what is alpha lipoic acid

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

In a world brimming with health trends and supplements, one remarkable nutrient shines brightly yet often remains hidden in the shadows of DHA and EPA. Yes, you guessed it right! It is the wonder of omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha lipoic acid, AKA ALA. 

its health-promising potential

Alpha-lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant that defies conventions, not only boasts the ability to safeguard your cells from the ravages of free radicals but also holds the potential to enhance energy production, support anxiety and depression, and even aid in weight management.

Let’s unravel the unique features and true health-promising potentials of alpha lipoic acids in detail. 

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid? 

Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant made around these days for its potential health benefits. It is synthesized in small amounts within the mitochondria.   ALA is unique because it is water- and fat-soluble, allowing it to work effectively in various body parts. 

You can get ALA from both food and supplemental sources such as CardioCan. 

It is primarily responsible for the breakdown of nutrients and their conversion into cellular energy. 

Its antioxidant profile makes it efficient enough to scavenge the body cells from oxidative stress.  ALA can be found in small amounts in certain foods, which include spinach, broccoli, and organ meats. 

Health Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

The ALA is long known for its health-promising potential. It facilitates many organs and their functions. It has been vigorously consumed as an alternative medicine to manage weight loss, treats diabetes, heals wounds, and much more. 

Brain Health 

ALA has a promising neuroprotective effect. It protects nerve cells from oxidative stress, trauma, and inflammation. Some studies suggest that ALA may have a positive impact on cognitive function. It may help improve memory, attention, and overall cognitive performance.

ALA has also been investigated for its potential role in neurological recovery following brain injuries or strokes. 

Some studies suggest that ALA may help reduce tissue damage, promote neural repair, and improve functional outcomes in most cases.

There is also a handful of research unveiling the potential effects of ALA in controlling the progression of Alzhemirs and oxidative stress-induced dementia.  

Heart Health 

ALA has proven potential to improve cardiac health. It promotes the endothelium's health that makes the blood vessel's inner lining, as its health is crucial for proper cardiovascular function. Some studies suggest that ALA may improve endothelial function, promoting better blood vessel dilation and overall vascular health.

Its anti-inflammatory potential reduces inflammation within blood vessels and heart tissues, thus enhancing overall cardiac health. 

Alpha lipoic acid holds vasodilatory effects. It can widen the narrow vessels to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. 

Skin Health 

As an active antioxidant, ALA  neutralizes the free radicals within the dermal cells, thereby reducing stress-induced acne. Some research suggests that ALA also has anti-aging effects on the skin by promoting collagen synthesis. It effectively reduces the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

Manages Weight and Diabetes 

Some studies suggest that ALA may have a beneficial impact on weight management. ALA has shown promise in improving blood sugar control in individuals with diabetes or prediabetes. It may enhance insulin sensitivity, meaning it helps the body's cells better respond to insulin, leading to improved glucose uptake and utilization. By promoting better blood sugar regulation, ALA may help individuals with diabetes manage their condition more effectively.

Food sources of Alpha-lipoic Acid 

Although the amounts may vary, alpha-lipoic acid is naturally present in various food sources.

The most common food sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): 

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Organ meat (includes liver and kidney) 
  • Peas 
  • Brussel Sprouts 

What are the Side Effects of Lipoic Acid? 

ALA is generally considered safe for consumption if taken in moderate doses. But like other supplements, everything taken out of moderation harms health. 

Some possible side effects of ALA include: 

    1. Gastrointestinal Issues: Some cases have reported that ALA supplements might cause gastrointestinal issues in high doses. When taking ALA, some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea. These effects are typically temporary and subside on their own.
    2. Skin Rashes: In hyper-sensitive cases, ALA supplementation may give rise to allergic skin reactions or rashes. If you develop a rash or any other allergic symptoms, it is recommended to discontinue ALA use and consult a healthcare professional.
  • Thiamine deficiency: Despite the health-promising effect of Alpha Lipoic Acid, ALA does refrain from the absorption and utilization of thiamine, which is responsible for energy metabolism.  
    1. Hypoglycemia: Since ALA has sugar-lowering potentials, sometimes this might get out of hand and triggers the hypoglycemic effect, which might be deadly. 
    2. Interferes with the Medicine's Effectiveness: ALA may interfere with the absorption and even effect of thyroid medicines, chemotherapeutic drugs, and those for diabetes. 

    Special Precautions and Warnings 

    ALA and Pregnancy 

    No detailed research states the side effects of ALA on pregnancy. However, being cautious about the mother and infant’s well-being is best. Consult the gynecologist before the intake of any supplement. 

    ALA and Diabetes 

    ALA does have an anti-diabetic effect. But it might trigger hypoglycemic conditions in some cases that might turn out to be life-threatening. 

    Thyroid Condition 

    ALA might aggravate the thyroid condition. So, be very careful with ALA if you have any thyroid condition.  

    Frequently Asked Question 

    Can alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) helps with weight loss?

    Yes, ALA has weight management potential. It does so by increasing energy expenditure and promoting fat breakdown. 

    What is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), and what does it do?

    Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an organic molecule with antioxidant properties that helps protect cells from oxidative stress and supports energy production in the body.

    Can alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) interact with medications?

    Yes, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can interact with certain medications. It will be best to get a Professional healthcare consultation before taking ALA, especially if you are on medications for diabetes, thyroid conditions, or chemotherapy drugs, to assess potential interactions and determine the appropriate dosage.

    Is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

    So far, no such research supports the fact that it harms the mother or the infant. But we prefer to have ALA supplementation with a professional recommendation. 

    What is the recommended dosage of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)?

    Generally, a typical range for ALA supplementation is 300-600 mg per day, taken in divided doses. However, it depends on the health conditions and physical needs. 


    In a nutshell, Alpha lipoic acid is one wonder nutrient that holds some manifolds of health benefits that are still underway. From anti-oxidizing effect to anti-inflammatory, these organic molecules have come a long way. Its antioxidant properties protect the brain, heart, skin, and lungs from oxidative damage. Whether through dietary sources or supplementation, incorporating ALA into our lives may offer a pathway to enhanced well-being.

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