Alpha-lipoic acid is an organic compound in the body that acts as a potent antioxidant. It may have several health benefits.
While the body produces alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) naturally, a person can boost their levels by making suitable dietary choices, taking supplements, or both.
Supplementing with ALA is becoming increasingly popular, as some people believe that it may help with weight loss, diabetes, memory loss, skin health, and other health conditions.
In this article, learn about its effectiveness, possible benefits, and side effects.
What is ALA?
ALA is present within mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cells.
ALA is crucial for digestion, absorption, and the creation of energy. It helps enzymes turn nutrients into energy. It also has antioxidant properties.
Since humans can only produce ALA in small amounts, many people turn to supplements to increase their intake.
Uses and benefits of alpha-lipoic acid
ALA may have an impact on the following:
Some claim that ALA may help people lose weight. For example, one study on an animal model found that ALA could improve skeletal muscle energy metabolism, possibly increasing how many calories the body can burn.
However, studies also show that the impact of ALA on weight loss is small. According to a 2018 analysis, those taking ALA supplements only lost an average of 1.52 pounds and did not experience a significant change in their waist circumference.
Some research suggests that ALA may help the body control blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol levels.
Research has also shown that it could reduce nerve damage symptoms that are common in people with diabetes, such as numbness, pain, and paralysis.
According to one 2018 analysis, ALA can significantly lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.
CRP is an inflammation marker that may indicate chronic inflammation linked to harmful diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
According to some research, ALA, because it is a potent antioxidant, may help reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of heart disease.
A review of several randomized controlled trials also found that ALA could lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, another risk factor for heart disease.
Oxidative stress occurs naturally with age. As well as playing a role in the development of heart disease, it also plays a critical role in brain health and memory loss.
According to a study in participants with Alzheimer’s disease, ALA may slow the progression of the condition.
The researchers suggested that this might be due to ALA’s positive effects on insulin resistance and blood sugar metabolism, as diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Does alpha-lipoic acid work?
Some studies show that ALA may have health benefits including reducing inflammation, aiding weight loss, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
However, many of these studies were small, short-term, or in animal models. More research is needed to determine whether ALA is an effective treatment or preventative measure for the conditions and issues listed above.
Takeaway about alpha-lipoic acid
ALA is an organic compound that acts as an antioxidant and has a variety of other effects on the body. While the body makes it naturally, some people also choose to take ALA supplements.
Research suggests that ALA may help with weight loss, diabetes, memory loss, and some other health conditions. However, there is not enough research to understand its full benefits or effectiveness in humans.
ALA is generally safe for adults, but it is best to speak with a doctor before taking any new supplements.