Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that naturally exists in body cells, and it is essential for energy production. Alpha lipoic acid converts glucose into energy and also protects cells from free radicals.

Food sources

   Foods that contain alpha lipoic acid are red meat, entrails, broccoli, and brewer’s yeast.

Forms

   S-Lipoic Acid (The S (-) enantiomer) is not found in nature. S-Lipoic acid (SLA) is a by-product from chemical synthesis of racemic Alpha-Lipoic acid and may inhibit the most essential properties of the R form, including interactions with proteins, enzymes and genes.

   R-Lipoic Acid (the R (+) enantiomer) is the form of lipoic acid that occurs naturally in plants, animals and the human body and is responsible for the specific beneficial effects of Alpha-Lipoic acid. R-lipoic acid (RLA) is the only form that functions as a co-factor for mitochondrial enzymes involved in energy production.

Properties

Antioxidant protection

   Alpha lipoic acid has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and glutathione. Thus has an enhanced and powerful antioxidant action.

Diabetes

   Taking alpha-lipoic acid by mouth seems to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Studies also found that alpha-lipoic acid supplements can help with neuropathy -nerve damage -caused by diabetes

Other

   Other health conditions that can be ameliorated with alpha lipoic acid are brain damages after stroke, hepatitis, glaucoma, cataract and nerves pain.

Dosage

   The best dose for neuropathy is 600 mg daily. Between 50 to 100 mg is sufficient for antioxidant purposes. General antioxidant support: 20 to 50 mg per day. Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy: 800 mg per day in divided doses

Precautions – Interactions

   Alpha-lipoic acid hasn’t been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding 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. People who don’t get enough thiamine (vitamin B1) should not take alpha-lipoic acid. B1 deficiency is associated with long-term alcohol abuse.

   Medications for diabetes: Apha-lipoic acid can combine with these drugs to lower blood sugar levels, raising the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.  Chemotherapy medications:Alpha-lipoic acid may interfere with some chemotherapy medications.  Thyroid medications, Levothyroxine: Apha-lipoic acid may lower levels of thyroid hormone.