Alpha Lipoic Acid
Introduction / Definition of Alpha Lipoic Acid
alpha-lipoic acid is a sulfur-containing fatty acid, produced by the human body to a lesser extent even for the most part and receives the diet. The substance plays a role as a coenzyme in many metabolic processes and in the defence against free radicals in the body.
Due to the acid defence function alpha-lipoic is counted to the group of antioxidants. In medicine, the substance found use in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy, a peripheral nerve disorder in which there may be sensibility and sensory disturbances as burning, tingling and numbness.
Action of alpha-lipoic acid
Without adequate therapy Diabetes mellitus is a permanently high-elevated glucose level in the blood. Long-term consequential damage of this condition include narrowing of large and small blood vessels, which can lead to circulatory disorders and organ damage. One speaks of macro- and microangiopathy.
The polyneuropathy is named among the microangiopathies because small nerve caring blood vessels are affected. The circulatory disorder leads to degradation and destruction of the nerve fibers, this is accompanied by increased production of free oxygen radicals. These radicals have a detrimental effect on cell membranes and DNA, promote cellular aging, carcinogenesis and progression of chronic diseases.
alpha-lipoic acid can bind these free radicals as an antioxidant and increase the concentration of endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione, the function of the nerve fibers can be obtained. In addition, alpha-lipoic acid results in improved blood supply to the nerves.
Application of Alpha Lipoic Acid
alpha-lipoic acid is a pharmacy prescription medicine. It is available in capsule form or as a film-coated tablet in doses 200, 300 and 600 mg. In particularly severe diabetic polyneuropathy also a solution for injection or infusion solution can be applied to bring the drug directly into the bloodstream. Here, the dosage is 300 to 600 mg.
In general, the daily dose is 1 tablet prescribed by the physician. The tablet should be swallowed whole with plenty of liquid. It should be noted, take alpha-lipoic acid on an empty stomach about 30 minutes prior to food intake otherwise, the rapid transfer may be impeded in the bloodstream. The nerve damage by the Diabetes Mellitus represents a chronic process, therefore lifelong treatment with the drug may be unavoidable.
Contraindications of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Pregnant and nursing mothers should take alpha-lipoic acid only at the express recommendation and under strict control of the doctor. Children and adolescents should not be treated with alpha-lipoic acid, since no sufficient study results are available. If there is an allergy to alpha-lipoic acid or any of the other ingredients of the medication, such as the colorant sunset yellow FCF (E110), from treatment should be waived.
Interactions with other drugs
If alpha-lipoic acid taken with the cancer drug Cisplatin, this can lead to a loss of the effect of cisplatin. Iron and magnesium preparations and milk (high calcium content) should not be taken together with alpha-lipoic acid as the active ingredient like to enters metal compounds (so-called metal chelator) and the effect may be weaken.
Medicines for diabetes (insulin or other oral antidiabetic drugs) can be mutually reinforcing in their effect by additional revenues of alpha-lipoic acid. This poses the risk of hypoglycaemia. Concomitant treatment of the blood sugar should be strictly controlled and a doctor will be informed if there are signs of hypoglycaemia, which then may need to reduce the dose of the antidiabetic drug.
Alcohol should be avoid because it may adversely affect the course of diabetic polyneuropathy and complicate a successful therapy with alpha-lipoic acid.