Alpha Lipoic Acid: What You Need to Know

Alpha Lipoic Acid Side Effects

­Research has shown that patients can take 300 to 600 milligrams of ALA a day with relatively few side effects, such as skin rashes, stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. However, the jury is still out on the long-term effects of taking ALA supplements. Anyone with pre-existing medical conditions should exercise caution. Children are not advised to take ALA. Pregnant and nursing women should consult their doctors before taking it.

Diabetics who take ALA must monitor their blood sugar levels carefully, because the supplements may lower blood glucose levels [source: National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine].

ALA may also lower levels of thyroid hormone and thyroid-regulating medications (Levothyroxine). Hormone levels should be monitored closely for those taking thyroid hormones and ALA supplements [source: University of Maryland Medical Center]. There is also concern that ALA might interfere with radiation therapy or chemotherapy by making the treatments less effective [source: American Cancer Society].

Unlike prescription drugs, supplements like ALA capsules don't have to be approved by the FDA before they are released on the market. Nor are they tested for their adverse affects when taken with other medication. In 2005, supplements accounted for almost 24,000 calls to U.S. poison control centers [source: American Cancer Society]. That's why it's always best to check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedy.

Read on to learn how ALA may help you lose weight.