How to Choose an Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement


Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant compound made in small amounts by the body and found in trace levels in such foods as yeast, liver and spinach. Since this nutrient is important for liver health and proper blood sugar metabolism, daily supplementation with an absorbable, bioavailable form of this supplement is needed. Since there are many supplements available, yet not many that are absorbable, follow these steps to choose a high-quality and efficacious alpha lipoic acid product.

Be aware that the standard American diet, one which is low in many nutrients and not high in consumption of liver, provides approximately 1,000 times less alpha lipoic acid than what is found in most alpha lipoic acid supplements.

Understand that alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant that is able to help the body make better use of other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, glutathione and coenzyme Q10.

Know that research by Burt Berkson, M.D. and others has established the benefits of alpha lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy and liver disease (see Resources below). For general use, alpha lipoic acid’s benefits translate into beneficial effects for insulin health, metabolism and liver health.

Note that many alpha lipoic acid supplements are not useable, or bioavailable, by the body, meaning that 75 percent or more of the nutrient in these ineffective formulations is not available for the body to use.

Be aware that if an alpha lipoic acid supplement does not dissolve, or cannot be dissolved after it is consumed, it cannot be absorbed and is said to be not solubilized and not bioavailable.

Be aware that solubilized, bioavailable formulations of alpha lipoic acid have become available and are offered in softgel capsules.

Know that you can compensate for the nutritionally inadequate levels of alpha lipoic acid available through diet with the 200 to 400 mg per day of alpha lipoic acid supplementation recommended by Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute (see Resources below).

When selecting an alpha lipoic acid brand, make sure that you choose a supplement that is solublized and is offered in softgel capsules, which means it is in a liquid, more absorbable form.

Tips & Warnings

  • Invest in a more expensive alpha lipoic acid supplement, as it is more likely that a premium brand will be of better quality.
  • The safety of alpha lipoic acid supplements in pregnant or breastfeeding women has not been established. Rare cases of minor allergic reactions have been reported, such as rashes, hives and itching.

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