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Alpha Lipoic Acid

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 10, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic acid, also known as ALA, is an antioxidant that is used to neutralize free radicals from the cells of the body to reduce their damage. It provides excellent benefits to the liver and in restoring liver health to those that have health ailments. Alpha Lipoic Acid is made within the body and is in every single cell in the human body.


Alpha Lipoic Acid turns the glucose in the body into sustainable energy. It is a powerful antioxidant, which goes after and attacks all of the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are basically waste products within the body that hang around as the body turns the food that is eaten into usable energy. These free radicals can cause very harmful chemical reactions to cells, which in turn makes it rather difficult for the immune system to fight off infections. Free radicals can damage tissue and organs; therefore, having a substance such as Alpha Lipoic Acid to rid the body of these free radicals reduces the chance of damage from occurring.

History and Origin of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid began being tested in 1970’s as an intravenous delivery method and given to people that had severe liver damage. The initial clinical trial was conducted by Doctors Frederick C. Bartter and Burton M. Berkson. The tests included 79 patients and 75 of these recovered fully after treatment.

Modern Uses of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid is used for diabetics because it can lower blood sugar levels and because it has the ability to kill free radicals it can also help reduce pain, burning, and numbness that many people with nerve damage due to diabetes suffer from. There was a proposed attempt to study Alpha Lipoic Acid for liver disease brought about by alcohol, but there is no evidence at this point that it actually works since the studies were very limited.

There are some studies to show that Alpha Lipoic Acid can help the brain and nerve tissue, which means that it may be able to help those that have suffered from strokes or other damage to the brain. Healthy people make enough Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is found naturally in red meat, liver, and brewer’s yeast.

Side Effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid has the possibility of interacting with certain medication, which means it should not be taken with other medications except under the advice of a physician or naturopathic doctor. It can cause a skin rash in some people, if they are sensitive to adding additional Alpha Lipoic Acid to their diet. Those that are deficient in B1, which is a condition often associated with alcoholism should not self-treat with Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Diabetics that are insulin dependent should not take Alpha Lipoic Acid because the two together can create a condition known as low-blood sugar. If you are taking medication for thyroid, Alpha Lipoic Acid should not be taken because it can actually lower the thyroid hormone, which can worsen the condition depending what the person is being treated for. Always check with your doctor if you have a medical condition before starting supplementation with Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Read also: ADHD

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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