What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in the body. ALA is often referred to as the “universal antioxidant.” It serves vital functions at the cellular level, such as energy production. The body has the ability to produce all the ALA needed, as long it’s healthy. Alpha lipoic acid is found in other organic sources, such as red meat, organ meat (like liver, heart, kidney, etc.), broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, brussels sprouts, and yeast. ALA has been used in supplement form to help in the treatment of diabetes, HIV, cancer, liver ailments, and has recently gained more popularity in the use of weight loss.
Is ALA Used for Weight Loss and Energy?
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that is both water and fat soluble. This means that it works inside and outside of the body to destroy harmful free radicals. It further strengthens the body’s defenses by recycling and enhancing other antioxidants in the body, such as vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10, and glutathione. ALA works within the mitochondria, or powerhouse, of the cell and is a vital part in the conversion of glucose to energy. Naturally, glucose requires insulin to get into the cells. ALA mimics insulin, improving both glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This simply means that more glucose is transported into the cells rather than being stored as fat.
ALA also improves the conversion of carbs to energy, which means fewer carbohydrates are stored as fat cells. It is shown that when taken in combination with a calorie controlled diet, Alpha lipoic acid supplementation has the potential to boost weight loss.
In early 2015, the Obesity journal published a study that involved 77 overweight women who were placed into four different groups. Group 1 was given a placebo, Group 2 was given 1300mg of EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid), Group 3 was given 300 mg of ALA, and Group 4 was given a combination of EPA and ALA. All women were required to follow a reduced calorie diet throughout the 10 week trial. Results showed that 300mg of ALA per day combined with a calorie restricted diet was most effective at reducing weight and fat mass, with an average of 15 lbs. lost within those 10 weeks.
Before Taking This Medication:
Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have liver disease, diabetes (alpha lipoic acid can cause low blood sugar), thyroid disorder, thiamine deficiency (thiamine is a form of vitamin B), or if you drink large amounts of alcohol. It is important not to use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant or breastfeeding because it is unknown whether ALA will harm the unborn baby or pass into breast milk.
Make sure to give a full list of all medications and dietary supplements you may be taking to your doctor. This will help avoid any possible medication interactions.
If you choose to use alpha lipoic acid, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label. Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with alpha lipoic acid does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product. Do not use different forms (tablets and capsules) of alpha lipoic acid at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose. Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Although not all side effects are known, alpha lipoic acid is thought to be possibly safe when taken as directed.
Stop using ALA and call your doctor right away if you experience any:
- – Low blood sugar indicated by headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, confusion, irritability, dizziness, tachycardia (fast heart rate), or feeling jittery
- – Light-headedness
Some common side effects include:
- – Nausea
- – Skin rash
- – Itching
- – Abdominal pain
- – Vomiting
- – Diarrhea
As with any medication, it is important to always speak with your doctor before taking. If you have any further questions, contact Olympia Compounding Pharmacy at 407-673-2222.