Alpha-Lipoic Acid’s Benefits: Diabetes, Blood Sugar, Diabetes Complications
As many of the substances I research and post articles about, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is generally not a well-known substance. In short, ALA has powerful antioxidant properties which evolve into a broad spectrum of health benefits. This article will begin by explaining what ALA is and continue by reviewing research examining how ALA is beneficial for people with diabetes.
What is ALA?
ALA is an organic compound found in human cells and is made inside cell mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – where it plays the role as a cofactor in energy production, meaning it helps to convert nutrients into energy . ALA also has robust antioxidant properties, and unlike other antioxidants which are either fat-or water-soluble, ALA is both fat- and water-soluble. Even though humans produce a minimal amount of ALA, most people turn to specific foods or supplements to increase their intake because ALA has been linked to treatment in diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, autoimmune, cancer, and AIDS . You can increase your intake of ALA 1000-fold through supplementation versus diet alone.
ALA and Diabetes, Blood Sugar, Diabetes Complications
There are many studies which have found ALA to be beneficial to people with diabetes because of benefits directly related to blood sugar and the aiding in preventing the consequences of the disease.
Studies have shown ALA to lower blood sugar levels in humans and animals.
A 1997 study found ALA to enhance insulin-stimulated glucose transport and oxidative glucose metabolism , and a 1996 survey found ALA also improved the capacity of the insulin-stimulated glucose transport system . These two studies found ALA to lower blood sugar levels up to 64% in animals.
In a systematic review, meta-analysis 2018 study examining the effects of ALA regarding glucose control and lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases, researchers found ALA to significantly decrease fasting glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, HbA1c, and triglycerides .
A 2017 study compared the metabolic differences between a fructose-fed rat group and a control group of rats. The researchers found ALA played a beneficial role in the prevention of metabolic syndrome associated with the development of type 2 diabetes .
In addition to helping to support healthy blood sugar levels and other related measurements, ALA may help prevent diabetes complications.
ALA Diabetes Complications
Several studies have proven ALA alleviates symptoms of nerve damage, lowers the risk of peripheral diabetic neuropathy, and aids in preventing other, various diabetic complications.
Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy
In a 2007 study, researchers reviewed the evidence available for ALA’s ability to improve symptoms of peripheral diabetic neuropathy (PDN) . Because of ALA’s effectiveness, the researchers stated, “ALA should be considered as a treatment option for patients with PDN” .
Another 2007 study evaluated 95 type-2 dietetic patients by splitting them into two groups: an ALA group and a control group. The researchers found the symptom scores of numbness, sting sensation, and burning sensation were significantly reduced two-weeks after ALA treatment began with no changes in the control group .
Likewise, in a 2014 study, researchers at the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece stated, “ALA is a valuable therapeutic option for diabetic neuropathy. When compared with currently licensed analgesic drugs, it is better tolerated, has a more rapid onset of action, and improves paraesthesiae, numbness, sensory deficits, and muscle strength in addition to neuropathic pain” . The scientists also claimed ALA could be chosen in patients with early neuropathic deficits and symptoms because clinical improvement is likely.
Further, a 2018 study found ALA to reduce oxidative stress in diabetic mouse retinas, indicating a lower risk of eye damage in individuals with PDN .
Other Benefits for People with Diabetes
Blood Circulation – Angiogenesis is the formation and development of new blood vessels and plays a role in diabetic distal sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN). A 2015 study showed ALA aids blood circulation by promoting angiogenic factors in patients with type-2 diabetes, and this may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of DSPN .
Normalizes Complication-Causing Pathways – A 2008 study found combines doses of benfotiamine and slow-release ALA normalized complication-causing pathways in type-1 diabetes .
Reduces Asymmetric Dimethylarginine (ADMA) – A 2010 study found ALA treatment to reduce ADMA in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus .
Protects Against Nerve Damage – A 1999 study found antioxidants, such as ALA, have protective effects against nerve and vascular dysfunction in experimental diabetes .
As described in the above studies, ALA supplementation has a beneficial role with blood sugar and diabetes complications ranging from supporting healthy blood sugar measurements to aiding peripheral neuropathy complications in diabetic patients. Healthmasters’ Alpha-Lipoic Acid is an excellent controlled-release, ALA supplement and provides 600mg of ALA per tablet.
If you have any questions about Healthmasters’ Alpha-Lipoic Acid, please call our office at 800.726.1834.