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Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid on Body Weight in Obese Subjects

Purpose

Alpha-lipoic acid is an essential cofactor for mitochondrial respiratory enzymes that improves mitochondrial function. We previously reported that alpha-lipoic acid markedly reduced body weight gain in rodents. The purpose of this study was to determine whether alpha-lipoic acid reduces body weight in obese human subjects.

Methods

In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 20-week trial, 360 obese individuals (body mass index [BMI]≥30 kg/m2 or BMI 27-30 kg/m2 plus hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or hypercholesterolemia) were randomized to alpha-lipoic acid 1200 or 1800 mg/d or placebo. The primary end point was body weight change from baseline to end point.

Results

The 1800 mg alpha-lipoic acid group lost significantly more weight than the placebo group (2.1%; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-2.8; P<.05). Urticaria and itching sensation were the most common adverse events in the alpha-lipoic acid groups, but these were generally mild and transient.

Conclusion

Alpha-lipoic acid 1800 mg/d led to a modest weight loss in obese subjects. Alpha-lipoic acid may be considered as adjunctive therapy for obesity.