Alpha-lipoic acid (thioctic acid or ALA) is an antioxidant that is produced naturally by your body. Blood sugars and insulin sensitivity have also been shown to improve with ALA treatment. ALA is used for diabetes and nerve-related symptoms of diabetes including burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms. ALA are approved in Germany for the therapy of these symptoms.
Alpha Lipoic Acid Diabetes Benefits
In several studies, ALA appears to help lower blood sugar levels. A review of literature reported in Endocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders Drug Targets in 2009 demonstrated that ALA was an efficacious medicinal agent. Supplement of 300 mg of alpha-lipoic acid a day for 4 weeks improved vascular health by 44 % in diabetics, compared to a placebo. A study reported in the autumn 2006 edition of Hormones demonstrated that insulin sensitivity improved in type 2 diabetic patients who took 600 mg of ALA twice daily for 4 weeks.
In a study of 20 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, intravenous infusion of 500 mg/day of alpha lipoic acid for 10 days also improved insulin sensitivity when measured 24 hours after the last infusion. A clinical trial in 13 people with type 2 diabetes mellitus found that a single intravenous infusion of 1000 mg of alpha-lipoic acid improved insulin-stimulated insulin sensitivity by 50% compared to a placebo infusion. In a study of a controlled-release form of oral alpha lipoic acid, 15 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus took 900 mg/day for 6 weeks and 1,200 mg/day for another 6 weeks, in addition to their current drugs. At the end of 12 weeks, plasma fructosamine concentrations decreased by approximately 10% from baseline.
Seventy-four patients were divided into four groups (600 mg Lipoic acid once, twice, or thrice daily and placebo) for a four-week study to investigate its effects on insulin sensitivity, using a measurement called the MCR (Metabolic Clearance of Glucose). Alpha-lipoic acid therapy led to important improvement in MCR, though there was no significant difference between doses. A meta-analysis of clinical studies of ALA in diabetic patients demonstrated a important reduction in neuropathic symptoms. Diabetes patients are prone to kidney disease due to oxidative stress. A German study demonstrated that diabetic patients with kidney disease who were with ALA had a slower progression in their illness than non-treated people over a period of 18 months.