Available in doses between 30 and 100 mg, you can order ALA tablets or capsules online or buy them at health food stores. It is recommended that ALA supplements be taken on an empty stomach. However, no one has established a safe and effective dosage, and the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements does not have a fact sheet on ALA., so you should consult your doctor before adding it to your daily regimen [source: Office of Dietary Supplements, Higdon].
Alpha Lipoic Acid at Work in Your Body
ALA is a fatty acid both produced by the body and absorbed from the foods you eat. When it binds to certain proteins, ALA plays an important role in our metabolism -- namely the Krebs cycle, the body's main process for converting carbohydrates into energy. And unlike other antioxidants, ALA is both water and fat soluble, enabling it to work throughout the body. That's why it's found in varying concentrations in all your muscles and internal organs [source: Larsen].
Your body typically produces enough ALA for its role in creating energy. But when there's an excess in your system, ALA does not bind to protein and acts as an antioxidant. When in this "free" state, ALA deactivates a wide variety of free radicals, such as heavy metals, circulating through your body. It may also help regenerate other antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E to fight more free radicals [source: Berkeley Wellness Letter].
Because we produce less ALA as we age, some researchers believe that taking a supplement may help slow the aging process. ALA, combined with acetyl-L-carnitine, has been touted as an anti-aging and vitality supplement [source: National Toxicology Program]. To learn more about the benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid, read on.