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Lipoic Acid

SUGGESTED USE: 1-2 capsules per day or as recommended by your health care professional.

Formulated to be free of allergens derived from: Gluten, corn, yeast, artificial colors and flavors. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before taking this product. As with all dietary supplements, some individuals may not tolerate or may be allergic to the ingredients used. Please read the ingredient panel carefully prior to ingestion. Cease taking this product and consult youreactions upon ingestion.

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As an antioxidant Lipoic Acid is able to "recharge" vitamin C, vitamin E, Glutathione, and other key antioxidants, because of its threefold water-soluble, fat-soluble and sulfhydryl properties. In the case of impaired glucose metabolism and the complications associated with diabetes, the actions of lipoic acid are very helpful. Not only does lipoic acid modulate glucose and insulin sensitivities but it also acts to prevent and treat many of the oxidative damages that occur with hyperglycemia. One recent study compared insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics after one month of placebo, 600 mg/day, 1200 mg/day, or 1800 mg/day oral lipoic acid (Reference 1). They found that the treatment, regardless of dose, was equally able to improve insulin sensitivity by 27% over placebo. This data confirmed research they had done previously by intravenous administration (References 2,3).

As an antioxidant, lipoic acid is capable of decreasing oxidative stress, the main stimulus for diabetic complications. A cross-sectional study was performed to assess the oxidative load (by looking at lipid peroxide levels) in diabetic patients some of which were taking 600 mg lipoic acid per day for 3 months (Reference 4) The lipoic acid group had 36% lower levels of lipid peroxides and a 38% improvement in the ratio between oxidative stress and oxidative defense (measuring lipid peroxides vs. alpha-tocopherol/cholesterol levels). These data confirm the antioxidant role of lipoic acid in these patients with poor glycemic control, a group prone to oxidative stress and damage.

Perhaps the longest use of lipoic acid in diabetes is in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Lipoic acid has been used in Germany for over 30 years for the treatment of diabetic-induced neuropathy (References 5,6). Its mechanism of action seems to be related to its antioxidant activity leading to improved microcirculation and a positive influence on impaired neurovascular reflex arc in patients with diabetic neuropathy (References 10,11). While most of these studies were performed using intravenous delivery, recent studies confirm that similar results can be obtained by oral administration of 800 mg/day (References 7,8,9) or in other studies 600 mg t.i.d.

Lipoic Acid and Cancer

In 2009, there were 3 new case reports on the use of intravenous alpha-lipoic acid along with oral low-dose naltrexone (ALA/N) for the treatment of metastatic and non-metastatic pancreatic cancer. The authors mention a previous report in which the case of a man with pancreatic cancer metastasized to the liver treated with this protocol was alive and well 78 months after initial presentation. The 3 new cases discussed involve: 1) a patient who is alive and well 39 months after presenting with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas with metastasis to the liver; 2) a patient whose PET scan shows no evidence of disease 5 months after therapy, who presented with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas with metastasis to the liver; 3) a patient whose PET scan demonstrated no signs of cancer after 4 months of therapy, who presented with pancreatic cancer with metastases to the liver and retroperitoneal metastases, along with a history of B-cell lymphoma and prostate adenocarcinoma. The authors discuss the multiple activities of alpha-lipoic acid - oxidative stress reduction, NF(k)B stabilization, pro-oxidant apoptosic activity stimulation; and its ability to discriminate and discourage the proliferation of malignant cells. They also discuss the ability of low dose naltrexone to modulate an endogenous immune response. The results of these case reports are very promising. The authors conclude, "This is the second article published on the ALA/N protocol and the authors believe the protocol warrants clinical trial." (Reference 10)

(1) Jacob S 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; 27(3-4):309-14 [PubMed]

(2) Jacob S et al. Enhancement of glucose disposal in patients with type 2 diabetes by alpha-lipoic acid. Arzneimittelforschung 1995; 45(8):872-4 [PubMed]

(3) Jacob S, Henriksen EJ, Tritschler HJ, Augustin HJ, Dietze GJ. Improvement of insulin-stimulated glucose-disposal in type 2 diabetes after repeated parenteral administration of thioctic acid. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1996;104(3):284-8 [PubMed]

(4)Borcea V et al. alpha-Lipoic acid decreases oxidative stress even in diabetic patients with poor glycemic control and albuminuria. Free Radic Biol Med 1999; 26(11-12):1495-500 [PubMed]

(5)Evans JL, Goldfine ID. Alpha-lipoic acid: a multifunctional antioxidant that improves insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Technol Ther 2000; 2(3):401-13 [PubMed]

(6)Ziegler D, Reljanovic M, Mehnert H, Gries FA. Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy in Germany: current evidence from clinical trials. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1999;107(7):421-30 [PubMed]

(7) Ziegler D, Schatz H, Conrad F, Gries FA, Ulrich H, Reichel G. Effects of treatment with the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid on cardiac autonomic neuropathy in NIDDM patients. A 4-month randomized controlled multicenter trial (DEKAN Study). Deutsche Kardiale Autonome Neuropathie. Diabetes Care 1997; 20(3): 369-73 [PubMed]

(8) Ruhnau KJ et al. Effects of 3-week oral treatment with the antioxidant thioctic acid (alpha-lipoic acid) in symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy. Diabet Med 1999; 16(12):1040-3 [PubMed]

(9) Ziegler D et al. Treatment of symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy with the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid: a 7-month multicenter randomized controlled trial (ALADIN III Study). ALADIN III Study Group. Alpha-Lipoic Acid in Diabetic Neuropathy. Diabetes Care 1999; 22(8):1296-301 [PubMed]

(10) Berkson BM, Rubin DM, et al. Revisiting the ALA/N (alpha-lipoic acid/low-dose naltrexone) protocol for people with metastatic and nonmetastatic pancreatic cancer: a report of 3 new cases. Integr Cancer Ther, 2009; 8(4): 416-22.