One thing I am really interested in when it comes to IV therapy, is Alpha Lipoic Acid.
It is something my functional medicine doctor put me onto a couple of years ago and every time I have it in my IV I feel so, so good.
It has come to my attention that many people do not know what Alpha Lipoic Acid is and what it can be used for! I thought it would be the perfect topic for a research paper.
So let’s dive in!
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha Lipoic Acid (aka ALA) is a major antioxidant. It actually comes in many different names, but Alpha Lipoic Acid is the main name. Other names include:
-Acetate Replacing Factor
Alpha Lipoic acid is an essential fatty acid found in every cell of the human body. It is an essential component in the production of cellular energy. It is an extremely efficient antioxidant.
ALA is a naturally occuring fatty acid. This means our own body can make it. Some plant-based foods where you can find ALA are broccoli, spinach, and potatoes. Just to name a few!
What does Alpha Lipoic Acid do? ALA serves many functions, especially at a cellular level as it has a LOT to do with energy production. Alpha Lipoic Acid is something people use to “enhance” their body, or rather “optimize” it and it has been used for many medical needs.
Short answer to “What is Alpha Lipoic Acid for?” It’s for energy production and cellular health! But we will get into the details.
What are Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits?
What makes ALA unique is that it is able to function in both water and fat. This allows for it to enter all parts of the cell and even penetrate nerve cells to protect them from free radical damage. Antioxidants like vitamin C are only water-soluble and vitamins like vitamin E are only fat-soluble, but ALA is active in both water and fat. It can penetrate the blood-brain barrier more effectively than any other antioxidant.
ALA appears to have the ability to recycle other antioxidants such as vitamin C and Glutathione after they’ve been used up. This fatty acid increases the natural biological formation of glutathione.
Additional research shows that ALA can:
-ALA can help reduce inflammation See this analysis of 11 studies where they concluded that ALA could significantly lower levels of this specific inflammation marker called “C-reactive protein” aka CRP. This was demonstrated in adults who exhibited higher levels of CRP in the first place.
-ALA can aid in healthy weight loss. This should be noted that the effects are slight. Or rather, in the studies, the effects were slight. On average though, a person could theorize that they could lose ~2 pounds more in 4 months than one who did not take ALA.
-ALA can reduce heart disease risk. This is because ALA is such a strong antioxidant in general and it is theorized that neutralizing free radical damage can be extremely beneficial for heart health.
-ALA can help with nerve health. Nerves are tough to treat, but ALA can really help. Carpel Tunnel, which is especially tough in the nerve damage of the hands and wrists, have been shown to slow (at early stages) when ALA was administered (with a few other vitamins) for 90 days. Uncontrolled nerve pain can also happen with diabetes, and ALA can help with that as well.
-ALA is great for the brain. This is one of the biggest reasons that people take ALA: It helps with the brain! Specially, it can improve memory loss. ALA has also been shown to help with Alzheimers, noting that again, ALA can help with inflammation and neutralizing free radicals and therefore helps the brain.
-ALA can help with cancer! It has been shown to inhibit cancerous cells due to its potent antioxidant activity. ALA has also been shown to have anticancer activity (when combined with other treatments) against those with even advanced metastatic cancers. We will get more into this in another section.
Alpha Lipoic Acid IV therapy
I am a huge fan of IV therapy because the vitamins and minerals can bypass the digestion system and go straight into the bloodstream which is helpful! Many people report feeling much more energized after they have some ALA in their IVs.
I should note here that many people choose to do an ALA IV by itself (meaning no other vitamins and minerals) and many people choose to mix their ALA IV’s with things like glutathione, B vitamins, magnesium, etc. I wrote a health article on IV therapy here.
The real benefit to doing a ALA IV over oral supplementation is simply the absorption rate. You will end up absorbing much more of the ALA through IV therapy than you will through capsule or pill supplementation.
Another benefit of ALA IV therapy is that ALA can get to work quicker. What ALA does when it gets into the bloodstream is go STRAIGHT to the depleted cells and gets to work! Many times when conditions are dire and ALA is needed, it will be given through an IV rather than high dose supplementation orally. To know that it is effective almost immediately with IV therapy is really cool for those who need it.
Alpha Lipoic Acid IV Benefits: The benefits are many! It helps the liver, weight loss, preventing cancer, boosting energy, repairing cells, improving cognitive function, and so much more!
When to take Alpha Lipoic Acid?
There are two ways of looking at this question.
1- What “time” to take ALA? The answer is that it is best on an empty stomach! It is believed that ALA is best absorbed with nothing else in the system. However, you do not have to worry about this as much when you get IV therapy with ALA, because it completely bypasses digestion.
2. “When” does someone need ALA? Well, most healthy persons do make enough ALA. Meaning all the ALA they need, their body can produce. However, big however, ALA is great for those who are looking to get “ahead” with something. Perhaps that is weight loss, perhaps they need extra energy, perhaps they are experiencing a lot of inflammation and they are looking for ways to bring that inflammation down, all the way to cancer patients who can use ALA as one of their therapies. ALA is best for getting ahead.
IV Alpha Lipoic Acid for Cancer
For cancer, this IV therapy can be a real help! One of the most interesting studies was done on breast cancer cells- Alpha Lipoic Acid mitigated the invasion of metastatic cancer cells! They do say there is more research needed to be definitive though.
ALA has also been shown to inhibit tumor growth activity. The cells of tumors have been tested both in vivo and in vitro and showed a promising case for using ALA for a treatment (not a mono treatment, but alongside others) for cancer.
On Cancer Therapy Advisor, they quote this about Alpha Lipoic Acid and cancer:
“ALA alone has been shown to decrease cell viability and proliferation in breast, ovarian, colorectal, and lung cancer cell lines, and was synergistic with chemotherapy. ALA also decreased cell migration and invasion in thyroid cancer cell lines. In prostate cancer cells, however, ALA did not affect cell proliferation compared with the control… Several case reports have been published suggesting that ALA, typically in combination with other agents, may have anticancer activity among patients with advanced metastatic cancers. One case series reported that 4 patients with pancreatic cancer experienced a complete response after receiving treatment with intravenous ALA (300 to 600 mg twice weekly) plus oral low-dose naltrexone (4.5 mg once daily).”
Alpha Lipoic Acid Side Effects
Alpha Lipoic Acid side effects are few. Although they have not been clearly tested on pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children. Also, it has been warned that those taking the thyroid medication levothyroxine should be careful about taking ALA. It is not said that they shouldn’t per se, but that they should talk to their doctor about it beforehand.
Extreme doses of ALA is not needed, as it has never once been shown to make a bigger difference if you keep doing more more more. Those who take too high of a dose could risk liver damage and oxidation within the body. This is rare though as a practitioner should never go above a certain level.
How much alpha lipoic acid should you take a day?
For the average users, typically 300mg-600mg a day is sufficient enough to make a difference. It is not until it is over 2,400mg that it could be risky. However, everyone is different and you would want to talk to your doctor or practitioner about this.
I absolutely love ALA IV therapy and I am so thankful that my functional doctor recommended it to me. It really makes sense that it helps boost energy on a cellular level because I truly feel rejuvenated after an ALA IV. I take a lot of comfort knowing that it can have anticancer activity Among the many other benefits. I look at ALA IV therapy as an additional treatment that supports my health and keeps me energized. I think the fact that ALA has been used for medicinal purposes and is backed by modern science is incredible because we need more of that. The more studies, the better! Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is so tied to vitality and longevity.
What do you think of Alpha Lipoic Acid?