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billrod
Total Posts: 35
Registered on: ‎03-09-2011

More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?

Hi All

 

Curios about Alpha Lipoic Acid and how it helps with neuropathy that I have seen  in a few posts. 

(Did not want to hijack other posts so I started a new one.)

 

Lately I have had a slight intermittent increase in the tingling in my feet and hands.

Nothing like when I was dx back in March of '10 but still a bit annoying.

 

3 months ago I had my annual and my A1C and other numbers look great so my doc reduced my KombiglizeXR from 2.5/1000 twice a day to 5/1000 once a day to help with the metformin "laxative affect"  (certainly helping with that).

My fasting BG went from ~105 to only about ~112 so that has not gone up enough to affect the tingling.

 

From the little I have seen about ALA it sounds like something I would like to try.

I found 200mg ALA at WallyWorld.

 

1 - What is a good dose to start out with?

2 - Any concerns of too high a dose?

3 - Any worries of side effects?

Any other info that can be shared on ALA?

 

Thanks all.

Bill

 

Dx'd March 2010

Currently on Kombiglyze XR 5/1000 once a day, Actos 45mg,  Avapro 150mg.

 

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morrisolder
Total Posts: 10,455
Registered on: ‎11-28-2009

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?

Hi Bill,

 

Before we get to your question about ALA  we should be clear that the most important element to allowing damaged nerves to recover from neuropathy is to get blood glucose as close to normal as possible.  ALA can help, but works best if it is not fighting blood sugar that is even at a prediabetic level. You don;t mention what your current levels are, so that is an important thing to stress. Enough so that I normally do not post the information below about ALA without preceding with a post about neruopathy and blood glucose levels.  In this case, because you asked specifically about ALA, this paragraph will substitute for that usual post, which explains in greater detail why lower blood sugar levels are so important.

 

Alpha Lipoic Acid is about the only thing that really helps address the root cause of neuropathy, nerve damage. The nerve damage is caused by high blood sugar over a period of time, so reducing blood sugar to normal, and preferably the lower part of the normal range, is key to ensuring that the damage to the nerve is not re-introduced. Sometimes in fact, depending on how well blood sugar is controlled, and how far the nerve damage has progressed, restoring blood sugar to normal in and of itself will allow the nerves to heal themselves.

 

The medications prescribed by doctors, such as Lyrica, and Neurontin, only deal with the pain caused by neuropathy, not the cause. Alpha Lipoic Acid is the only, I believe, anti-oxidant that is both water and fat soluble, which means that it can migrate to places in your body that other antioxidants cannot. These places include the nerve sheathes which encase the damaged nerves. Removing free radicals from these locations can restore normal nerve function, or so the theory goes--nobody know exactly for sure how it works.

 

But we do know that it does. Most of the studies you read on the web are with intravenous ALA, but not all. In the last 2 years there have been a couple of studies showing that orally ingested ALA can make a difference, which accords with the experience of diabetics in Europe and increasingly in America, who like you and me, have searched the internet looking for anything that might work. It has been used for a long time in Europe and doctors are starting to recommend it more here in the US--even the ADA has published positive studies.

 

There is an issue that ALA tends to have a very short life, and so it is best to not take it all at once. Usually 600mg per day is recommended. Some people recommend the time released version, although I did see a study which suggested, contrary to all logic, that that was less effective. Perhaps the explanation is here-- http://www.doctormurray.com/ask/alphalipoic.asp * (*This web page no longer seems to be available, at least not without subscribing to "Premium Access."  Basically the argument was that in releasing ALA slowly, it never builds up to an effective dosage and therefore is not as effective)

 

Two good sources in the US that people have had good luck with, and that are reasonably priced, are Wal-Mart and Trader Joe's

 

You will hear it said that ALA doesn't work at all if blood sugar levels are not normal. This argument has logic going for it, in the sense that if you have high blood sugar exacerbating a problem, and then try to solve that problem with a supplement, well it is getting worse at the same time that it is getting better, and your progress could be hard to measure. Kind of like baling water out of a sink to keep it from overflowing while the tap is still on.

 

Even so I have corresponded with people who have taken ALA with higher than normal blood sugar who have had very noticeable reductions in pain. A key difference for these people from my own experience is that when they stop taking ALA, the pain comes back quickly. When they start again it goes away. I take that to mean that the ALA is temporarily stemming the tide, but if they run out of or stop taking it, high blood sugar reverses that progress. In contrast, with normal blood sugars, ALA will work its magic in 3 months or so, and after that may have little effect on neuropathy. I took it for a year before I figured that out. When I stopped, the neuropathy did not return. Later on I heard about the cocktail of ALA and Gamma Linolejc Acid and tried that to see if it would affect my remaining minor symptoms, but it had no effect. I had already progressed as far as I could. 

 

Which suggests that ALA can be effective even if blood sugars are not optimal, but works best, and requires only a limited term of taking them, if blood sugars are normal.

 

BTW, ALA is also reputed to be effective in lowering blood sugar generally, and for that reason Rexall even puts a warning on its bottles cautioning diabetics not to take it--presumably a cover-your-ass legality-inspired warning aimed at insulin users who might suddenly go low if they add ALA to their program. People posting on these message boards have had mixed experiences in this regard. Some have reported that it helped lower blood sugar. Many more, however, have found that there was no change in their blood sugar numbers, which has been my experience both when I started and stopped taking ALA.

 

 

Morris

Diagnosed Type 2, with an A1c of 11.4 in 2003; averaging a 5.0 A1c since then with diet, exercise and Glipizide XL + meds for blood pressure and cholesterol. 
A bit dated, but scroll down on this page if you want to know more ...


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gphxgphx
Total Posts: 832
Registered on: ‎03-24-2011

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?

At least in obese rats, the mode of action of ALA is trifold:

 

Reducing insulin resistance

Reducing excess body weight

Preventing diabetes from developing in the first place

 

ALA Actions

 

It does appear to be great at repairing damaged nerves and not just in diabetics. According to the latest issue of Neurology Now due to good results noted by doctors and patients it is now being trialed to repair nerve damage in multiple sclerosis.

 

The only negative side effect I've ever seen is it can possibly be antagonistic to CoQ10 levels and could cause slight deficiency. It is easy to supplement CoQ10 (presuming it's even a problem) and some formulations of ALA have CoQ10 included.

 

Europe and Germany in particular seem to be ahead of the curve compared to the US on ALA. It is prescribed there. In my own experience ALA and Omega 3s are as important to managing my diabetes and lipid issues as diet and exercise.

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deafmack
Total Posts: 2,527
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?

I can't say all or most but some of us use Alpha LIpoic Acid to help with neuropathy. It does help IMO. I take 200mg 3 times a day but noticed that my body was reacting and found out the ALA I was taking had cornstarch in it. Since changing to a cornfree version I am doing much better. In reading about ALA dosage I have found that 600 mg a day can be conservative and have seen people use much larger doses but 600 mg a day is good starting place. Also you can use R LIpoic Acid instead but it has a much shorter shelf life, Either way, you would be making a good move.

a Deaf person with Diabetes.

alan_s
Total Posts: 14,619
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Registered on: ‎10-30-2009

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?


deafmack wrote:

I can't say all or most but some of us use Alpha LIpoic Acid to help with neuropathy. It does help IMO. I take 200mg 3 times a day but noticed that my body was reacting and found out the ALA I was taking had cornstarch in it. Since changing to a cornfree version I am doing much better. In reading about ALA dosage I have found that 600 mg a day can be conservative and have seen people use much larger doses but 600 mg a day is good starting place. Also you can use R LIpoic Acid instead but it has a much shorter shelf life, Either way, you would be making a good move.


Not for neuropathy, but for arthritis, I found that changing from glucosamine to 600mg ALA was seamless, with no return of the arthritic pain in my wrists the glucosamine was helping to manage.

 

I have been on 50mg r-ALA for a week now, with no noticeable difference or side effects. The experiment continues.

Cheers, Alan, Type 2, d&e metformin 2000mg, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter.
There is nothing I could eat I like more than my eyes.
Type 2 Diabetes - A Personal Journey (latest: It Must Be OK - It's Sugar-Free! Wrong!)
Born Under a Wandering Star (Latest: Budapest, Hungary)
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JerryB6768
Total Posts: 4
Registered on: ‎12-05-2011

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?

You can get a better response if you use a solubilized, high bioavailability ALA.  With ALA, I wouldn't be looking for the cheapest product.  Most of the cheap products are made with raw material that is made in China.  The product I use is called ThioGel and is made with ALA from Europe.

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billrod
Total Posts: 35
Registered on: ‎03-09-2011

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?

Hi Morris

 

Thanks for all the good info.

My fasting bg is on the low teens, 112 or so give or take.

I understand the point about trying to empty a sink with the tap on so with my fasting BG being mid prediabetic, ALA might not have a long lasting affect.

But does taking ALA with with these numbers cause any ill affects?

In other words is taking it have any adverse affects or is it more along the lines of wasting money because it may have no permanent or longer term positive affect?

 

Thanks

Bill

alan_s
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Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?



billrod wrote:

My fasting bg is on the low teens, 112 or so give or take.


What is your typical one-hour post-meal BG?

Cheers, Alan, Type 2, d&e metformin 2000mg, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter.
There is nothing I could eat I like more than my eyes.
Type 2 Diabetes - A Personal Journey (latest: It Must Be OK - It's Sugar-Free! Wrong!)
Born Under a Wandering Star (Latest: Budapest, Hungary)
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gphxgphx
Total Posts: 832
Registered on: ‎03-24-2011

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?


billrod wrote:

But does taking ALA with with these numbers cause any ill affects?

In other words is taking it have any adverse affects or is it more along the lines of wasting money because it may have no permanent or longer term positive affect?

 

Thanks

Bill


I can't see any problems. One of the primary modes of action of ALA is to restore the ability of pores on our cells to open to allow glucose in so the mitochrondria can utilize it as fuel. Not aware of any downsides with a reasonable dosage. Personally I plan to take it every day for the rest of my life.

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morrisolder
Total Posts: 10,455
Registered on: ‎11-28-2009

Re: More info on Alpha Lipoic Acid and Neuropathy?


billrod wrote:

Hi Morris

 

Thanks for all the good info.

My fasting bg is on the low teens, 112 or so give or take.

I understand the point about trying to empty a sink with the tap on so with my fasting BG being mid prediabetic, ALA might not have a long lasting affect.

But does taking ALA with with these numbers cause any ill affects?

In other words is taking it have any adverse affects or is it more along the lines of wasting money because it may have no permanent or longer term positive affect?

 

Thanks

Bill


I don't know of any ill effects caused by ALA--I think occasionally someone reports that it makes them feel nausea, but it seems to be rare and never happened with me. And even with the numbers you are at now, it may keep things from getting worse, or maybe even make them better.

 

Unlike Rick, I found it had absolutely no effect on my blood glucose levels, and with the neuropathy much better, I sotpped taking it several years ago--with no rise in blood glucose or returning neuropathy.  

 

 

Morris

Diagnosed Type 2, with an A1c of 11.4 in 2003; averaging a 5.0 A1c since then with diet, exercise and Glipizide XL + meds for blood pressure and cholesterol. 
A bit dated, but scroll down on this page if you want to know more ...