Alpha-lipoic acid, also known as ALA and lipoic acid, is a compound made by the body and found in all human cells. It acts as a powerful antioxidant to reduce damage from free radicals.
It is a common supplement due to its beneficial effects and because it is only made in tiny amounts in the body naturally.
1. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Some call alpha-lipoic acid the universal antioxidant due to how potent it as at increasing antioxidant capacity and decreasing inflammation.1
Antioxidants are responsible for fighting reactive oxygen species and free radicals that can cause inflammation and a variety of health problems.
In a 2012 study, ALA was shown to significantly reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation that is used as a marker for chronic inflammation.2
A meta-analysis of 11 different studies also found a significant reduction in CRP level from alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.3
Alpha-lipoic acid can help increase antioxidant capacity and decrease inflammation.
2. Helps Lower Blood Sugar
ALA may help lower blood sugar by enhancing glucose transport and utilization. In a randomized and controlled trial of 74 patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that oral supplementation of alpha-lipoic acid can improve insulin sensitivity.4
Another study on participants with type 2 diabetes found that ALA increases glucose disposal from the blood by augmenting the actions of insulin.5
Researchers also reported a significant decrease in fasting blood sugar in a third study on type 2 diabetics receiving alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.6
Peripheral insulin sensitivity has also been shown to improve as a result of ALA supplementation.7
Alpha-lipoic acid may help lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
3. Diabetes Complications
Alpha-lipoic acid may also help diabetes complications like diabetic neuropathy where high sugar levels damage nerves.11
In a randomized controlled double-blind study involving 460 diabetics with neuropathy, researchers found that alpha-lipoic acid supplementation slowed progression of and improved symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.12
Alpha-lipoic acid may help improve diabetic neuropathy.
4. Aids Weight Loss
Alpha-lipoic acid can inhibit the production of a compound called chemerin which is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. As a result, ALA may help improve weight loss.16
A 2015 study on 97 women reported that alpha-lipoic acid may help promote weight loss in overweight women.17
Alpha-lipoic acid may help increase weight loss.
5. Liver Health
Researchers in a 2019 double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial on 50 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease found that alpha-lipoic acid supplementation improved liver enzyme levels.26
Alpha-lipoic acid may help protect the liver from damage.
6. Eye Health
In a study involving 45 patients with glaucoma, alpha-lipoic acid supplementation improved vision.27
Researchers in another study conclude that alpha-lipoic acid is a promising treatment for age related macular degeneration.28
Alpha-lipoic acid may help improve eye health by preventing damage.
7. Heart Health
Elevated oxidative stress and inflammation are two key risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Increased oxidative stress can oxidize LDL cholesterol which then can be deposited on blood vessel walls as plaque. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.31
Alpha-lipoic acid has also been shown to reduce levels of c-reactive protein which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.32
Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to help reduce trigylcercides.33
Alpha-lipoic acid may help improve heart health and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Alpha-lipoic acid is an important adaptogen that may help improve adrenal health, increase thyroid hormones, help with weight loss, lower cholesterol and improve physical fitness it addition to other benefits.*
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