without any side effects.


There are some studies showing that blood sugar may be controlled with the help of Alpha lipoic acid. In type 2 diabetic person, it is said that the body can use its own insulin in controlling sugar.

Peripheral Neuropathy

ALA may also help decrease the signs of peripheral neuropathy, a condition wherein the nerve is damaged. Aside from diabetes, peripheral neuropathy can also be triggered by Lyme disease, shingles, thyroid disease, alcoholism, and kidney failure. The symptoms are numbness, burning, pain, and stinging in the skin areas. The use of ALA may also protect the nerve tissues from further damage.

Weight Loss

When research was performed on animals, it showed that they burned extra calories. This is because the ALA lessens the activeness of AMPK (5’ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein). If the AMPK is active, the feeling of hunger may increase.

Slow Down Memory Loss

Oxidative stress occurs when an imbalance on the fabrication of free radicals and the capacity of the body to fight their dangerous effects happen. It is assumed that this imbalance has a very critical part in memory loss.

In a study conducted on animals, there is significant evidence that ALA supplementation enhanced memory. Another animal study conducted on 2016, it was found out that ALA supplementation has a possible effect in treating neurodegenerative disorders in humans.

Reduce Inflammation

Long-term inflammation is connected to serious health problems, like diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.

11 studies were conducted and the analysis showed that ALA remarkably decreased the quantity of the inflammatory marker called CRP (C-reactive protein), a liver-processed substance in reaction to inflammation.

Despite the studies regarding the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid, one must consult his doctor before taking any form of supplement with ALA since the research conducted are still limited. Always check and follow the label for safety.

Side Effects

In most cases, using alpha-lipoic acid is safe with very few side effects. Some people may encounter symptoms, including rashes or itching, and nausea.

The side effects for long-term use have very less known possible effects and adults can take high dosage (as high as 2,400 mg) without any harm. Taking more than that is not advised for the reason that there is no proof that higher dose can give further benefits.

There may be no serious side effects, however, people who are taking medication of diabetes like insulin or any medicine to lower blood sugar must talk to their doctors before using any supplement with ALA.

Since no study was conducted for pregnant women to see the effect, it is advised that they should not use ALA while they’re pregnant. No data was recorded for children’s use thus it is not recommended for children.