Alpha-lipoic acid helps reduce weight and waist size, helps improve glucose function and helps slow mental decline*
by Newsletter Editor
Alpha-lipoic acid helps reduce weight and waist size
Doctors said that alpha-lipoic acid is the “universal” antioxidant because it is both fat- and water-soluble, allowing it to protect a wider range of body systems. The researchers believe that alpha-lipoic acid helps shift glucose into muscles and away from fat cells, increasing energy and reducing stored fat. In one study, scientists gave 1,127 overweight or obese men and women 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid per day. After four months, average blood pressure had declined significantly. Participants also had an average of two to four points lower body mass index scores. Obese women lost an average of 3.5 inches in waist size, and obese men 4.3 inches.
Alpha-lipoic acid reduced weight and BMI
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) helps the body produce cellular energy. Doctors said ALA reduced weight-gain in earlier lab studies and wanted to test ALA in humans. In one study, 360 obese people who also had high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol took 1,200 mg or 1,800 mg of ALA per day or a placebo, along with eating a low-calorie diet. After 20 weeks, compared to placebo, many more of those in the 1,800 mg ALA group had lost at least 5 percent of their body weight. Overall, the 1,800 mg ALA group lost an average of 2.1 percent of body weight and had lower body-mass index (BMI) scores.
Alpha-lipoic acid helps diabetics convert sugar to energy
The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) improved the body’s ability to absorb and convert sugar (glucose) to energy (glycemic control-insulin sensitivity) in Type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a study. Researchers recruited 12 obese Type 2 diabetics, average age 53, and gave an oral dose of 600 mg of ALA twice per day for a daily total of 1,200 mg of ALA for four weeks. Doctors also monitored 12 healthy subjects with normal glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity who did not take ALA as a control group. At the end of the study period, scientists found that the diabetics were able to clear glucose from the blood nearly twice as quickly—an average 85.8% increase in clearing rate—as before taking ALA. The doctors also determined how sensitive the diabetics were to insulin—the natural hormone produced by the healthy body that regulates glucose—and found that insulin sensitivity increased 62.3% after taking ALA. The scientists noted that there was no statistically significant difference in insulin sensitivity between the diabetics who had taken ALA and the healthy control group, leading the doctors to conclude that short-term oral ALA treatment increases insulin sensitivity in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Prior studies have shown that ALA improved insulin sensitivity when patients received an injection of the antioxidant and doctors wanted to determine if ALA would be as effective using oral supplements.
Alpha-lipoic acid slows mental decline
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant that helps produce energy in every human cell, slowed Alzheimer’s disease (AD) more effectively than AD drugs, in a study. In an earlier phase of this study, nine participants with AD who were taking a standard treatment of choline-esterase inhibitors (CEI) also took 600 mg of ALA per day. After 12 months, researchers found that mental decline had stopped.
In the current phase of this study, researchers included 43 participants who took ALA for up to 48 months and found that symptoms in those with mild AD progressed extremely slowly. In those with moderate AD, symptoms progressed twice as fast as in mild AD, but doctors noted that the rate of decline for those taking ALA was dramatically lower than the rate of decline in a concurrent study of AD sufferers who were not being treated or who were taking CEI.
Alpha-lipoic acid helps combat oxidative stress
Early or subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) is an imbalance in thyroid hormones that causes low energy and fatigue. Doctors said that earlier studies linked SH to less-flexible blood vessels and elevated blood pressure. Because oxidative stress may be a factor in SH, researchers wanted to see if the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid might help. In one study, 40 women recently diagnosed with SH took alpha-lipoic acid or a placebo daily for three weeks. While there were no changes for the placebo group, those in the alpha-lipoic acid group had much lower levels of oxidative stress and greater blood-vessel flexibility compared to placebo and compared to the beginning of the study. Researchers also found a direct link: as levels of oxidative stress decreased, blood-vessel flexibility increased.