With diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders reaching epidemic proportions, natural remedies that combat these health concerns are in high demand. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can help with these pressing issues and more. This formidable antioxidant has also shown promise in curbing osteoporosis, reducing the damage caused by stroke, as well as preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.
A broad-spectrum wonder
In “Nutraceutical Update: Lipoic Acid,” Mark A. Mitchell, M.D., lists the following benefits of ALA:
- Reduces oxidative stress in the body via powerful antioxidant activity
- Improves several components of the metabolic syndrome – a combination of risk factors that increases one’s risk for diabetes
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Improves the lipid profile
- Reduces weight
- Increases insulin sensitivity
- Improves diabetic neuropathy
- Protects against cataract formation
- Improves visual function in glaucoma
- Helps prevents retinal cell death when combined with vitamin E in retinitis pigmentosa
- Reduces brain damage after a stroke
- Prevents bone loss, possibly through an anti-inflammatory effect
- Reduces frequency and intensity of migraines
- Improves skin texture
And this study found that supplementing with ALA can help reduce inflammatory reactions associated with multiple sclerosis. Additionally, lipoic acid helps to safeguard against heavy metal toxicity. Chelating arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, ALA renders the metals inactive and safely expels them from the body. An animal study in Toxicology also found that ALA shielded the liver against arsenic exposure.  Likewise, research has verified the protective properties of lipoic acid against mercury poisoning. 
Please note: before attempting a heavy metal detox with ALA or any other substance, it’s important to consult with a qualified practitioner to avoid potential side effects.
Dosage and use
The most potent form of lipoic acid is R-dihydrolipoic acid. The recommended dosage ranges from 300 to 1,800 mg per day. Taken with a B-complex vitamin, the bioavailability of ALA is given a significant boost.
Dr. Mitchell concludes, “[l]ipoic acid offers broad-spectrum protection against some of society’s troublesome health conditions, ranging from painful neuropathy and migraine headaches to disabling cataracts and neurodegenerative conditions. You can begin optimizing your body’s levels of protective antioxidants today using supplements of lipoic acid or its high-potency cousin, R-dihydrolipoic acid.”