How can alpha-lipoic acid supplements help people with diabetes?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage in the body. ALA also may have a modest effect on neuropathy, the nerve pain associated with diabetes. Neuropathy pain theoretically occurs when blood glucose levels are uncontrolled for many years, which can lead to cell damage. Studies suggest 600 mg of ALA per day could reduce neuropathy pain up to 50% in as little as 3 to 6 weeks.

Although this supplement may be useful for helping neuropathy pain associated with diabetes, it has not had a major impact in this area. It is important to discuss the use of FDA-approved medications for neuropathy, as well as all supplements such as ALA, with your caregiver before taking anything that is sold over the counter.

This content originally appeared in the Taking Control of Your Diabetes newsletter on

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.