Skip to main content
Menu

Lipoic Acid

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Alpha-lipoic acid, α-lipoic acid

Introduction

Lipoic acid is a compound found in the body. It acts as an antioxidant to help slow damage to cells. Lipoic acid has been used to ease symptoms of diabetes and promote weight loss. It has also been used to lower cholesterol and improve male fertility. Lipoic acid can be taken as a pill or powder. It can also be applied to the skin as a cream or injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.

Dosages

600 milligrams daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy —likely to improve symptoms when used with standard treatment D1-D5
  • High Cholesterol —likely to lower triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol E1
  • Obesity —likely to help promote weight loss H1, H2

May Be Effective

  • Burning mouth syndrome —may ease symptoms A1-A4
  • Male infertility —may improve sperm quality F1
  • Multiple sclerosis —may improve walking ability G1, G2

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy B1
  • Dementia C1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take lipoic acid in small doses for a short time, but headache, rash, and nausea and vomiting may happen. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with diabetes should talk to their doctors before taking lipoic acid. It may interact with their medicines.
 

References

A. Burning Mouth Syndrome

A1. Kisely S, Forbes M, et al. A systematic review of randomized trials for the treatment of burning mouth syndrome. J Psychosom Res. 2016 Jul;86:39-46.

A2. McMillan R, Forssell H, et al. Interventions for treating burning mouth syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 18;11:CD002779.

A3. Liu YF, Kim Y, et al. Burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review of treatments. Oral Dis. 2018 Apr;24(3):325-334.

A4. de Souza IF, Mármora BC, et al. Treatment modalities for burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review. Clin Oral Investig. 2018 Jun;22(5):1893-1905.

B. Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy

B1. Brami C, Bao T, et al. Natural products and complementary therapies for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A systematic review. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016 Feb;98:325-334.

C. Dementia

C1. Sauer J, Tabet N, et al. Alpha lipoic acid for dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(1):CD004244.

D. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

D1. Xu Q, Pan J, et al. Meta-analysis of methylcobalamin alone and in combination with lipoic acid in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;101(2):99-105.

D2. Cakici N, Fakkel TM, et al. Systematic review of treatments for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Diabet Med. 2016;33(11):1466-1476.

D3. Wang XT, Lin HX, et al. Lipoic Acid Combined with Epalrestat versus Lipoic Acid in Treating Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy:A Meta-analysis. Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao. 2017 Oct 30;39(5):656-664.

D4. Wang X, Lin H, et al. Alpha lipoic acid combined with epalrestat: a therapeutic option for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2018;12L2827-2840.

D5. Akbari M, Ostadmohammadi V, et al. The effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on glucose control and lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Metabolism. 2018;87:56-69.

E. Hyperlipidemia

E1. Haghighatdoost F, Hariri M. Does alpha-lipoic acid affect lipid profile? A meta-analysis of and systematic review on randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pharmacol. 2019;847:1-10.

F. Male Infertility

F1. Haghighian HK, Haidari F, et al. Randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial examining the effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on the spermatogram and seminal oxidative stress in infertile men. Fertil Steril. 2015;104(2):318-324.

G. Multiple Sclerosis

G1. Plemel JR, Juzwik CA, et al. Over-the-counter anti-oxidant therapies for use in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review. Mult Scler. 2015 Oct;21(12):1485-1495.

G2. Loy BD, Fling BW, et al. Effects of lipoic acid on walking performance, gait, and balance in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Complement Ther Med. 2018;41:169-174.

H. Obesity

H1. Koh EH, Lee WJ, et al. Effects of alpha-lipoic Acid on body weight in obese subjects. Am J Med. 2011;124(1):85.

H2. Kucukgoncu S, Zhou E, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplementation for weight loss: results from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017;18(5):594-601.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/22/2020