How does alpha lipoic acid help diabetics?

- Oct 23, 2019-

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an organic sulfide derived from lanolinic acid. It is a coenzyme present in mitochondria. As a coenzyme, it is involved in the key energy metabolism in our body. It is called antioxidants with vitamins C, E, and coenzyme Q10. It also increases the ability of other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E to scavenge free radicals. How does alpha lipoic acid help diabetics?


Diabetes is a chronic disease that primarily harms tiny blood vessels. The high blood glucose can lead to a series of chronic complications, which it includes neuropathy. Especially peripheral nerve injury, with the most obvious sensory nerve damage. It embodies numbness, pain and so on. Everyone knows that the treatment of neuropathy is very difficult. It requires comprehensive treatment, not only to lower blood sugar, but also to improve microcirculation, neurotrophic, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammatory, nerve repair, blood pressure control, blood lipids, etc. This treatment process is also very long, and the late effects are not good, so early prevention is especially critical.


First, the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy is to increase oxidative stress. 

A great deal of research has been conducted on the potential of antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress, improve the pathophysiological processes of neuropathy, and alleviate pain.

a 硫辛酸

Several prospective placebo-controlled studies have confirmed the efficacy of alpha lipoic acid for symptomatic diabetic neuropathy. For example, the SYDNEY1 study has showed that taking ALA for three weeks can reduce pain, skin paresthesia, and numbness. In the SYDNEY2 study, 181 diabetic patients with distal symmetric polyneuropathy were divided into 4 groups randomly. They are respectively received oral ALA 600 mg, 1200 mg, 1800 mg, and placebo for 5 weeks. The study showed that different doses of ALA reduced symptoms of neuropathy, including stinging, burning pain, paresthesia, and numbness compared with placebo. And there are other founding: (1) the efficacy of ALA is not related to the dose used; (2) the optimal dose of ALA is 600mg, because higher doses do not increase the effect, but often increase the side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

Therefore, based on existing scientific research, patients with diabetics can use alpha lipoic acid to help treat diabetic polyneuropathy, especially those who use antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline, duloxetine, Lafaxine) or an anticonvulsant drug (eg, pregabalin) is ineffective or intolerable in patients.

Second, blocking the diabetes glycosylation

Alpha lipoic acid also blocks glycosylation (glucose and protein binding) in diabetes. And glycosylatio is an important cause of diabetes damage. It can make blood sugar more stable to improve the sensitivity of diabetic cells for insulin significantly, increase the production of ATP in the cell energy cycle and improve myocardial lesions complicated by diabetes. Moreover, there is also an adjuvant therapeutic effect on arteriosclerosis, cataract, fatty liver and the like which are combined with diabetes