Have you been struggling with different types of neuropathy, such as pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and other strange nerve-related sensations? You’re not alone. In our clinic, we often help patients suffering from these painful and disturbing symptoms. This is why I want to talk about alpha-lipoic acid, a mighty antioxidant. Can alpha-lipoic acid help neuropathy? Read on to find out more.
The importance of micronutrients
Before we jump into the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid, it’s important to understand what micronutrients are and why they’re so important to your health and well-being.
Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Every cell, organ, tissue, hormone, and enzymatic reaction in your body depends on vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Without enough of these vital nutrients, your body wouldn’t be able to rebuild, repair, and recover.
This is why it’s vital to test your micronutrient levels. You need to see what micronutrients are depleted or not at optimal levels.
Why people become deficient in micronutrients
There are various reasons why you can become deficient in micronutrients.
In our world today, many crops are also depleted of vitamins and minerals due to problems like soil depletion. This means it’s harder for humans to get enough of the vital nutrients we need through food alone.
However, the most common ways we become deficient in micronutrients are from poor digestion and absorption of nutrients from food and because of not eating healthy foods in the first place. Impaired absorption is often caused by infections, parasites, or chronic inflammation.
When our diets (such as the standard American diet) are highly processed, packed with sugar, low in protein, and full of seed oils and simple carbs, the amount of micronutrients we get from food won’t meet our body’s demands. Having a poor diet like this often leads to conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and chronic inflammation, which can then lead to other serious health conditions.
Try to focus on nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, protein, and healthy fats. We recommend testing micronutrient levels every six months when experiencing health problems to ensure your body gets the support it needs to get strong.
To learn more about micronutrients, click here.
What is alpha-lipoic acid?
One of the micronutrients essential for your body to function well is alpha-lipoic acid. Also known as α-lipoic acid and thioctic acid, ALA is an organosulfur compound derived from caprylic acid. ALA enhances the production of glutathione, the master antioxidant that aids in tissue building and repair, helps create chemicals and proteins, and is imperative for a healthy immune system.
Synthesized in the mitochondria, ALA assists in the breaking down of enzymatic nutrients and helps produce energy through its cellular-level functions. It’s been shown to aid in the body’s ability to recover from oxidative stress, support liver detoxification, and help balance blood sugar levels.
Antioxidants are known for their protective qualities against oxidative stress and damage to the body’s cells. Another one of the ways ALA protects the body is in its ability to help repair nerve damage.
How can alpha-lipoic acid help neuropathy?
Many studies suggest that ALA can help the body use its own insulin to lower blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. It does this by enhancing nitric oxide-mediated endothelium-dependent vasodilation. This improves circulation in patients with polyneuropathy. This also benefits patients who have neuropathy symptoms from other conditions, such as Lyme disease.
Because of its ability to help repair nerve damage, Europeans have been utilizing the power of ALA for years to help reduce symptoms of neuropathy, such as burning, tingling, numbing, and pain.
This powerful antioxidant’s benefits don’t end there. You can use it to regenerate cells for nerve repair and help improve vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10 levels, along with other nutrients and antioxidants. Sometimes when we see a big micronutrient depletion in patients, I can use ALA to regenerate multiple nutrients, rather than superdosing every single one.
Within our clinic, we treat many patients with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections, and nerve symptoms are extremely common among this group of patients. Over the years, we have seen patients benefit greatly from using ALA for their nerve symptoms.
Our recommended product: ALA Pure
ALA or thioctic acid, is one of the most versatile antioxidants available. Supportive of a wide variety of health-related issues, ALA recharges vitamin E, vitamin C, glutathione and CoQ10, and directly quenches reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Since it has water-soluble, fat-soluble and sulfhydryl properties, it can be utilized by many different bodily tissues in a variety of ways.
For our patients, I recommend NutriRestore’s ALA Pure. It uses ALA’s unique chemical properties to support blood sugar balance already within normal levels.
This formulation of lipoic acid contains 300 mg of ALA and 300 mcg of biotin to protect against loss of biotin as a result of the competition between the two.
- Provides fat-soluble and water-soluble antioxidant protection
- Protects the neurovascular system from free radical damage
- Supports blood sugar balance already within normal levels
- Regenerates vitamins C and E
- Increases intracellular glutathione levels
In our clinic, I generally recommend taking 1-2 capsules twice per day, but please ask your healthcare professional what dose is right for you.
ALA Pure does not contain gluten, corn, yeast, artificial colors or flavors.
Please note: If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before taking this product.
Can alpha-lipoic acid help neuropathy? In the past year, I have seen extremely positive results and received great feedback from patients using alpha-lipoic acid for neurological antioxidant problems.
Furthermore, if you are struggling with blood sugar levels, liver detoxification protocols, or nerve problems of any kind, then ALA may be a terrific supplement to add to your arsenal. It can nourish your liver, help your nerves regenerate antioxidants, and improve your health.
Another important reminder is to test your micronutrient levels if you’re experiencing neuropathy (burning, tingling, numbness, ear ringing, etc.). ALA can potentially help lessen your nerve problems by supporting vital functions in your body, but it’s important to know what your micronutrient levels are so the root cause(s) of your problems can be clearly identified.
To summarize this article:
- Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
- Every cell, organ, tissue, hormone, and enzymatic reaction in your body depends on vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
- Without enough of these vital nutrients, your body wouldn’t be able to rebuild, repair, and recover.
- Test your micronutrient levels to see what micronutrients are depleted or are not at optimal levels.
- ALA is an antioxidant. Also known as lipoic acid, α-lipoic acid and thioctic acid, ALA is derived from caprylic acid.
- This antioxidant enhances the production of glutathione, the master antioxidant that aids in tissue building and repair, helps create chemicals and proteins, and is imperative for a healthy immune system.
- ALA helps produce energy through its cellular-level functions.
- ALA aids in the body’s ability to recover from oxidative stress, supports liver detoxification, and helps balance blood sugar levels.
- It also helps recycle vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10, along with other nutrients and antioxidants.
- Lastly, we recommend ALA Pure, which provides fat-soluble and water-soluble antioxidant protection, protects the neurovascular system from free radical damage, supports blood sugar balance already within normal levels, regenerates vitamins C and E, and increases intracellular glutathione levels.
I hope this information will be helpful to you as you continue on your journey toward health and healing! Click here to watch our correlating video on alpha-lipoic acid.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Zempleni J, Trusty TA, Mock DM. Lipoic acid reduces the activities of biotin-dependent carboxylases in rat liver. J Nutr. 1997 Sep;127(9):1776-81 [PMID: 9278559].
- Pershadsingh HA. Alpha-lipoic acid: physiologic mechanisms and indications for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2007 Mar;16(3):291- 302 [PMID: 17302524].
- Sola S, et al. Irbesartan and lipoic acid improve endothelial function and reduce markers of inflammation in the metabolic syndrome: results of the Irbesartan and Lipoic Acid in Endothelial Dysfunction (ISLAND) study. Circulation 2005;111:343-48.
- Lee, WJ, Song KH, Koh EH, Won JC, Kim HS, Park HS, Kim MS, Kim SW, Lee KU, Park JY. Alpha-lipoic acid increases insulin sensitivity by activating AMPK in skeletal muscle. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005; 332: 885-891.
- Ruderman NB, Saha AK, Kraegen EW. Minireview:
malonyl CoA, AMP-activated protein kinase, and adiposity. Endocrinology 2003;144: 5166-5171.
- Jacob S, Ruus P, Hermann R, et al. Oral administration of RAC-alpha-lipoic acid modulates insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled pilot trial. Free Radic Biol Med 1999; Aug 27(3- 4):309-14.
- Filina AA, Davydova NG, Endrikhovskii SN, Shamshinova AM. [Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma] In Russian. Vestn Oftalmol 1995; 111(4):6-8.
By Dr. Warren
Edited by Meghan Feir Walker