19th January 2022
Alpha Lipoic Acid for Neuropathy: How It Can Help and How To Use ItDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Alpha lipoic acid is a popular supplement that may have benefits to help reduce neuropathy symptoms.
If you are considering using alpha lipoic acid for neuropathy, it is important to know more about it, including the doses that use used in studies that have shown benefit.
Below, we will cover just what alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is, a quick background of neuropathy, what benefits you may see when using ALA, how long it may take to feel an effect from alpha lipoic acid, how much you might want to take, and where you can get some to use.
What is Alpha Lipoic acid?
Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is made within the body. It can also be found in numerous food sources, which include red meats and spinach. So, you may be asking, what are antioxidants? These are chemicals that prevent and stop bad chemicals called free radicals within the body. They stop or delay the damage that these free radicals cause to the cells within your body.
Neuropathy definition causes and symptoms
The term neuropathy means the dysfunction of the nerves in your extremities. Neuropathic pain is characterized by a burning, tingling, and numb feeling. There are many ways someone can experience neuropathic pain.
This includes experiencing traumatic injuries, being exposed to an environmental toxin, or simply an infection. However, the most common cause of neuropathic pain is diabetes. A diabetic person has higher sugar in their blood than they should. This sugar causes oxidative stress, which basically means the excess sugar damages the cells. This damage makes these nerves not work correctly and it manifests as neuropathic pain.
This burning and tingling feeling can be not only bothersome but also interfere with daily life. As the damage to the nerves progresses eventually, these bothersome sensations felt in the extremities gets worse and then all together disappears.
However, this only occurs because the nerves are so damaged, they cannot produce the feeling of any sensation anymore. This ultimately can lead to you hurting yourself and being unaware of the damage to your hands, arms, feet, and legs.
How can Alpha lipoic acid help with neuropathy?
So as covered above alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant, and the oxidative chemicals in the body cause neuropathy. The reaction between an antioxidant and oxidative chemical is called a redox reaction. The simplest way to think of this is that the antioxidant stops the oxidative chemical.
So, in the case of diabetic neuropathy alpha lipoic acid stops the sugar from damaging the cells further. It also is protective in that when its in your body it stops these oxidative chemicals from even damaging the cells.
How long does it take for Alpha lipoic acid to start working, and how much to take?
According to a meta-analysis, which basically means that a bunch of studies about alpha lipoic acid and neuropathy were analyzed. This analysis of four different studies pointed to the benefit alpha lipoic acid has in reduction of neuropathic pain. They concluded that when a minimum 600 mg but ideally 1200mg of alpha lipoic acid was taken for 3 weeks there was a significant improvement of symptoms.
So, knowing that you can infer that if you were to start taking alpha lipoic acid now. Over the next month you would start to feel a difference in nerve pain and an improvement in your quality of life.
Where to get Alpha Lipoic Acid?
As stated above, Alpha lipoic acid can be either through diet or supplementation. You can purchase Alpha lipoic acid from nutrition stores, pharmacies, and most easily accessible online on Amazon.
However, there is something you want to keep an eye out for when purchasing alpha lipoic acid or any supplement. The ones you want to get will be made in the USA in a FDA registered facility. This indicates that the supplement you are buying from a source that meets good quality and safety guidelines.
You can purchase Alpha lipoic acid in combination products such as Neurazenx, which provides additional herbs, and nutrients to help support nerve pain.
Alpha Lipoic Acid for Neuropathy: Take Away Message
The best way to avoid neuropathy is to avoid injuries, toxic chemicals, and manage diabetes if you are diagnosed with it. So, by taking your diabetic medications correctly and consistently this will help lower your blood sugars. In turn the reduction of bloods sugars will reduce the amount of damage these sugars can do to your body.
To supplement these behaviors adding alpha lipoic acid to your dietary regiment can not only help prevent, protect, but also reverse neuropathy. So, all in all 600mg a day can really keep the doctor away.
Author: Joseph Bonner