Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Posted by Terri on 8/09/04 at 20:41 (157322)

Has anyone heard of this being used in place of Neurontin? A friend of mine went to a shoe store I recommended to her and the C-Peds (brothers) that own the store mentioned this to her. I've been off my Neurontin for over a month now and lost all the ground I had gained. I have bilateral TTS with one failed surgery behind me on the right foot and just cannot function on Neurontin, even on the lowest doses.

Thought I'd try this but wanted to ask the dr's here if this has ever been used successfully before. What would be the correct dosage to take? I found an excerpt from a book on Amazon.com written by Burt Berkson, M.D. and he seems to tout this as a cure-all for everything from acne to Parkinson's Disease. That just raises my radar. Feedback please?

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Dorothy on 8/09/04 at 20:52 (157325)

Not a Doctor responding with a suggestion: Google it for a start. There's a lot of information 'out there' about ALA. Don't know Burt Berkson, but many are writing/speaking about this.

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Terri on 8/09/04 at 21:11 (157329)

Found this, Dorothy:

'The body routinely converts some alpha-lipoic acid to dihydrolipoic acid, which appears to be an even more powerful antioxidant. Both forms of lipoic acid quench peroxynitrite radicals, an especially dangerous type consisting of both oxygen and nitrogen, according to a recent paper in FEBS Letters (Whiteman M, et al., FEBS Letters, 1996; 379:74-6). Peroxynitrite radicals play a role in the development of atherosclerosis, lung disease, chronic inflammation, and neurological disorders'

Hmmmm.....I can see where it may help with neuropathy or diseases like MS, but how would it relate to TTS where the nerves are compressed?

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Dorothy on 8/10/04 at 01:50 (157345)

Not a Doctor, but: http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances_view/1,1525,10002,00.html

From that site:
Treat symptoms of nerve damage in people with diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for decades in Europe to counter nerve damage in people with diabetes (types 1 and 2). Known as diabetic neuropathy, this often very painful condition tends to develop in people who have had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time. The neuropathy may be caused in part by free-radical damage to nerves resulting from poorly regulated blood sugar (glucose). As an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid helps to block such damage. In addition, because of its effect on glucose metabolism, lipoic acid my improve the glucose-lowering action of insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar).
In one clinical trial, 328 people with diabetic neuropathy received either 100 mg, 600 mg, or 1,200 mg a day of alpha-lipoic acid for three weeks. Participants who took 600 mg daily had the greatest reduction in pain and numbness. And in a separate study, blood sugar levels dropped in 74 people with type 2 diabetes who took 600 mg or more of alpha-lipoic acid daily.

Alpha-lipoic acid may also aid the large percentage (approximately 25%) of people with diabetes who risk sudden death from nerve-related heart damage. In one study, improved heart function was observed in people at risk for this complication who took 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily for four months.

*** I can't answer your question because 1. I don't know and 2. I am not a doctor. - but it's an interesting question.

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Ed Davis, DPM on 8/10/04 at 14:18 (157402)

Alpha-lipoic acid is MAINSTREAM medicine for diabetic neuropathy in Germany. They use it IV and orally. Most German studies recommend 800 mg.
That would be appropriate for a 70 kg. (150 lb.) individual.

Side note: I cannot confirm this but alpha lipoic acid that is imported from China is about 70% pure. If you are getting an 'off brand' at a substantial discount, assume that you may be at the 70% level which means one needs to increase the dose accordingly. Very few, if any, side effects exist. Alpha lipoic acid, at 3 g. (3000 mg. per day may deplete biotin so people at that level need biotin supplements -- there is little reason to be a that level though).

Based on my experience, if I was a diabetic and only took one supplement, it would be alpha lipoic acid. For some reason, it appears to be the most protective substance we have from the neurologic effects of diabetes.

I have a number of patients who have substantially reduced their Neurontin dose after being on alpha lipoic acid for a few weeks.

If you want more information about supplements, look for German Commission E monographs. That organization has very good information as to what works and what does not. I wish the US had an equivalent to Commission E.

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Terri on 8/10/04 at 18:49 (157435)

Thanks Dorothy and Dr. Ed for responding. I don't have diabetes, but maybe I'll give this a shot anyway and just see what happens. I bought the highest dosage GNC carried, 250mg, and will take 1 twice/day. Let's see what happens after about 3 weeks. I'll let you know if I feel any improvement.

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Ed Davis, DPM on 8/10/04 at 19:02 (157441)

250 mg. twice a day only gives you 500 mg. You need (I don't know your weight) at least 750 mg. but preferrably 1000 mg. (4 per day). You can always cut the amount back later. My concern is that if you start too low, you will not get the desired effect and may conclude that it is not helping.

Re: Alpha Lipoic acid supplements

Terri on 8/12/04 at 19:22 (157719)

Thanks for the update Dr. Ed. I weigh 127 right now and small-framed. I'll start adding a 3rd pill today.