Alpha Lipoic Acid in Diabetic Neuropathy.




Diabetes Care

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Professional Data: Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2


Diabetes mellitus, a term that means "the running through of sugar," was first identified in the 1st century AD. The disease was described in old books as "the melting down of flesh into urine." Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where there is less insulin than what the body needs. This can be low insulin, a problem with the release of insulin, insulin that cannot work in the cells that need it, or insulin that is inactivated before it is able to function. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body does not produce or does not use insulin effectively. It is not simply hyperglycemia, or too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Diabetes can affect people of any age. It increases the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, retinopathy (a disease of the retina), blindness, or peripheral neuropathies (a disease of the nervous system). Neuropathy causes numbness and tingling in the arms, legs, hands, and feet, eventually leading to injury and the development of diabetic ulcers (wounds) in these areas.

Researchers investigated the effect of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) supplementation on the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Diabetics were recruited to receive either 600 mg of ALA intravenously or placebo 5 times a week for 14 treatments. The results measured each patient’s symptoms, by way of the Total Symptom Score (TSS). After the 14-week treatment, those who received ALA saw a 5.7 point improvement on the TSS. Although the placebo group saw a 1.8 point improvement, the researchers stated that this difference was significant. In conclusion, the authors stated that intravenous ALA quickly and significantly eased symptoms in diabetic neuropathy.1


1. Ametov AS, et al. The Sensory Symptoms of Diabetic Neropathy Are Improved With Alpha Lipoic Acid. The SYDNEY Trial. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:770-6.