ALA and Weight Loss

Did You Know…that boosting a certain antioxidant in the body can help promote weight loss?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid produced by the body.  It plays a key role in energy production and helps to balance blood sugar levels, improve skin appearance, reduce inflammation, and impart physical and mental anti-aging effects.  And now, preliminary human trials show that it even helps aid in weight loss… but only when taken in supplement form.

ALA and Weight Loss 

Organ meats such as liver and heart, yeast, broccoli, spinach, and potatoes are all foods rich in ALA, but studies show that ALA in food doesn’t boost ALA levels in the body.  Supplementing with ALA, however, does increase free ALA levels in the body, and has demonstrated a marked effect on blood sugar levels, metabolism, and weight loss.

     A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that obese people on a calorie-restricted diet and supplementing with 1,800 mg of ALA daily for 20 weeks experienced significantly more weight loss—up to 5% of their total body weight—than the placebo group did.

A 2015 study published in the journal Obesity revealed similar findings.  Ninety-seven obese or overweight women were put on a weight loss diet of 30% fewer calories than their total energy expenditure for 10 weeks and then divided into 4 groups:

  Group 1: the control group
  Group 2: supplemented with 300 mg ALA/day
  Group 3: supplemented with 1.3 g of EPA/day
  Group 4: supplemented with 300 mg of ALA and 1.3 g of EPA/day

Cutting caloric intake led to weight loss and associated positive changes in blood sugar and lipid levels.  Women supplementing with ALA alone or in combination with EPA experienced enhanced weight loss.

  Group 1: the control group lost 11.44 pounds
  Group 2: ALA alone group lost 15.4 pounds
  Group 3: EPA alone group lost 11.88 pounds
  Group 4: the combo ALA and EPA group lost 14.3 pounds

That’s an extra 3 pounds of weight lost over 10 weeks for the women supplementing with ALA!

What to Know About ALA 

ALA is unique in that it acts as an antioxidant in both the water and fat-soluble parts of the cell and cell membrane.  It also helps to regenerate other antioxidants and continues to impart benefits even after it has neutralized dangerous free radicals, preventing them from damaging cells.

ALA is also a promising treatment for type 2 diabetes.  Studies indicate that ALA can help boost the body’s production of insulin in order to lower blood sugar and help decrease symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes).

Studies indicate that only about 30—40% of the ALA in supplements is actually absorbed by the body.  To increase bioavailablity, experts recommend taking ALA on an empty stomach or two hours before eating.