Dr. Varallo's South Jersey Weight Loss Program

Alpha Lipoic Acid: A Natural Weight Loss Aid

Sometimes dieting and exercise just don't cut it for people trying to lose weight. Of the many weight-loss supplements on the market, the American Journal of Medicine reports a promising study that found antioxidant alpha lipoic acid, helped obese people shed pounds when combined with a low-calorie diet.

"This is the first study to show that ALA treatment led to significant weight reduction in human beings," and lead researchers Eun Hee Koh, MD and Woo Je Lee, MD of the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea.

A hefty problem

Obesity rates are rising worldwide, alongside with other obesity-related conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and certain cancers. Losing weight can help extend life expectancy and lower the risk for many of these diseases, but weight-loss therapies aren't always successful and many people end up gaining the weight back again unless they make permanent lifestyle changes.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (also known as ALA) is a mitochondrial fatty acid that is highly involved in energy metabolism. It is a vitamin-like antioxidant, sometimes referred to as the "universal antioxidant" because it is soluble in both fat and water. ALA is a synthetic version of lipoic acid, a naturally occurring compound produced in the body and synthesized by both plants and animals. It can be consumed through eating meats and minimally in some fruits/vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and potatoes. Also is found in some foods.

How does it work?

Alpha-lipoic acid is used in the body to break down carbohydrates and to make energy for other organs in the body. Alpha-lipoic acid seems to work as an antioxidant, which means that it might provide protection to the brain under conditions of damage or injury. The antioxidant effects might also be helpful in certain liver diseases.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid seems to help prevent certain kinds of cell damage to the body, and also restores vitamin levels such as vitamin E and vitamin C. There is also evidence that alpha-lipoic acid can improve the function and conduction of neurons in diabetes.
  • In supplement form, it has shown benefit against various forms of oxidation and inflammation.  These effects carry on to benefits that protect one from heart diseases, liver diseases, diabetes, and neurological decline with age.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is a potent anti-oxidant compound.  It works with mitochondria and the body's natural anti-oxidant defenses,  It is also seen as an anti-aging compound since it can reverse some of the oxidant damage related effects of aging.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is used for diabetes and nerve-related symptoms of diabetes including burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms.  High doses of alpha-lipoic acid are approved in Germany for the treatment of these symptoms.
  • Some people use alpha-lipoic acid for memory loss, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), HIV/AIDS, cancer, liver disease, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (including a disorder called cardiac autonomic neuropathy) and Lyme disease.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is also used to treat eye-related disorders, such as damage to the retina, cataracts, glaucoma, and an eye disease called Wilson's disease.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits

In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid:

  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Removes a host of poisons, such as mercury and arsenic from the body
  • Was used to fight radiation effects in Chernobyl victims
  • Proven to reduce the risk of diabetes by protecting insulin-secreting cells
  • Improves glucose control for diabetics
  • Fights nerve damage symptoms such as burning pain, muscle atrophy, and numbness
  • Combats effects of harmful fructose in the diet
  • Speeds wound healing
  • Protects babies from birth defects while still in womb
  • Fights neurodegenerative disorders
  • Works against hypertension


The content of this literature is for informational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose,or cure any disease or person. No claims can be made as to the safety or efficacy of listed preparations.