What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha Lipoic Acid is the synthetic version of lipoic acid, an antioxidant that is naturally made in the body. Both water-soluble and fat-soluble, it is able to work its way entirely through the body and attack free radicals that are intent on harming the body. It is available as a nutritional supplement and is discussed in-depth below.
Initially discovered in the 1930s, Alpha Lipoic Acid was thought to be necessary for the growth of certain types of bacteria and protozoa. Researchers determined that it served as a coenzyme in the Krebs cycle (a sequence in which living cells generate energy during aerobic respiration). Researchers also identified that it was also a powerful antioxidant, similar to a fat-soluble vitamin, in the late 1980s. With further research, the above-stated benefits were identified.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Long Does Alpha Lipoic Acid Take To Work? Which Effects Of Alpha Lipoic Acid Are Most Prominent?
It usually takes about three full weeks to experience the benefits of taking Alpha Lipoic Acid. After five weeks, users often experience a significant improvement in their peripheral neuropathy symptoms, as well as their body’s ability to regulate its blood sugar levels. The main effects of ALA include athletic enhancement, better overall long-term memory, and better clarity of thought.
When you stop taking Alpha Lipoic Acid, the effects are usually completely gone within 2 weeks.
What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Used For?
In most cases, Alpha Lipoic Acid is used by individuals suffering from diabetes to help control their blood sugar levels without resorting to synthetic medications. Diabetic patients also take it to help relieve the pain, tingling, and numbness that often accompany peripheral neuropathy. This keeps them from having to take medications with potentially dangerous side effects.
How Much Does It Cost?
Alpha Lipoic Acid is available through a variety of manufacturers and is surprisingly affordable, depending on the maker, quantity, and milligrams of each tablet/ capsule. It is possible to find 60 capsules of 100 mg alpha lipoic acid for as little as $3 per bottle, while 100 capsules of 200 mg, Alpha Lipoic Acid may cost as much as $25 or more a bottle. It is definitely beneficial to shop around for the best price.
There are numerous benefits associated with the use of Alpha Lipoic Acid. They include:
- Reduced symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage that is often the result of diabetes), including pins and needle sensations, burning, pain, and numbness that often accompany this condition. This is particularly true when it is taken in IV form. Compared to other treatments for diabetic neuropathy, it tends to be better tolerated and have fewer side effects.
- Enhances the body’s ability to use its own insulin to decrease blood sugar levels in individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- In conjunction with other antioxidants, Alpha Lipoic Acid helps neutralize free radicals that damage the body’s cell and decrease cellular damage.
- Promotes healthy weight loss.
- Testing is ongoing in regards to the possible benefits Alpha Lipoic Acid may have on migraines, kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, and glaucoma, though early results have been positive.
The recommended dosage of Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements is between 600 and 1200 mg per day. It is also suggested that you begin by taking 300 mg three times a day to determine how your body will react. Additionally, you should never start taking a supplement or medication without discussing it with your physician first. This is especially important if you suffer from a chronic medical condition.
Overall, the side effects associated with the use of Alpha Lipoic Acid are minimal. However, there is a chance of weakness, nausea, irritability, confusion, blurred vision, headache, drowsiness, sweating, or feeling as if you could pass out. These side effects typically lessen over time until they completely go away.
There has been no potential for harm identified with the long term use of Alpha Lipoic Acid. In fact, there is some evidence that long term use may help reduce the symptoms of dementia, though this requires further testing before it can be said conclusively. In addition, long term use has been shown to improve insulin resistance, help with neuropathy, and even protect the retina of the eye from damage, a problem that is frequently seen in diabetic patients.
It takes time to see the full benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid. As a result, it is not a supplement that you would typically take for a short period of time.
A number of studies have been completed involving Alpha Lipoic Acid. Some of the most recent studies include:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels, According to Study by the University of Maryland Medical Center
- Alpha Lipoic Acid is a Cofactor in the Production of Energy, According to Research Study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: A New Treatment for Neuropathic Pain in Patients With Diabetes
- Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Smash Insulin Resistance
- Immune Restoration by Alpha Lipoic Acid in AIDS
While Alpha Lipoic Acid is generally safe when taken at the commonly suggested dosages, it is also important to discuss the start of any supplement with your physician. The safety of Alpha Lipoic Acid has not been tested in mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding and should not be taken in these situations unless it is advised by a licensed medical professional. It has also not been tested in individuals under the age of 18. The Alpha Lipoic Acid effects are generally mild in nature.
It is impossible to deny that Alpha Lipoic Acid has the potential to be very beneficial, especially for patients who are struggling with diabetes and neuropathy. Although further studies are needed to validate its effectiveness at helping control other conditions, it does look very promising. With minimal side effects (certainly fewer and less problematic than many synthetic medications), plenty of benefits, and an affordable price, diabetic patients may want to seriously consider adding an Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement to their daily routine. Although, it is important to remember that it will not work overnight. It takes 3 to 5 weeks or more to feel the full benefits.