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Children's Health

Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALA, alpha-lipoic acid, TA, thioctic acid

General description

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant. It is quickly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It dissolves in both water and fat in the body. 

Demonstrated uses

ALA is frequently used to treat diabetic neuropathy. This is a sensory change that includes stinging, burning, pain, and numbness in parts of the skin. ALA hasn't been scientifically proven to be helpful in all cases of neuropathy. However, some studies have indicated its helpfulness in mild to moderate cases. It is used by many people with neuropathy. Research continues to be in progress to evaluate ALA's effectiveness.

Several small studies have also shown that ALA can help to increase insulin sensitivity. It may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. More research is needed to confirm this. 

ALA is a strong antioxidant. This function may protect nerve tissue from damage. Conditions, such as diabetes, may be helped by antioxidants such as ALA.


There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

ALA may help to:

  • Prevent cataracts

  • Prevent cancer

  • Treat cancer

  • Treat diabetes

  • Treat diabetic neuropathy

  • Treat liver disease

Suggested dosage

ALA is available to treat diabetic neuropathy.

Doses of ALA range from 200 to 2400 mg/day for adults. There is no evidence for a specific dose. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Side effects

There are no side effects at recommended doses. Toxicity risk is very low.


There are no known food or medicine interactions. If you have diabetes and use ALA, work closely with your healthcare provider and closely keep track of your blood sugar levels. ALA may reduce the amount of insulin or oral diabetes medicines that are needed. Use it cautiously.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bianca Garilli MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Southard RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023