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Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALA, alpha-lipoic acid, TA, thioctic acid

General description

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant. It is quickly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It dissolves in both water and fat in the body. 

Demonstrated uses

The main use for ALA is to treat diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy causes sensory changes. These include stinging, burning, pain, and numbness in parts of the skin. ALA hasn't been proven to be helpful for neuropathy. But research is underway to assess the use of ALA for people with neuropathy.

Several small studies have also shown that ALA can help to increase insulin sensitivity. It can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. More research is needed to confirm this. 

ALA is a potent antioxidant. This function may protect nerve tissue from damage. Conditions such as diabetes may be helped by antioxidants such as ALA.


There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

ALA may help to:

  • Prevent cataracts

  • Prevent cancer

  • Treat cancer

  • Treat diabetes

  • Treat diabetic neuropathy

  • Treat liver disease

Suggested dosage

ALA is available to treat diabetic neuropathy.

Doses of ALA range from 200 to 800 mg per day. There is no evidence for a specific dose.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Side effects

There are no side effects at recommended doses. Toxicity risk is very low.


There are no known food or medicine interactions. But ALA can reduce the amount of insulin or oral diabetes medicine needed. If you have diabetes and use ALA, watch your blood sugar levels closely.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brittany Poulson MDA RDN CD CDE
Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2021