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SNP - Alpha lipoic Acid - Review

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)

What is ALA?

ALA is a mitochondrial compound which is involved in energy metabolism. The mitochondria are energy producing organelles which are found within animal cells. Their main function is to produce ATP (the energy currency of the body) much like how the South African Rand is the currency of South Africa. Without ATP, we wouldn’t have ENERGY.

What foods contain ALA?

Some fruits and vegetables contain ALA although in very low amounts. The most notable sources are meats, particularly red meat and organ meats.

What is the benefit of supplementing with ALA?

In supplement form it has shown benefit for many various forms of oxidation and inflammation. A potent anti-oxidant which helps to scavenge free radicals, protecting against heart disease, diabetes and neurological decline associated with old age.

It’s also a potent appetite suppressant, consistently showing signs of suppression in animal studies. Although understudied in humans, this trend may well be true.

How much ALA should I take daily?

The standard dosage is with the range of 300-600mg daily (the R-isomer)

What supplement stacks best with ALA?

L-carnitine and ALA work synergistically are they have related mechanisms of action. Both reducing oxidative stress and increasing mitochondrial function.


Liu J, et al. Memory loss in old rats is associated with brain mitochondrial decay and RNA/DNA oxidation: partial reversal by feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2002)

Wollin SD, Jones PJ. Alpha-lipoic acid and cardiovascular disease. J Nutr. (2003)

Moini H, Packer L, Saris NE. Antioxidant and prooxidant activities of alpha-lipoic acid and dihydrolipoic acid. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. (2002)

Article by Owen Dunderdale

Registered Dietician (SA)

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