Alpha-Lipoic Acid a Weight-Loss Aid
1,800 mg per day of oral alpha-lipoic acid was effective in achieving significant weight loss in obese subjects
Alpha-lipoic acid is already well known as a supplement that improves blood sugar control and reduces diabetes symptoms such as nerve pain. Now a study published in the American Journal of Medicine suggest that alpha-lipoic acid might also help obese people lose weight.
Supplementing a weight-loss diet with alpha-lipoic acid
The study, conducted in South Korea, included 360 obese people, some of whom also had hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. They received dietary instructions aimed to reduce their calorie intake by 600 calories per day, with 55 to 60% of their calories from carbohydrate, 20 to 25% from fat, and 15 to 20% from protein.
After being on the diet for four weeks, they were divided into three groups:
They remained on the diet and supplement program for 20 weeks.
Alpha-lipoic acid users bigger (weight) losers
When the researchers compared weight in the three groups, they noted:
Welcome help for people with obesity
Only one drug is approved for use as a weight loss drug in the US: orlistat (Xenical ) and its side effects include digestive upset, diarrhea, and fecal incontinence. Another anti-obesity drug, sibutramine (Meridia ), was linked to increased risks of heart attack and stroke and is no longer available in the US and a number of other countries.
"We showed that 1,800 mg per day of oral alpha-lipoic acid was effective in achieving significant weight loss in obese subjects," the study's authors said. "Differences in side effects from currently used anti-obesity drugs suggest that alpha-lipoic acid may be effective as an adjunctive medication for obesity."
Other reasons to consider alpha-lipoic acid
Alpha-lipoic acid has other beneficial effects for people struggling with obesity and diabetes:
(Am J Med 2011;124:85.e1-8)
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.