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Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 8, 2023.

What are other common names?

  • 1,2-dithiolane-3-pentanoic acid
  • 1,2-dithiolane-3-valeric acid
  • 5-(1,2-dithiolan-3-yl) valeric acid
  • 6,8-thioctic acid
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • A-Lipoic Acid
  • Acetate Replacing Factor
  • ALA
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Alpha-Lipoate
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid
  • Alphalipoicacidala
  • Biletan
  • Dihydrolipoic Acid
  • Lipoic Acid
  • Lipoicin
  • R-Lipoic Acid
  • S-Alpha-Lipoic Acid
  • S-Lipoic Acid
  • Thioctacid
  • Thioctan
  • Thioctic Acid

What is this product used for?

Alpha-lipoic acid is also called ALA. It is used to help relieve some types of nerve pain caused by diabetes. It may also help stop cell damage in the body. It may help lower the pain in burning mouth syndrome. ALA has also been used for macular degeneration, an eye problem that occurs with age or diabetes.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • This product may interfere with some lab tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this natural product.

  • If you have blood sugar problems, keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Thyroid problems

    • Diabetes

    • Cancer

    • Anemia or low iron in your blood

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Heartburn

  • Rash

  • Unusual smell of urine

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of low blood sugar. These include hunger, dizziness, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, or sweating.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad loose stools

Where can I learn more?

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Last Reviewed Date


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