What is alpha lipoic acid?

Alpha lipoic acid (or ALA for short) is both an organosulfur compound and a natural fatty acid. The substance is used by the body in general functions, like aerobic metabolism and energy production (turning glucose into energy). Aside from its acronym, alpha lipoic acid is also known by monikers such as thioctic acid, or simply an abbreviated lipoic acid.


Alpha lipoic acid is used medicinally and for claimed health benefits, including the items (supposed benefits and medical conditions) below:

Age-related medical circumstances
Alzheimer's disease
Brain function improvements
Burning mouth syndrome (glossodynia)
Chronic sickness
Eye cataracts
Glaucoma (a form of optic neuropathy)
Multiple sclerosis
Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy

One of the major reasons for which alpha lipoic acid is as a treatment for peripheral neuropathy. This is a medical condition where damage has come to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms include items such as: weakness, numbness and tingling, pain, itching, and a burning sensation. However, these symptoms can occur in various other underlying medical conditions. Tests may be taken to attempt a diagnosis for the underlying condition behind the potential peripheral neuropathy, if it is suspected.

Side Effects

In certain circumstances, side effects may come with the use of alpha lipoic acid. However, the following possible side effects are not an exhaustive list, nor are they a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to using alpha lipoic acid, find such information, including other potential side effects, interactions with other supplements, medications, or herbs, and contraindications for patients with particular medical conditions.

Several side effects which may occur when taking alpha lipoic acid include:

Cramps (muscles)
Insulin autoimmune syndrome
Skin rash
Sensation of tingling on the body

Additional information

If you would like to continue reading about ALA and additional details on it, then continue reading this website specifically about alpha lipoic acid. You can read about alpha lipoic acid as an antioxidant, as well as further information.

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