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Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and diabetes *

Diabetes is a common metabolic disorder that is usually accompanied by increased production of reactive oxygen species or by impaired antioxidant defenses. Importantly, oxidative stress is particularly relevant to the risk of cardiovascular disease. Alpha-lipoic acid (LA), a naturally occurring dithiol compound, has long been known as an essential cofactor for mitochondrial bioenergetic enzymes. LA is a very important micronutrient with diverse pharmacologic and antioxidant properties. Pharmacologically, LA improves glycemic control and polyneuropathies associated with diabetes mellitus; it also effectively mitigates toxicities associated with heavy metal poisoning. As an antioxidant, LA directly terminates free radicals, chelates transition metal ions, increases cytosolic glutathione and vitamin C levels, and prevents toxicities associated with their loss. These diverse actions suggest that LA acts by multiple mechanisms both physiologically and pharmacologically. Its biosynthesis decreases as people age and is reduced in people with compromised health, thus suggesting a possible therapeutic role for LA in such cases. Reviewed here is the known efficacy of LA with particular reference to types 1 and 2 diabetes. Particular attention is paid to the potential benefits of LA with respect to glycemic control, improved insulin sensitivity, oxidative stress, and neuropathy in diabetic patients. It appears that the major benefit of LA supplementation is in patients with diabetic neuropathy.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 04-13-2009
Authors: Uma Singh 1 and Ishwarlal Jialal 1
Source: Nutrition Reviews Volume 66 Issue 11, Pages 646 - 657