Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid, α-lipoic acid


Lipoic acid is a compound found in the body. It acts as an antioxidant to help slow damage to cells. Lipoic acid has been used to ease symptoms of diabetes and promote weight loss. It has also been used to lower cholesterol and improve male fertility. Lipoic acid can be taken as a pill or powder. It can also be applied to the skin as a cream or injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.


600 milligrams daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

May Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take lipoic acid in small doses for a short time, but headache, rash, and nausea and vomiting may happen. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with diabetes should talk to their doctors before taking lipoic acid. It may interact with their medicines.


REFA Burning Mouth Syndrome

REFA1 Kisely S, Forbes M, et al. A systematic review of randomized trials for the treatment of burning mouth syndrome. J Psychosom Res. 2016 Jul;86:39-46.

REFA2 McMillan R, Forssell H, et al. Interventions for treating burning mouth syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 18;11:CD002779.

REFA3 Liu YF, Kim Y, et al. Burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review of treatments. Oral Dis. 2018 Apr;24(3):325-334.

REFA4 de Souza IF, Mármora BC, et al. Treatment modalities for burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review. Clin Oral Investig. 2018 Jun;22(5):1893-1905.

REFB Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy

REFB1 Brami C, Bao T, et al. Natural products and complementary therapies for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A systematic review. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016 Feb;98:325-334.

REFC Dementia

REFC1 Sauer J, Tabet N, et al. Alpha lipoic acid for dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(1):CD004244.

REFD Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

REFD1 Xu Q, Pan J, et al. Meta-analysis of methylcobalamin alone and in combination with lipoic acid in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;101(2):99-105.

REFD2 Cakici N, Fakkel TM, et al. Systematic review of treatments for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Diabet Med. 2016;33(11):1466-1476.

REFD3 Wang XT, Lin HX, et al. Lipoic Acid Combined with Epalrestat versus Lipoic Acid in Treating Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy:A Meta-analysis. Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao. 2017 Oct 30;39(5):656-664.

REFD4 Wang X, Lin H, et al. Alpha lipoic acid combined with epalrestat: a therapeutic option for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2018;12L2827-2840.

REFD5 Akbari M, Ostadmohammadi V, et al. The effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on glucose control and lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Metabolism. 2018;87:56-69.

REFE Hyperlipidemia

REFE1 Haghighatdoost F, Hariri M. Does alpha-lipoic acid affect lipid profile? A meta-analysis of and systematic review on randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pharmacol. 2019;847:1-10.

REFF Male Infertility

REFF1 Haghighian HK, Haidari F, et al. Randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial examining the effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on the spermatogram and seminal oxidative stress in infertile men. Fertil Steril. 2015;104(2):318-324.

REFG Multiple Sclerosis

REFG1 Plemel JR, Juzwik CA, et al. Over-the-counter anti-oxidant therapies for use in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review. Mult Scler. 2015 Oct;21(12):1485-1495.

REFG2 Loy BD, Fling BW, et al. Effects of lipoic acid on walking performance, gait, and balance in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Complement Ther Med. 2018;41:169-174.

REFH Obesity

REFH1 Koh EH, Lee WJ, et al. Effects of alpha-lipoic Acid on body weight in obese subjects. Am J Med. 2011;124(1):85.

REFH2 Kucukgoncu S, Zhou E, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplementation for weight loss: results from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017;18(5):594-601.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 03/2020
  • Update Date: 06/22/2020