Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) Fact Sheet

About Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Inside the body, the longer a protein lives, the greater the chance it will meet a sugar and become modified by it. The chemical products of these reactions are known as AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products) and they can be used as a marker of aging. ALA is an advanced glycation inhibitor.

Alpha-lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant made in the body, with additional actions that can regenerate antioxidant defenses. It is a universal antioxidant, anti-atherogenic, metal chelator, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes and neuroprotective agent.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Aging

In the body, alpha-lipoic acid occurs in two forms: R-lipoic acid and R-dihydro-lipoic acid. R-dihydro-lipoic acid exerts a number of antioxidant and neuroprotective actions that are not seen with R-lipoic acid. In particular, R-dihydro-lipoic acid has been shown to improve mitochondrial function, reduce nerve damage in aging and improve memory and performance.

Studies have also shown that it appears able to help lower blood sugar levels, and it may also assist in helping to protect brain tissue.

Do I Have a Deficiency of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)?

Healthy individuals can usually make enough ALA in the body, but due to aging or disease, enough may not be made.

How Can I Add Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) to my Diet?

Foods rich in alpha-lipoic acid are yeast, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, beets and yams, as well as red meat.

How Much Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) Should I Take?

When buying a supplement, look for the one that definitely contains the active component. The recommended dose of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) for healthy aging is 50 to 150mg/day.

Side Effects

When used as a supplement in high dose, generic ALA can produce side effects such as a skin rash, lowering of blood sugar and depletion of B group vitamins, especially B1.


Those with diabetes should speak with their doctor before taking ALA, due its potential to lower blood sugar levels. It may also interact with thyroid hormones and some chemotherapy drugs.


Alpha-lipoic acid:

Last Reviewed 13/Mar/2014

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