What can you share about Alpha Lipoic Acid use?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by CelticLadee, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. CelticLadee

    CelticLadee New Member

    My question today is about Alpha Lipoic Acid. I am considering using it as Dr. Cheney recommends it as a powerful anti-oxidant and helps protect the brain. My hubby did a brief search and read some controversy on its use. Do any of you take it or know anything about its safety? What are your experiences with it like? Any reactions? (good or bad) I would be very interested in what you have to say about it. I will check ASAP to see if you have a response.
    Thank you in advance. CelticLadee
  2. gcalex

    gcalex New Member

    Everything I have ever read suggests it is perfectly safe, but at the same time I have taken lots of it and it never seemed to do me any good.
  3. ohmyaching

    ohmyaching New Member

    Forget now why I stopped using it. I took it to hopefully increase glutathione. It seemed to make some of my problems worse so I quit taking it. I think in order to increase glutathione you may need to take several other supplements like glutamine and selenium, etc. because they all work together. I didn't take these other supplements. Maybe that's what I needed to do for it to be effective, maybe not. It could be this disease does not properly utilize these vitamins.
  4. CelticLadee

    CelticLadee New Member

    Thanks for your input...I had read that very article from Berkley but than I read several others that said it is safe in recommended doses for 2 years of use. I am not quite sure if I want to be a "guinea pig" but if it does help protect the brain what am I to lose? I read that it helps diabetics with insulin resistance & neuropathy, etc.
    I'll paste one of the other articles I read on a more positive side for you to review to see what you think.

    Lipoic Acid (Thioctic Acid)

    Alpha-lipoic acid (also known as thioctic acid) is an important antioxidant which quenches many different reactive oxygen species, including hydroxyl radicals, hypochlorous acid, and singlet oxygen. It readily crosses cell membranes and works as an antioxidant in both lipid and aqueous parts of the body. In other words, it can counter many different forms of oxidative stress and prevent the cellular damage they might cause. It both directly reduces oxidative stress in the body and indirectly spares or recycles or regenerates the other major antioxidants, raising their levels in the bloodstream. It can recycle vitamin E from its oxidized form back to its reduced form (in which it again becomes an antioxidant), thus helping to protect cell membranes. Vitamin C can also be regenerated through reaction with alpha-lipoic acid, as can glutathione. In fact, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to protect against the symptoms of vitamin E or vitamin C deficiency in animals fed diets deficient in those nutrients. One small study (10 HIV+'s in CDC Stage 4) showed a combination of effects from supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid including increases in blood levels of vitamin C and glutathione, increases in CD4 cells, and decreases in the body compounds that result from oxidative stress. The latter shows that it was indeed working well as an antioxidant. Although most of the HIV community has focused in the past on NAC as a way to raise glutathione, research carried out by Dr. Lester Packer at the University of California at Berkeley has shown that alpha-lipoic acid may be the best way to raise glutathione levels in people living with HIV.

    Alpha-lipoic acid is very important to the liver cell metabolic pathways and can be rapidly depleted when the liver is under stress. In Europe, it has long been used in the treatment of hepatic disorders because of its liver-sparing effects which can help the liver repair. Although later research has shown that it is not specifically helpful for mushroom poisoning or alcoholic liver degeneration (two things for which it had been used in the past), there are other causes of liver damage for which it may be quite useful. Its effectiveness in raising cellular glutathione levels is probably very important for liver repair with a disease like HIV that induces glutathione deficiency. Especially when used in combination with silymarin, I have seen it work quite well to reduce elevated liver enzymes, even in some people in whom the levels had been elevated for quite some time. Some of my clients, in fact, have successfully used this combination to lower enzymes sufficiently to get into clinical trials of various drugs, where too-high liver enzymes would have otherwise excluded them. Its combined usefulness in repairing the liver and working as an antioxidant has led to its extensive use in Europe for radiation sickness, drug poisonings, and chemical overdoses. It may provide some protection against the damage induced by radiation therapy during cancer treatment.

    In addition, both in vivo and in vitro research has shown potential for alpha-lipoic acid to serve as an antiretroviral agent. It has been shown to inhibit replication of HIV in both acutely and chronically infected cells by a mode of action different than that of nucleoside analogues. In vitro, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to have synergistic effects when combined with AZT, with the combination of the two showing stronger inhibition of HIV replication than either had when used alone. In vitro research done at Kumamoto University in Japan has shown that alpha-lipoic acid significantly depresses both HIV tat gene activity and HIV infectivity, and is active in both acute and chronically infected cells. Other in vitro research done in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that alpha-lipoic acid inhibits NF-kappa B activity. German in vitro research has also shown that alpha-lipoic acid inhibits the infectivity of virus particles and suppresses viral replication, and follow-up in vivo studies by the same researchers showed that it does have antiviral effects in HIV+'s, reducing viral titers just as had been predicted by the in vitro research. Since NF-kappa B is, in essence, an on-off switch for the activation of HIV, and tat inhibition is considered a promising antiviral approach, and anything non-toxic that effectively suppresses viral replication and reduces infectivity is immensely desirable, alpha lipoic acid may be a very important part of a comprehensive antiviral approach. So why haven't other researchers been rushing to pursue its antiviral possibilities? Gee, it couldn't be because it's unpatentable and, thus, unlikely to be profitable, do you think?

    Alpha-lipoic acid has long been used in Europe for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy in diabetics. A number of controlled clinical trials have shown its usefulness for reducing both the pain and numbness suffered by those with diabetic neuropathy, and its use for this condition is approved in Germany. Its antioxidant properties may help protect the nerves from the inflammation and oxidative damage that HIV induces, as has been shown to be true with diabetic neuropathy. Alpha- lipoic acid is also a true oral chelating agent that has been widely used in Europe in the treatment of heavy metal toxicity caused by chemicals such as arsenobenzoles, mercuric chloride, and carbon tetrachloride. Thus, it is possible that it might be removing something that is toxic to nerves. Because of its liver protective and antioxidant benefits, it has been included as a component of the programs of many of my clients for several years now. It may have contributed to the success of the multi-nutrient neuropathy elimination programs some of them have used.

    Alpha-lipoic acid may also be useful for cognitive dysfunction in HIV disease. Tissues of the central nervous system are known to be particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress because of their high rate of oxygen consumption and high mitochondrial density. The mitochondria produce lots of free radicals during normal oxidative metabolism and, especially without sufficient antioxidant protection, the mitochondrial tissue may be damaged. It is believed that this sort of oxidative stress damage may be partially responsible for neurodegenerative diseases. In animal studies, alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve memory, apparently by reversing the damage that had been induced by oxidative stress. Although no research has been done to look at the possible usefulness of alpha-lipoic acid for neurocognitive degeneration in people living with HIV, it is certainly an interesting possibility.

    Because it not only appears to be non-toxic but also may improve T-cell function, while helping keep the liver healthy (especially where there is long-term drug usage that may adversely affect the liver), serving as a powerful antioxidant, and possibly protecting the nerves, it seems like an extremely useful part of a total integrated approach. If it also has an antiviral effect, so much the better.

    Many people take 100-200 mg, three times per day with meals, sometimes increasing the amounts when liver enzymes are elevated or neuropathy is present. There is no known toxicity, but one report shows possibility of thrombocytopenia (decreased platelets) from higher doses. Because it is an effective mineral chelating agent, some writers have raised the question of whether alpha lipoic acid might remove important minerals; although no problems have been observed at the doses listed here, to err on the side of safety, its use could be accompanied by the daily intake of a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement and an iron supplement, and blood cell tests (RBC and platelets) could be monitored while it's being taken.

    After reading this article and others I became somewhat confused as to its safety. Sounds like a mixed bag and a fairly new supplement with big questions yet. But then you read all these benefits and wonder would it be that bad in low dose for a year or so? Has anyone studied this out for a sensible conclusion? Has anyone taken it more than 2 years? My best to you. CelticLadee
  5. ohmyaching

    ohmyaching New Member

    I was reading through an article about mercury in the library on this site and found this statement.
    "..anyone who still has amalgam fillings in their mouth should not use the supplement lipoic acid because it mobilizes mercury into other parts of the body."
    I thought I'd post it here for you.
  6. CelticLadee

    CelticLadee New Member

    Thank you for that important note. I have quite a few mercury fillings left and I don't need more toxins such as mercury poisoning occurring. I'm just beginning to feel somewhat good after ridding my body of various other toxins. I will do a search on this subject and make permanent notes in my files so I don't forget this in the future. I am trying so hard to make sure I only put things in my body that will truly benefit without hidden bad effects. For me this message board is such a success in helping gain knowledge about this *DD & helpful people like you here make the difference. This info. is greatly appreciated.
    *Damaging Disease
  7. judywhit

    judywhit New Member

    this supplement sounds as controversial as dhea. My doctor put me on dhea but after doing studies on the internet. I question the safety of this supplement too. I am taking a wait and see attitude with both of these supplements and will not take them until we get more studies and years behind us. Wish I would have been more patient and done my homework before taking the diet drug redux (phen-fen) I truly think alot of my problems started with this drug.
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    ALA is recommended for anyone suffering from insulin resistance in the book, "The Nutritional Guide For Syndrome X."

    Love, Mikie
  9. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    which contains a lot more ALA than l00mg..In the Flax oil, I have, now, there is 585mg of ALA..Is this not safe? I have been on flax oil for about 6 years...