Alpha Lipoic Acid is a naturally occurring compound that our bodies make in small amounts.  It is an antioxidant.
What is an antioxidant?  Antioxidants get rid of cell debris.  Cell debris causes aging, cancer and, among other
things, nerve deterioration.  Oxidative stress (an increase in oxidants or a reduction in anti-oxidants) is thought to
cause diabetic neuropathy.  When an apple turns brown or when iron rusts, it is because of oxidative stress.  You
know that both are caused by  exposure to air.  Oxygen has an extra electron that wants a mate.  It’s not very
particular-it is just floating around trying to find a mate for that extra electron (its free radical).  When it pairs up
with some things, it causes damage - like browning to an apple exposed to air or rusting to an iron rod exposed to
air.  In our bodies,
antioxidants go around and get rid of those floating, free radicals.
IS IT SAFE?

Alpha-lipoic acid is safe.  There has never been any reports of
toxicity from overdose of alpha-lipoic acid, however, there
haven't been studies done with pregnant and lactating women so
their use of alpha-lipoic acid supplements is not recommended.


RESEARCH

Although I have read many articles on alpha-lipoic acid, the most
comprehensive and best documented website I have found is
Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient
Information Center.  Please consult their webpage for more
information.
 
Free radical portrayal (for
visualization use) is not
actual size.
Please note that all of the studies talk in terms of months.  Be patient.  It was four months before I felt any
improvement in my peripheral neuropathy.  My nerve damage was three years old. The older the area of my nerve
damage, the slower my improvement.
OTHER BENEFITS OF ALA

Alpha-lipoic acid along with acetyl-L-carnitine have shown to be excellent anti-aging compounds. In the January
17, 2005 edition of Newsweek, Bruce Ames stated that "combination of chemicals had improved the function of
mitochondria (organelles that serve as a cell's main energy source)."  His research has also shown that rats fed
the combination of ALA and acetyl-L-carnitine "perform better on problem-solving and memory tests."
(12)
Notice that Bruce Ames only studied the combination of compounds on rats.  His research was signifigant enough
though to be recognized in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002 as well as in Newsweek in 2005.  
But, does it work on people?
In
My Story I mention in the second paragraph that three months after starting the ALA therapy, I improved greatly
in my mental faculties.  MS often affects the brain but it is usually not mentioned much.  It's just embarrassing!  My
IQ upon subsequent testing was just one point less than when I took the test as a teenager.  I really wish I'd taken
the IQ test before the ALA therapy as a measure of comparison.  However, that was not an effect that I had even
anticipated!  In fact, I didn't even know how much of my mental faculties I had lost until I got my mental faculties
back.  Before the ALA therapy I couldn't figure out how to create a website even though I had done computer
programming just a few years earlier.  
The improvement in my mental faculties was something I was reticent to talk about because I had seen no
research to explain it or back it up.  Bruce Ames' research however, verified that ALA does positively affect the
brain.  If it hadn't worked that well for me, I guarantee that I would not be doing this website nor going back to
college to get my Masters in Information Sciences.
WHERE TO BUY

The FDA doesn't regulate dietary supplements so I just went by price.  Also, since 1,200
mg/day is a lot of Alpha-Lipoic Acid to take every day, I like to get the 300 mg or 600 mg
capsules.  I get tired of swallowing pills so, for me,  one 300 mg capsule four times a day is
easier than three 100 mg capsules four times a day.  Or better yet two 600 mg capsules two
times a day is fine too. There's even a time-released version that might be handier for you
but it is more expensive. Do whatever you want to fit with your existing medication schedule
as long as you get 1,200 mg a day.

I'm not endorsing one brand over another either. I've used the cheapest ones I could find
for my therapy so price doesn't necessarily indicate quality.   Use whatever you feel
comfortable with.  Just use them please, for at least six months and hopefully you'll get some
improvement too. It has taken me years though to get rid of the pain. Naturally, that's the last
to go.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
(ALA)
Information that is provided in this site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians.