Alpha lipoic acid benefits: Godfather of antioxidants

There are several alpha lipoic acid benefits associated with this unique antioxidant. Although it is mostly used for improving blood sugar level, it has other health benefits. 

Our own body produces ALA but as we age, natural production of ALA goes down. To nullify this effect we can turn to foods and supplements.

Since ALA works in water and fat, it goes into every type of cell in our body thereby affecting all the major organs, including the heart.


All foods contain ALA. However, some foods are better sources then others thereby offering easier way toward alpha lipoic acid benefits. 

  • Organ meats such as kidney, liver and heart
  • Red meat
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Peas
  • Rice bran
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

    ALA can protect us against free radicals, oxidation of LDL cholesterol, plaque build-up and atherosclerosis. However, it can also regenerate other antioxidants which exhibit similar effect such as vitamins C and E.

    Studies have shown that, due to its uniqe abilities, it may prevent myocardial infarction and DNA damage. while speeding up recovery and regeneration of the heart muscle, after heart attack.

    ALA is one of the natural remedies for cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathy is a disease where a nerve which regulates organ function is damaged.

    In this case, the problem is with "heart nerve". Alpha lipoic acid can help with nerve regeneration thereby easing the symptoms of the disease. As the nerve regenerates, heart rate, blood pressure and heart function stabilizes.

    ALA also regenerates ubiquinone and ubiquinol thereby indirectly improving heart function, by increasing ejection fraction.


    Alpha lipoic acid may help lower high blood sugar and maintain already normal blood glucose values in healthy range. It does this by helping the body convert glucose to energy, in the cell.

    It also prevents abnormal attachment of sugars to proteins, improves insulin sensitivity, reduces fat accumulation in the vital organs and protects pancreatic beta cells from destruction.

    This great antioxidant is considered a natural remedy for diabetic neuropathy. It helps with nerve regeneration thereby speeding-up regeneration and alleviating some of the pain.


    Besides being strong antioxidant, it also posseses anti-inflammatory properties. It may help prevent abnormal cell growth and reproduction, by regulating gene expression.

    ALA may inhibit an enzyme which allows cancer cells to invade healthy tissue and initiate programed cell death of cancer cells thereby preventing metastasis and inducing apoptosis.

    Besides regenerating vitamins C and E, ALA also recycles glutathione which is powerful antioxidant involved in the process of detoxication.


    Since it can pass the blood-brain barrier, it may be a very potent brain supplement. It protects brain cells from oxidative stress.

    However, it may also regenerate the nerve tissue in the brain thereby reducing the risk of stroke, dementia and other age related diseases.

    Alpha lipoic acid seems to exhibit better results, when combined with Acetyl l carnitine.


    ALA caused dangerously low blood sugar levels and autoimmune reaction in few patients. Person's own immune system began to produce antibodies directed against the body's own insulin, without previous insulin therapy.

    The body reacts like this, in order to establish the balance of blood sugar levels, same as it does when blood glucose levels are too high. In cases such as this one, alpha lipoic acid side effects overpower alpha lipoic acid benefits which makes the use of ALA actually dangerous.

    In comparison to this, other side effects are relativly mild. They may include headache, nausea, skin rash, muscle cramps or tingling sensation in the limbs.

    Also, alpha lipoic acid may affect thyroid, by lowering its activity. People taking thyroid medications should take extra care in this case.


    Normal dose ranges from 200 to 400 mg per day and even up to 600 mg per day. Although there have been few studies done with much higher doses, it seems that the maximal dose is 600 mg, once daily.


    In 90 % of the cases, young people with heart condition shouldn't take alpha lipoic acid. On the other hand, older adults above the age of forty, may find this supplement very helpful for treating heart disease. The older we get, the lower is our natural production of ALA.


    I tried combining ALA with Acetyl l carnitine but didn't experience drastic improvements in my heart function, besides slightly lower and more consistent heart rate. However, my brain function did improve to some degree.

    If I was older, I would probably notice more alpha lipoic acid benefits since I am pretty sure that my body doesn't lacks this nutrient, at this point in time.

    Also, I stopped taking alpha lipoic acid and Acetyl l carnitine after I started experiencing strange sensations in my thyroid area. I suggest you do same, if you experience similar sensations. There is no point in treating one disease, if you are provoking another.

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