I only looked for research information that does not sell the product.
Excerpts from PDR Health
Alpha-lipoic acid is approved in Germany as a drug for the treatment of polyneuropathies, such as diabetic and alcoholic polyneuropathies, and liver disease.
Alpha-lipoic acid has biological antioxidant activity, antioxidant recycling activity and activity in enhancing biological energy production.
INDICATIONS AND USAGE
Lipoic acid shows evidence of being effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and may be useful in treating some other aspects of diabetes. It may help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and may be protective, generally, against oxidative stress and, specifically, against atherosclerosis, ischemia-reperfusion injury and various radiologic and chemical toxins. It may also be useful in some inborn metabolic disorders. There is less evidence that it might be helpful in some neurodegenerative conditions. There is preliminary evidence that it might have some immune-modulating effects. It has been suggested that lipoic acid may slow aging of the brain and that it may be an anti-aging substance, in general.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester
Antioxidant Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) Significantly Improves Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A collaborative study between Mayo Clinic and a medical center in Russia found that alpha lipoic acid (ALA) significantly and rapidly reduces the frequency and severity of symptoms of the most common kind of diabetic neuropathy. Symptoms decreased include burning and sharply cutting pain, prickling sensations and numbness.
The findings appear in the March 2003 issue of Diabetes Care, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/.
"There appears to be a rather large effect on the pain of diabetic neuropathy with ALA," says Peter Dyck, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and peripheral nerve specialist. "The magnitude of the change is considerable. We also found some improvement in neurologic signs and nerve conduction. We were surprised by the magnitude and the rapidity of the response."
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is manufactured in the human body. Antioxidants are substances that work by attacking "free radicals," waste products created when the body turns food into energy. There are also many sources of free radicals in the environment such as ultraviolet rays, radiation, and toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and pesticides. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells in the body, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. As a result a person becomes more susceptible to long term diseases such as diabetes and liver damage.
Alpha-lipoic acid works together with other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. It is important for growth, helps to prevent cell damage, and helps the body rid itself of harmful substances.
Several studies suggest that treatment with ALA may help reduce pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage (called peripheral neuropathy) caused by diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years for this purpose in Europe. Other studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid speeds the removal of glucose (sugar) from the blood of people with diabetes and that this antioxidant may prevent kidney damage associated with diabetes in animals.
Alpha-lipoic acid may prove useful in the treatment of chronic hepatitis because it relieves stress on the liver and helps rid the body of toxins. There have been several case reports of use of alpha-lipoic acid in combination with silymarin (milk thistle) and selenium (a substance with liver-protecting and antioxidant properties) to help treat hepatitis C (a serious type of hepatitis contracted from blood and bodily fluids that does not have an adequate cure or treatment).
It has also been used in conjunction with silymarin to treat Amanita poisoning. Amanita is a highly poisonous mushroom that causes liver damage.
Brain Function and Stroke
Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it has protective effects on brain and nerve tissue and shows promise as a treatment for stroke and other brain disorders involving free radical damage. Animals treated with alpha-lipoic acid, for example, suffered less brain damage and had a four times greater survival rate after a stroke than the animals who did not receive this supplement. While animal studies are encouraging, more research is needed to understand whether this benefit applies to people as well.
Additional conditions for which alpha-lipoic acid may prove useful include heart failure, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cataracts, and glaucoma. More research is underway in these areas.
Good food sources of alpha-lipoic acid include spinach, broccoli, beef, yeast (particularly Brewer's yeast), and certain organ meats (such as the kidney and heart).
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements are available in capsule form.
Alpha-lipoic acid can be purchased in dosages ranging 30 mg to 100 mg tablets. Currently there are no established recommended doses for supplementation. For general antioxidant support, the recommended dose of ALA is 20 mg to 50 mg per day.
Manufacturers of alpha-lipoic acid suggest one or two 50-mg capsules daily as a dietary supplement.
Studies that have been successful in improving nerve function in diabetics have used 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid per day in divided doses.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider. This is especially true for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Skin rash has been reported rarely from alpha-lipoic acid.
Finally, because alpha-lipoic acid has been associated with improved blood Sugar
control, people with diabetes should follow their blood Sugar
levels carefully when taking this supplement in order to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Your doctor may decide that a reduction in dosage of insulin or oral blood sugar-lowering drugs is needed if you are taking this supplement.
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use alpha-lipoic acid without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Amikacin and Gentamicin
In an animal study, alpha-lipoic acid supplements reduced side effects, particularly toxicity to the ear, associated with these Antibiotics
. Additional studies are needed to confirm these effects in people.
Cisplatin and Cyclophosphamide
The use of alpha-lipoic acid supplements in animals protected against toxic side effects associated with these medications.
Thyroid-regulating Medications, Levothyroxine
Rats given alpha-lipoic acid supplements had altered thyroid hormone function, but improved cholesterol levels. Blood hormone levels and thyroid function tests should be monitored closely in people taking thyroid hormones who are also taking alpha-lipoic acid.
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Review Date: April 2002
Reviewed By: Participants in the review process include: Jacqueline A. Hart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor Integrative Medicine, Boston, MA; Gary Kracoff, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Johnson Drugs, Natick, Ma; Steven Ottariono, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Veteran's Administrative Hospital, Londonderry, NH; Margie Ullmann-Weil, MS, RD, specializing in combination of complementary and traditional nutritional therapy, Boston, MA. All interaction sections have also been reviewed by a team of experts including Joseph Lamb, MD (July 2000), The Integrative Medicine Works, Alexandria, VA;Enrico Liva, ND, RPh (August 2000), Vital Nutrients, Middletown, CT; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy (March 2000), Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; President, Your Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA (July 2000), President and Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Medicine, Honolulu, HI.