Alpha Lipoic Acid: What You Need to Know

Alpha Lipoic Acid and Weight Loss

­If you have a rat with a weight problem, ALA supplements might help get rid of some of that cheese you feed him. But if you're a human looking to slim down for bikini season, you should probably stick with your diet and exercise plan. At this point, ALA hasn't proven its effects on the human body.

Recent studies have shown ALAs can regulate metabolism and inhibit the metabolism of fat in the liver. Unfortunately, those findings are based on lab experiments involving cultured rat liver cells and skeletal muscles -- not bathing beauties [source: Treadwell]. So, there's no indication the same results would occur in humans.

One study conducted at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea, found that ALA decreases the activity of fuel sensors in rats, causing the rodents to eat less and expend more energy, resulting in "profound" weight loss [source: National Center for Biotechnology Information]. But until the same effect is observed in humans, there's probably no point in popping an ALA supplement to achieve weight loss.

The bottom line is further research is necessary concerning ALA's effects on humans in regard to its use for weight loss. In general, it's always best to use extreme caution when taking supplements. And if you do decide to incorporate ALA or any other supplement into your diet, be sure to share that information with your physician.

Next up, learn about ALA's effect on numbness and tingling, or peripheral neuropathy.