Natural Supplement (Alpha Lipoic Acid) Improves Neuropathy and Triglycerides in Diabetic Patients
Source: J Biomolecules (2019)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 22, 2023)
Alpha-lipoic acid is a natural vitamin-like substance made in plants, animals, and humans. It serves a variety of purposes in the body, acting as an antioxidant (water and fat-soluble antioxidant), a coenzyme in energy production, and it is involved in blood sugar (glucose) and fat (lipid metabolism). Experimental evidence shows that alpha-lipoic acid also has neuroprotective properties, which may help guard against Alzheimer’s disease. Alpha lipoic acid also removes heavy metals from the body (chelating agent) and is also necessary to modulate the function of stem cells in our tissues, which is a key aspect to prevent aging of our tissues and organs enabling them to renew themselves with newly formed cells that replace old, worn out cells (see 2020 reference for more details on ALA and stem cell function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7403706/) Alpha-lipoic acid has also shown some impressive anti-cancer properties in experimental research. Unfortunately, as we age our bodies make less alpha-lipoic acid, which compromises our antioxidant status, and may make us more prone to diabetes or high blood sugar, high triglycerides, neurodegenerative diseases, and more rapid aging in general.
An important review of Alpha-lipoic acid’s therapeutic applications was published in the journal Biomolecules in 2019. In this review the researchers cited an important human clinical trial involving 72 patients with diabetic neuropathy. These patients were given 600 mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid, as an oral supplement, for 40 days. The results showed a significant decrease in diabetic neuropathy signs and symptoms and the patients also saw a meaningful decline in their blood triglyceride levels (which helps confer some protection against cardiovascular disease). As reported by these researchers, “here, it was shown that alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) intake enhanced the quality of life of patients with diabetic neuropathy, reduced major symptoms and triglycerides levels. Experimental studies and other small human studies have also shown that alpha-lipoic acid helps to repair nerve damage in diabetic neuropathy. The mechanism is most likely via its antioxidant properties and helping to improve glucose uptake and metabolism in damaged nerve cells, enabling them to repair themselves.
In my view, it is worth considering taking an alpha-lipoic acid-containing supplement after the age of 45-50, as an anti-aging intervention. I take alpha lipoic acid in a supplement that also contains N-acetyl cysteine, L-glutamine and silymarin (from Milk thistle), all of which help to raise glutathione levels in the body and each of these ingredients have been shown to provide other important anti-aging, disease-preventing functions. For patients with diabetic neuropathy, which affects about 50% of all diabetic patients, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid may be an invaluable supplement to take as an adjunctive measure to help improve this condition. The daily dosage to consider in these cases once again is 600 mg per day.
I have included the references for this information in the text below.
Salehi B et al. Insights on the use of alpha-lipoic acid for therapeutic purposes. J Biomolecules. 2019; 9)8): 356 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7403706/
Diabetic Neuropathy Incidence:
Medscape: Diabetic Neuropathy:
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Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.