Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits For Weight Loss And Diabetes

Alpha lipoic acid is considered effective for weight loss and for treating diabetes. But is it backed by scientific research? Let’s find out!

The benefits of alpha-lipoic acid have received a lot of attention in recent years! It’s a naturally occurring compound that acts as an antioxidant in the body. 

Alpha lipoic acid’s primary function is to convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy using oxygen, a process known as aerobic metabolism. Alpha-lipoic acid is also an antioxidant, which means it can neutralize potentially harmful chemicals known as free radicals, which can cause genetic damage in cells. 

Let’s go a step further and look at the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for weight loss, side effects, and uses of alpha-lipoic acid, which is all backed up by scientific facts.

What is Alpha-lipoic acid?

If you’ve read our blog on the overall benefits of alpha-lipoic acid, you might be quite aware of its benefits. But for those who are new to the topic, this is a brief introduction to alpha-lipoic acid.

The fact that alpha-lipoic acid is soluble in both water and fat is what makes it so special. That means it can just supply energy right away or store it for later use. Alpha-lipoic acid is produced naturally by your body, but it can also be found in a variety of foods and as a nutritional supplement.

According to research, it may play a role in weight loss, diabetes, and other health conditions. Many people, however, question its efficiency.

All human cells contain alpha-lipoic acid, an organic substance. It’s produced inside the mitochondrion, also known as the cell’s powerhouse, where it aids enzymes in converting nutrients to energy. Furthermore, it possesses potent antioxidant effects [1].

Since alpha-lipoic acid is water and fat-soluble, it can work in any cell or tissue in the body. The majority of other antioxidants, on the other hand, are either fat- or water-soluble [2].

Let us now look at the alpha-lipoic acid uses and benefits for weight loss and diabetes

Benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for weight loss

Many diet gurus and supplement marketers have inflated alpha-lipoic acid’s ability to boost calorie burning and aid weight loss. With that stated, there is mounting evidence that alpha-lipoic acid, albeit in a minor way, can affect weight.

It has been shown in animal trials to lower the activity of the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is found in the hypothalamus of the brain [3, 4].

Suppressing AMPK activity, on the other hand, may increase the total amount of calories your body burns during rest. Animals fed with alpha-lipoic acid burned more calories as a result [5].

Human studies, on the other hand, suggest that alpha-lipoic acid has only a minor impact on weight loss.

Over 14 weeks, individuals who took an alpha-lipoic acid supplement lost 1.52 pounds (0.69 kg) more than those who took a placebo, according to a meta-analysis of 12 trials [6].

Some people believe that ALA can help them lose weight. One animal study found that ALA improved skeletal muscle energy metabolism, perhaps boosting the number of calories the body can burn [7].

Obesity is increasingly gaining traction as the major cause of early death.

Lipoic acid can help people lose weight while also lowering the complications that come with being overweight. Poor glucose management, abnormal cholesterol levels, and chronic inflammation are all indicators.

Lipoic acid has also been found to prevent damage to the brain and nervous system caused by obesity. Lipoic acid can help people lose weight and enhance their metabolic health.You can also try peptides for weight loss or other substitutes like green coffee and saxenda for weight loss in children and adolescents.

Benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for diabetes

Is alpha-lipoic acid good for diabetes? Does this question strike your mind? More than 400 million individuals worldwide deal with diabetes [8].

High blood sugar levels are a common symptom of uncontrolled diabetes. This can lead to health issues such as vision loss, heart disease, and renal failure if left untreated [8].

Since it has been found to lower blood sugar levels in both animals and humans, alpha-lipoic acid has become prominent as a potential diabetes remedy. It has been shown in animal studies to reduce blood sugar levels by up to 64% [9].

Furthermore, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to reduce the incidence of diabetic complications.

It has been shown to alleviate nerve damage symptoms and reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy (eye damage) in those with uncontrolled diabetes. The high antioxidant capabilities of alpha-lipoic acid are thought to be responsible for this action [10, 11, 12].

Even though alpha-lipoic acid has been demonstrated to help with blood sugar control, it is not considered a full diabetic treatment. If you have diabetes and wish to try alpha-lipoic acid, it’s best to first discuss it with your doctor, as it may interact with your prescriptions.

Benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy

The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) may be used to relieve the discomfort associated with diabetic polyneuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, is a common and possibly fatal condition. 

Damage to the nerves is permanent, and the symptoms can be difficult to manage. Polyneuropathy affects the body’s peripheral nerves. It’s the most prevalent type of neuropathy in diabetics, and it induces discomfort in the feet and legs.

As a result of excessive blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, neuropathy can occur in diabetics. When blood glucose levels are poorly maintained for a long time, people with diabetes are at significant risk of nerve injury.

Depending on the type of neuropathy you have and which nerves are affected, your symptoms may vary. Diabetic neuropathy can manifest itself in a variety of ways, each with its own set of symptoms. Peripheral and autonomic neuropathy symptoms may be alleviated by ALA.

ALA is found in certain foods like:

  • Red meat
  • Broccoli 
  • Spinach 
  • Liver 
  • Brewer’s yeast

It is also made in small amounts by the body. Antioxidants, as per experts, protect cells from damage. ALA aids in the battle against free radicals, which cause cell damage. ALA may also help the body become more insulin-sensitive.

ALA can be taken as a supplement by diabetics to help with neuropathy. Although this supplement appears to be beneficial, you should still consider the risks and concerns before taking it.

Side effects of alpha-lipoic acid for weight loss and diabetes

When taken as an oral supplement or applied topically, alpha-lipoic acid is usually deemed safe. However, little research has been done on alpha-lipoic acid’s long-term safety, including when the supplement may become toxic.

Furthermore, animal studies have found that high doses of alpha-lipoic acid accelerate oxidation, affect liver enzymes, and increase pressure on liver and breast tissues [13].

Headaches, skin rashes, muscle cramps, and a tingling “pins and needles” sensation are all common side effects of alpha-lipoic acid. The side effects are usually minor and go away after the medication is stopped.

Alpha-lipoic acid has the potential to lower blood sugar levels. If you’re on diabetes medication, let your doctor know so that the dosage can be modified if necessary.

Can you lose weight with alpha-lipoic acid?

A low-grade inflammatory state promotes oxidative stress, which blunts the function of fat as an energy source and facilitates fat storage, according to a theory to explain the severity of obesity and accompanying comorbidities [14].

It has been posited that when body fat accumulates, oxidative stress increases, contributing to the development of cardiometabolic conditions. As a result, antioxidants such as ALA have been proposed as having potential therapeutic use in the treatment of obesity [15, 16].

Is alpha-lipoic acid good for diabetics?

The easiest method to avoid diabetic neuropathy is to keep your blood sugar under control. Once you’ve had a nerve injury, there aren’t many options for treatment. 

Prescription painkillers can help with pain, but they can also be hazardous and addictive in some circumstances. The greatest solution is to prevent diabetes by maintaining good glucose control.

If other diabetic treatment options aren’t working, you might want to try ALA supplements. For the safest and most effective dose for your condition, consult your doctor. 

You could find that your current diet provides adequate ALA. Supplements are most beneficial if you don’t obtain enough nutrients from natural sources or if your doctor recommends them.

Although ALA appears to have some potential as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy, it is not guaranteed to be effective. The safety and effectiveness of ALA can differ between diabetics.

Before starting to take this or any other dietary supplement, consult your doctor. If you have any odd adverse effects or if your symptoms worsen, stop taking ALA immediately.

Nerve injury is irreversible. The purpose of diabetic neuropathy treatment is to alleviate pain and associated symptoms. This will improve your quality of life. It’s also necessary to eliminate more nerve injuries from developing.

How much alpha-lipoic acid should you take?

While alpha-lipoic acid is regarded as safe, no rules are directing its use. The majority of oral supplements are available in dosages ranging from 100 to 600 mg. The majority of existing research suggests that a maximum daily dose of up to 1,800 mg is safe in adults.

Since certain foods can inhibit the absorption of the acid, alpha-lipoic supplements should be taken on an empty stomach. Although no exact dosage has been established, the majority of research suggests that 300–600 mg is sufficient and safe [17]. You can also follow the guidelines on the back of the bottle.

People with diabetes concerns or cognitive impairments may require higher doses of alpha-lipoic acid. In these cases, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the dosage. The most common supplement forms are alpha-lipoic acid pills and powder.

Do not take different forms of alpha-lipoic acid (tablets and capsules) at the same time without seeking medical help. You run the risk of overdose when you combine various formulations!

FAQs

Q: How much alpha-lipoic acid should a diabetic take daily?

A: Adults typically take 600-1800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily by mouth for up to 6 months. However, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement. Also watch your diet if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. 

Q: What does alpha lipoic acid do for diabetics?

A: Since it has been found to lower blood sugar levels in both animals and humans, alpha-lipoic acid has become prominent as a potential diabetes remedy. Alpha lipoic acid not only can lower blood glucose levels but can also prevent nerve damage that occurs due to diabetes.

Q: Can non-diabetics take alpha-lipoic acid?

A: Yes. alpha-lipoic acid can be taken by anyone under a doctor’s prescription. It is generally considered safe. However, some people may experience mild symptoms like nausea, rashes, or itching. According to research, adults can take up to 2,400 mg of ALA without harmful side effects.

Q: Can you take alpha-lipoic acid with metformin?

A: ALA also lowered body weight and boosted adiponectin levels. A potentiating effect was observed when ALA (100 mg/kg, IP) was combined with metformin (100 mg/kg, IP) to improve cognitive function and insulin signaling [18].

Q: Can I take alpha-lipoic acid every day?

A: You can take alpha-lipoic acid after taking advice from a medical professional. A dose of 600-1800 mg of ALA by mouth daily for up to 6 months is considered safe. Talk to your doctor if you need to use ALA for long term.

Wrapping up

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant-rich chemical substance. Your body produces it in small amounts, but it can also be found in foods and as a supplement.

It has benefits for weight loss and diabetes. Doses of 300–600 mg seem to be effective and safe, with no significant side effects. It is always a wise idea to see a doctor before starting any new supplement. ALA supplements can be found in pharmacies, health food stores, and online stores.

References 

  1. Packer, Lester, and Enrique Cadenas. “Lipoic acid: energy metabolism and redox regulation of transcription and cell signaling.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition vol. 48,1 (2011): 26-32. 
  2. Golbidi, Saeid et al. “Diabetes, Principles, and alpha-lipoic Acid.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 2 69. (2011)
  3. Kola, B. “Role of AMP-activated protein kinase in the control of appetite.” Journal of neuroendocrinology vol. 20,7 (2008): 942-51.
  4. Kim, Min-Seon et al. “Anti-obesity effects of alpha-lipoic acid mediated by suppression of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase.” Nature medicine vol. 10,7 (2004): 727-33.
  5. Wang, Yi et al. “alpha-Lipoic acid increase energy expenditure by enhancing adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase-peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha signaling in the skeletal muscle of aged mice.” Metabolism: clinical and experimental vol. 59,7 (2010): 967-76. 
  6. Namazi, Nazli et al. “Alpha-lipoic acid supplement in obesity treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials.” Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) vol. 37,2 (2018): 419-428. 
  7. Tabish, Syed Amin. “Is Diabetes Becoming the Biggest Epidemic of the Twenty-first Century?.” International journal of health sciences vol. 1,2 (2007): V-VIII.
  8. Streeper, R S et al. “Differential effects of lipoic acid stereoisomers on glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle.” The American journal of physiology vol. 273,1 Pt 1 (1997): E185-91. 
  9. Streeper, R S et al. “Differential effects of lipoic acid stereoisomers on glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle.” The American journal of physiology vol. 273,1 Pt 1 (1997): E185-91. 
  10. Foster, Tricia Stewart. “Efficacy and safety of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in the treatment of symptomatic diabetic neuropathy.” The Diabetes educator vol. 33,1 (2007): 111-7. 
  11. Papanas, Nikolaos, and Dan Ziegler. “Efficacy of α-lipoic acid in diabetic neuropathy.” Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy vol. 15,18 (2014): 2721-31. 
  12. Gorąca, Anna et al. “Lipoic acid – biological activity and therapeutic potential.” Pharmacological reports: PR vol. 63,4 (2011): 849-58. 
  13. Cakatay, Ufuk, and Refik Kayali. “Plasma protein oxidation in aging rats after alpha-lipoic acid administration.” Biogerontology vol. 6,2 (2005): 87-93.
  14. Hotamisligil, Gökhan S. “Inflammation and metabolic disorders.” Nature vol. 444,7121 (2006): 860-7.
  15. Furukawa, Shigetada et al. “Increased oxidative stress in obesity and its impact on metabolic syndrome.” The Journal of clinical investigation vol. 114,12 (2004): 1752-61. 
  16. Abdali, Daniyal, et al. “How effective are antioxidant supplements in obesity and diabetes?.” Medical Principles and practice: international journal of the Kuwait University, Health Science Centre vol. 24,3 (2015): 201-15. 
  17. Nguyen H, Gupta V., “Alpha-Lipoic Acid”, Stat Pearls, (2021)
  18. Ahuja, Swati, et al. “Alpha-lipoic acid and metformin alleviates experimentally induced insulin resistance and cognitive deficit by modulation of TLR2 signaling.” Pharmacological report principles and: PR vol. 71,4 (2019): 614-623.
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