Alpha-Lipoic Acid and the Brain [Your Brain Protector]

Table of Contents

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is an important natural mitochondrial compound for your brain! ALA is an antioxidant and can protect against free radicals that are roaming thoughout your body before they cause trouble. It protects against cell damage and this helps your brain since it reduces cell damage in the brain too. Let’s talk more about Alpha-Lipoic Acid and the brain.

There are things you need to know about Alpha-Lipoic Acid and why you might want to add it to your brain arsenal. Studies have shown there are no contraindications for taking Alpha-Lipoic Acid and you may have little to no side effects. But you should know it can lower blood sugar, which is great if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Controlling blood glucose is important to everyone, as you’ll see below.

Featured in: The Top 10 Brain Supplements


Oxidation in the body means that cells split and create free radicals (a normal occurrence). Free radicals are just split cells that go in search of other split cells, to put it simply. They are part of our immune system and so are necessary for health. The problem occurs when there are too many. Free radicals, which cause oxidation of good cells, affect our health greatly when they overtake the healthy cells. Oxidation can also affect our memory. Too many free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, which is a contributor to many illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.Alpha lipoic acid for the brain


This is where antioxidants come in. Our bodies make some antioxidants and they are in some of our ‘healthy’ foods like fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals before they get out of control. Antioxidants come in two forms: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Vitamins E and C are great antioxidants. Vitamin C is water-soluble while Vitamin E is fat-soluble. The body does make a small amount of Alpha-Lipoic Acid, which is both water and fat-soluble. Also, we can get it from animal products like red meat and organ meats as well as some plant sources like broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. Being both water and fat-soluble means ALA can permeate more cells in our bodies, making it pretty effective as an antioxidant.

Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Here are some benefits of ALA:

  • Lower blood sugar levels – Studies have shown that ALA lowers blood sugar levels in animals tested by up to 64%. In humans, scientists found that ALA reduces insulin resistance, making it easier for insulin to do its job. Nice! It also helps remove fat from muscle cells (which is what causes insulin resistance). If you have diabetes, ask your doctor before adding ALA to your regimen.
  • Reduced inflammation – Part of the way it helps with inflammation is restoring vitamin C and E levels in the body. This seems to help prevent some kinds of cell damage.
  • Slows skin aging – A lot of people are using Alpha-Lipoic creams to reduce lines and skin roughness and help general skin elasticity.
  • Improved nerve function – ALA has been proven to help with symptoms of nerve damage (neuropathy) from diabetes. Neuropathy can be a consequence of high blood sugar in diabetes. Also, it has been found to help with carpal tunnel syndrome in the early stages, helping the numbness and tingling in the hand.
  • May Help With Weight Loss – ALA does seem to help with weight loss. Studies have shown only a one to two-pound increase in weight loss compared with people who weren’t taking it. It seems to work with the brain to help feelings of hunger as well as the reduction of fat in muscles we talked about earlier. The effect on the brain is accomplished by suppressing AMPK activity in the brain, thus reducing feelings of hunger.
  • May Lower Heart Disease Risk Factors – Raman of Healthline mentions that ALA may also reduce the risk of heart disease, due to its antioxidant factor. Not only that, it’s been shown to lower the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels in adults. I’m in.
  • May Slow Memory Loss – ALA is sometimes used as a supplement for people with Alzheimer’s due to its neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation. It seems it would be good for brain health in general! It’s listed among the top brain supplements you can take.

improved nerve function
Related Article: Side Effects of Low Vitamin D 

Another Word on Blood Sugar and the Brain

Friends, Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist and author of Grain Brain, has studied extensively on what causes dementia and Alzheimer’s. He mentions that people who have dementia, Alzheimer’s and of course, diabetes, are shown to have insulin resistance. There seems to be a connection between glucose (blood sugar) and brain degeneration. People with diabetes have a higher risk. Even spikes in blood sugar in people without a diabetes diagnosis are affected. You can read more about this in the Gluten and Inflammation article here.

This isn’t the sole cause of brain diseases but it does seem to be a factor. Knowing this, it’s even more important to do what we can to keep our glucose levels in check. ALA is one way to help accomplish this.


Experts say that we only need to take 300-600 mg per day for benefits from Alpha-Lipoic Acid. (Toxicity occurs at around 2400 mg.). Anything  beyond 2400mg might actually have the reverse effect. Take as directed on the bottle or as your physician recommends.

People with diabetes complications or cognitive disorders might require more. Ask your doctor.

Keep In Mind…

Since alpha lipoic acid can lower blood sugar levels, be cautious about taking it with other supplements that also reduce blood sugar if you have low blood sugar.

Also, ask your doctor or a pharmacist if you have a thyroid disorder or liver disease or if you drink large amounts of alcohol. And certainly, if you have diabetes, for guidance.

Bringing It Together

The antioxidant properties of Alpha-Lipoic acid make it an excellent supplement and addition to your brain arsenal. While the body produces a small amount, the addition of ALA in supplement form provides some extra insurance against free radicals wreaking havoc in your body.

Don’t wait to add this powerful antioxidant to your brain regimen! Click to get started today.

Toll-free access to the full-time Life Extension health advisory group, consisting of MDs, NDs, PhDs, RNs, and nutritionists ready to answer any questions you may have regarding our products, ingredients, contraindications, and health-related issues. Open from 7:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. ET every day at 1-800-226-2370

Puritan’s Pride Alpha Lipoic Acid 300 mg-120 Softgels

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions, experience or comments, please be sure to leave them below. I appreciate it!

References: (2018). Alpha-Lipoic Acid.

Perlmutter, D. (2013, 2018). Grain Brain. [Book]. Published by Little, Brown Spark, Hachette Book Group.

Raman, R. (2018).  Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Weight Loss, Other Benefits and Side Effects.

WebMD. (2018). Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosing.

8 thoughts on “Alpha-Lipoic Acid and the Brain [Your Brain Protector]”

  1. That looks like a great product, I have never used it but from your detailed explanation, important and the advice on the dosage has done a good job and I will like to give it a try so that I can also benefit from this wonderful product.

    The benefits of the product are great. You also mention where we can get some of the benefits of Alpha-lipoic Acid natural plants and animals and I want to learn from that.

    Will the plants and animal products provide the same kind of results as Alpha-lipoic Acid?.

    Nice sharing this great product to the world.

    • Thank you Sumani. You get a lot less ALA from plant sources. But antioxidants are important, especially if your body or brain is stressed.

  2. interesting i have always given this some thought but never really got to do any research on it. you made mention of reduced inflammation then said that it helps prevent some kind of cell damage. I would be very grateful if you can expound on this a bit. Just want to know what cells specifically. in all all great content looking forward to you response   

    • Basically, all cells benefit from antioxidants like ALA. The unique thing about ALA is since it’s water and fat-soluble, it helps all cells. Not just some. By reducing oxidative stress (cells dividing and causing lots of free radicals), this helps to repair some of that damage. Too many free radicals can cause diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. 

  3. Now, had I not read this, I am not sure I’d be looking for Alpha-Lipoic Acid on the Pharmacy shelves. But after reading your article, it seems like this is a super supplement we can all benefit from. Who would not want to prevent cell damage, remove fat from muscle cells, or lower their risk of heart disease, among other things. The benefits listed are really fantastic. Some people take their health for granted but being in good health is key to getting stuff done. I am all for staying healthy, and since I am not into red meat, this supplement is definitely worth the investment.

    • Thank you for reading, Vanessa. Just so you know, it’s available through the link on the bottle image if you’d like to look at the options. I trust Puritan’s Pride a great deal.

  4. Thank you. Right now I take a lot of vitamins but I do not have Alpha lipoic acid. Do you think it would make a notable effect if I feel like my brain is already feeling like a pretty healthy brain? I started taking 5-HTP within the last year to complement my lucid dreaming practice and come to think of it I also tried huperzine a and Alpha GPC. I guess those are considered brain supplements right?

    I ended up sticking with the 5-HTP and that is supposed to increase serotonin and I do feel like it has made a notable difference although there are always so many factors that it is hard to tell. I don’t currently take Alpha GPC or huperzine a but I remember definitely having vivid dreams when I took them.

    What do you think are the best brain supplements for lucid dreaming.?

    also I appreciate that you included something about post-traumatic stress. That is an important subject I think.

    • Thank you, Charles. I’ve done some research on 5-HTP (it’s in my list of nootropics in the article here). I plan to write about that too soon. That’s awesome. I don’t know if ALA helps with lucid dreaming or not. It is more of an antioxidant than anything and a neuroprotective agent. I don’t think it would harm you if you took it with HTP-5. They are different classes or substances. Panax Ginseng is more similar to 5-HTP but I’d suggest researching it to find out more. I don’t have experience with lucid dreaming but I’ll probably research it now. 🙂 


Leave a Comment