More Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Skin Health, Memory, Nerves, Inflammation, Heart Disease
Recently, I wrote an article describing what Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA) is and its clinical connection between diabetes, blood sugar measurements, and diabetes complications, so before reading this article, please read that article first by clicking here. I recommend reading that article before this one because there is prerequisite knowledge discussed in that article describing ALA’s role in the body which will not be restated in this article.
ALA is truly an amazing substance with an extensive array of health benefits, more than just diabetes and diabetic complications, which are substantiated by many scientific studies. This article will examine additional health benefits of ALA such as sustaining skin health, supporting memory, promoting nerve function, reducing inflammation, and lowering heart disease risk factors.
Sustaining Skin Health
Several investigations have shown ALA treatment to the skin to be beneficial for skin health either from the ALA directly or because the ALA causes a reaction.
For example, in a 2014 study, researchers examined the hypothesized anti-wrinkle effects of ALA. The researchers used several concentrations of ALA in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study and found the ALA cream to reduce facial lines, resulting in “almost complete resolution of fine lines in the periorbital [around eyes] region and upper lip area and [an] overall improvement in skin color and texture in most volunteers” .
Also, two studies investigated the antioxidant protection topical ALA provides regarding protection from the sun’s UV radiation. Both studies agreed and stated when ALA is applied to the skin, it incorporates itself into the skin and offers protection from the sun’s UV radiation  .
In a 2011 study entitled “Photochemical stability of lipoic acid and its impact on skin ageing,” researchers investigated ALA’s anti-aging effects and claimed because alpha-lipoic acid is a co-factor in the mitochondria’s energy metabolism and because of ALA’s antioxidant properties, under the right usage, ALA is a powerful anti-aging agent .
Likewise, a 2010 study agreed in saying ALA helped support skin health because of ALA’s antioxidant properties, but the researchers in this study also stated ALA could raise the levels of other antioxidants such as vitamin c and glutathione, which can help protect against skin damage and reduce the signs of aging .
In a 2005 study, researchers in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study gave 20 women a lotion with marine proteins, ALA, pine bark extract, and vitamins and minerals and gave the other 20 women a placebo control. The researchers found, “There was a significant improvement in skin quality in both objective and subjective parameters after treatment with [ALA cream] compared with placebo” .
As discussed in the previous article “Cholesterol: The Basics, Neurological Health, Alzheimer’s,” oxidative damage plays an influential role in memory loss. Since ALA is a potent antioxidant, scientists have investigated whether ALA can slow the onset of this oxidative damage resulting in a slower progression of memory loss in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2014 study paralleled my above statement stating, “Accumulation of oxidative damage and reduction of antioxidant defense system play a key role in organismal aging” . Further, a 2008 study claimed ALA might be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia . The researchers also noted ALA could be combined with nutraceuticals such as curcumin, DHA, and green tea to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation synergistically .
A 2007 study directly examined ALA’s role in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers stated, “our data suggest that treatment with alpha-lipoic acid might be a successful 'neuroprotective' therapy option for AD” and called for additional studies into the matter ; also a 2013 study also stated ALA could be useful for slowing cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients and patients who have insulin resistance, which is a risk factor associated with Alzheimer’s disease because it is associated with diabetes mellitus .
Promoting Nerve Function
Studies have also shown ALA helps to improve nerve function.
A 2009 study found ALA and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) to be very useful in slowing the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome in its early stages .
Additionally, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical 2018 trial found if patients take 600mg of ALA a day for a month before their carpal tunnel surgery and 600mg a day for two months afterward, there were improved neurological outcomes during recovery .
In a 2017 study, researchers, again, investigated ALA’s effectiveness in carpal tunnel syndrome in a double-blind prospective, randomized, controlled trial. The researchers found supplementation of ALA for 40 days after median nerve decompression may result in a lower chance of pillar pain, which is pain experienced to the sides of the incision in the thicker parts of the palm .
As stated in the first article concerning ALA, ALA can play a beneficial role in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and several studies indicate ALA should be considered as a treatment option, especially in the early stages of the disease  .
Chronic inflammation has been associated with multiple diseases such as heart disease or stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, and ALA has been shown to reduce several markers of inflammation. Increased inflammation markers are indications of inflammation.
In a 2018 meta-analysis which reviewed 11 studies, including 264 participants in ALA supplementation groups and 287 participants in control groups, the study concluded ALA could reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in patients who have increased CRP levels . (CRP is an inflammation marker.)
In other studies, researchers observed ALA to reduce additional markers including VCAM-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, NF-kB, IL-6, and ICAM-1    .
Finally, in a 2010 study, it was also found orally administered ALA down-regulates inflammation in multiple sclerosis patients .
Lowering Heart Disease Factors
As mentioned in many of my articles, heart disease is accountable for 1 in 4 deaths in America , and results from a variety of lab, human, and animal studies show ALA may reduce several heart disease risk factors.
Two studies showed ALA might help to improve endothelial dysfunction, a sign of an increased risk of heart disease and stroke where your blood vessels cannot dilate properly  .
Moreover, another study showed ALA might help decrease the chance of heart disease by reducing oxidative stress parameters, specifically regarding diseases of the cardiovascular system .
In these last two articles concerning the benefits of ALA, my goal was to give you an inside view of the diverse spectrum of benefits ALA offers from a scientific perspective. Healthmasters’ Alpha-Lipoic Acid is an exceptional controlled-release, ALA supplement and provides 600mg of ALA per tablet and has research regarding its specific formulation. Click here to read its research.
If you have any questions about Healthmasters’ Alpha-Lipoic Acid, please call our office at 800.726.1834.