Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is able to mimic the actions of insulin. It improves glucocose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, hence is used to treat diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
Alpha Lipoic Acid & Weight Loss
Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing insulin resistance and consequently, type 2 diabetes and other obesity related diseases. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar and distribution of energy. When food is consumed, blood sugar rises. This triggers the secretion of insulin, which converts sugar into energy to be used or stored in muscle and liver.
Consuming too much refined carbs, processsed foods and sugar causes excess insulin secretion. Eventually, your cells become insulin resistant when they no longer respond to insulin and accept glucose as energy. This results in high blood sugar levels and belly fat gain.
Alpha lipoic acid can potentially promote weight loss by enhancing energy metabolism, improving insulin sensitivity, regulating blood sugar and lowering triglyceride.
In a study on 360 obese individuals, it was found that those who took 1800 mg ALA lost significantly more weight than those who took the placebo at the end of 20 weeks.
In another study on 1127 pre-obese and obese individuals, supplementing with 800 mg/day resulted in weight loss, and reductions in BMI, waistlines and blood pressure at the end of 4 months.
Studies of ALA in rats showed reduction in visceral (belly) fat, insulin levels and food intake, and increased in energy expenditure (fat burning).
What To Look For When Buying Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplements
There are 2 forms of ALA:
- R-ALA: a natural ALA with high bioavailability to cells and tissues
- S-ALA: a synthetic form of ALA
Your body can synthesise and absorb R-ALA more easily than S-ALA. Hence, R-ALA is more potent than S-ALA.
Most ALA supplements are a 50/50 blend of R-ALA and S-ALA. While cheaper, they are not as effective and beneficial as R-ALA only supplements. Always read the label to ensure that you are getting pure, natural R-ALA.