Alpha lipoic acid (lipoic acid), also known as thioctic acid is an antioxidant made in our bodies and found in many foods. Only limited amounts of lipoic acid are synthesized in our bodies. Unfortunately, only very low amounts are found in some food such as red meat, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, yeast, yams, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and rice bran. These low levels in the food do not adequately raise lipoic acid levels in the blood.

Alpha lipoic acid is naturally present in a portion of the cell called the mitochondria and serves as a cofactor for cell metabolism that produces ATP, the energy that cells need for appropriate function and survival. This process turns food we eat in the form of sugars, proteins and fats into this usable cellular energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Alpha lipoic acid also acts as a potent antioxidant.


Alpha lipoic acid also regenerates other antioxidants. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical it becomes oxidized and unable to neutralize additional ROS until It has been reduced. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful reducing agent and able to regenerate several important antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10.

Activation of antioxidant signaling pathways

Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants in our body. Unfortunately, our levels of glutathione decrease with age. Alpha lipoic acid increases glutathione levels through 2 mechanisms. ALA increases the expression of the rate limiting enzyme in glutathione production, γ-glutamylcysteine ligase (γ-GCL). ALA also increases the uptake of an amino acid required for glutathione synthesis, cysteine.

ALA also stimulates a key regulator in antioxidant production, NRF2. NRF2 is called a transcription factor and goes to the nucleus of the cell where is bind to a region of genes coding for antioxidant enzymes. This leads to production of several critical antioxidants.

Other cell functions

NF-kB is a key regulator in inflammatory mediators. Alpha lipoic acid inhibits a critical enzyme which activates NF-kB and promotes translocation to the nucleus. This leads to a decrease activation of NF-kB and subsequently less inflammatory signaling from the cell.

Increased mitochondrial biogenesis

Mitochondrial function is critical to cell survival and function, however there is a decline in mitochondrial number and function with age. Alpha lipoic acid provides improved mitochondrial synthesis however this is greater when combined with another product in NeuroGen called Acetyl l carnitine to provide a synergistic effect which is greater than any separate ingredient.

Types of Alpha lipoic acid

Lipoic acid comes in tow mirror image forms which are labeled ”R” and “S”. Inexpensive manufacturing produces equal quantities of both R and S lipoic acid. However, the R form is the main form that s produced and used for the various critical metabolic functions. The R form is significantly more potent and provides twice the active ingredients as the typical R/S supplement forms.

Clinical Studies


Peripheral neuropathy can affect up to 50% of patients with diabetes. Many studies using Alpha lipoic acid has demonstrated a significant benefit for patients with diabetic neuropathy. These benefits include improved nerve function based on nerve conduction studies, decreased symptoms such as less numbness and weakness and improved overall function. An initial study evaluating alpha lipoic acid on symptoms and nerve function of patients with diabetic neuropathy demonstrated 77% of patients improved and 20% had complete resolution of all symptoms.1 Since those earlier studies there have been many more sophisticated studies evaluating Alpha lipoic acid and neuropathy.2 The highest level of scientific research (double blind randomized controlled studies) has demonstrated symptoms of neuropathy can be improved in as little as 5 weeks of treatment with alpha lipoic acid.3Other research analyzing all the data on alpha lipoic acid for neuropathy

demonstrate effectiveness when given for at least 3 weeks at the recommended therapeutic dose of 600mg/day.4

For people suffering with diabetic neuropathy there are additional benefits. Glucose transporters (GLUT4) are necessary to increase cellular uptake of glucose. Alpha lipoic acid increases GLUT4 translocation to the cell membrane and subsequently lead to increased glucose uptake in cells. Alpha lipoic acid has demonstrated an ability to lower fasting blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and blood HbA1c concentration which is a marker for glycemic control.5

Nerve Crush Conditions (eg carpal tunnel syndrome)

Preclinical data using models of crush injury have shown alpha lipoic acid significantly accelerates nerve healing after crush injuries. This improvement includes not only nerve regeneration but also nerve function based on nerve studies and increased antioxidant status.6–8

Clinical data involving patients with carpal tunnel syndrome have also shown improvement using alpha lipoic acid either alone or in combination with other supplements. Alpha lipoic acid was given to patients with mild-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome for 60 days with an improvement in symptoms and function as well as decreased pain both at night and during the day.9 These results appear to be further improved when alpha lipoic acid is combined with other key ingredients such acetyl l carnitine, curcumin, bromelain and vitamin B12. Several studies have demonstrated improvement in symptoms, function and improved nerve function with a decreased need for surgical release when using combined formulas to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.10–12

Alpha lipoic acid has also been used to improve surgical outcomes when carpal tunnel release is indicated. When taken before surgery and continued for another month after surgery patients have demonstrated significant improvement with decreased symptoms and improved nerve functions compared to a group who did not take the supplement.13,14 Patients have also noticed less pain in the palm which allows a quicker recovery of strength.15

Pain Conditions

Alpha lipoic acid was evaluated for treatment of low back pain using both the regular form and the more effective R form.16 There was improvement in neuropathic symptoms, sleep improvement and reduction in pain medications in both groups, however there was a significant difference with better improvement in the R form group. For example, neuropathic score was improved by 40 % in the regular group and 54% in the R form group. Reduction in pain medications was reduced by 58% in the regular group and 72% in the R form group. Alpha lipoic acid has also been evaluated in pain conditions with an unknown origin. These conditions included general joint pain or muscle pain. There was an 89% improvement in pain after 2 months of treatment.11,17


NeuroGen® Nerve Support Supplement was developed by a peripheral nerve surgeon to provide this key ingredient at therapeutic doses, which have been demonstrated in these studies to improve nerve function and decrease symptoms of nerve pain. NeuroGen® also contains many other key ingredients which work synergistically with alpha lipoic acid. It has been shown in numerous studies that the combined effect of using key ingredients together is greater than the individual results from the specific ingredients by themselves. NeuroGen® has already been used to treat patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, and it now has two publications which detail the significant benefit to patients having undergone carpal tunnel release surgery. Patients who take NeuroGen® for 5 days before surgery and then complete the bottle for another 3 weeks after surgery demonstrate increased grip strength, less palm (pillar) pain, and significant improvement in symptom relief and increased function. NeuroGen® has also been used by patients with neuropathy and other pain conditions to normalize nerve function and decrease symptoms and improve function.


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