Lipoic Acid

In researching the benefits of lipoic acid (while not having noticed anyone else's mention of it here), I found this reference to bone density preservation by lipoic acid, from Life Extension (

Preserving Bone Density

Another area in which lipoic acid holds promise is in averting the bone loss that accompanies osteoporosis and other degenerative bone conditions. This multifaceted agent may help preserve bone health by quelling the oxidative stress that threatens to degrade healthy bone density.

When applied to bone marrow cells and osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) in the laboratory, lipoic acid suppressed the formation of bone-degrading osteoclast cells in a dose-dependent fashion.19,20 It also reduced the process of inflammation-induced bone loss in both laboratory and living systems.19 Scientists believe that lipoic acid’s ability in preventing the loss of bone is linked to its inhibitory effects on pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 and the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha.20,21

These promising preliminary findings suggest a therapeutic role for lipoic acid in preventing and managing osteoporosis and other conditions that threaten bone density.

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21 replies. Join the discussion

What you do not mention is how much Lipoic acid would you need to take each day for it to do any good?

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HealthyFellow has some interesting links on the Alpha Lipoic Acid Question

In relation to bone here is a recent SMALL trial.
Oral supplementation with antioxidant agents containing alpha lipoic acid: effects on postmenopausal bone mass."These findings, although in a small population, could suggest that oral supplementation with antioxidant agents containing ALA may mitigate bone loss in osteopenic postmenopausal women."

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Intersting info, thanks.
I have the book The Alpha Lipoic Acid Breakthrough by Burt Berkson, written in 1998. He doesn't mention bones or osteoporosis in there, but I realise this is a more recent finding. Very interesting book though, maybe he will update it.
I have been taking the supplement regularly as my mercury levels were quite high (hair analysis) on the advice of my naturopath. So hopefully its doing some good to my bones too!

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Alpha Lipoic Acid is also used to treat heart disease as an anti oxidant in combination with Co Enzyme Q10 and L-Arginine. These cause the blood vessels to expand by generating more Nitric Oxide and making it last longer. Note that some research on use of nitroglycerine exists to expand blood flow to the bones as a treatment except that this is a drug and works only in narrow ranges. Therefore you might get more use out of combining the alpha lipoic acid with a set of other nutrients suggested by Dr Louis Ignarro in his book 'NO More Heart Disease' as useful for heart conditions.

There was research done in 1994 run with L-Arginine and L-lysine on some patients that had good, strong results but nobody has done a follow up to confirm them. Since Arginine is also involved in the formation of connective tissue which is often an issue with easily broken bones, it seems to be something that needs to be checked out.

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Thanks for your input, everyone. Good question as to the dose that would be effective for bone health... while I suspect that a standard dose of this substance increasingly recognized as a mitochondrial antioxidant would necessarily have some benefit to the bones. I'm currently taking R-Lipoic Acid--a more easily metabolized form--at the recommended dose of 100 mg daily.

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Lipoic acid is one of my supplements. The following links/studies/articles is what I have:

from this study Conclusion and recommendation: Alpha-lipoic acid improved the imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation, and therefore it is recommended to treat osteoporosis with a-lipoic acid.

"The supplemental LA significantly increased bone mineral density and bone antioxidant capacity"

"Antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid inhibits osteoclast differentiation ..."

"Alfa Lipoic Acid to reduce the bone resorption"

In this Bone Supplement OsteoStim
Alpha-Lipoic Acid is included, with the following info::
- An essential cofactor for mitochondrial (energy production) activity
- Powerful antioxidant, reduces ROS (free radicals), and protects us from oxidative damage
- Helps reduce the damaging effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines (Il1, Il6) and NF-kB and their ability to hyper-stimulate osteoclast activity that results in excessive bone loss.
- Prevents osteoclast formation. (Ha, 2006) (Koh,2005) (Kim, 2006)
- Inhibits NF-kB activation by RANKL in osteoclasts and reduces ROS signaling. (Kim, 2006)

An article - Bone Loss: How Lipoic Acid can Help

A bonus would be if Lipoic acid also can help me delay/slow down my "genes" for heart problems and dementia

I am not a medical doctor nor do I play one on the internet. My post is only reflecting my personal experiences, opinions and beliefs.

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Good thread - for those of us - and I believe there are a few who also have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism as well as OP - alpha lipoic acid has been shown in one small frequently cited study that it "interferes with the production of T3 from T4 when it is co-administered with T4." (If you are hypo or hyper you know what the T's are).

Alpha Lipoic Acid is also used in Germany as a frontline treatment for peripheral neuropathy which I have as result of a spinal fusion. When I took it I noticed a distinct decrease in symptoms. For those who can take it, I believe it is a very good supplement. I bought it from Designs for Health, their Stabilized R-Lipoic Acid Supreme, pricey but top quality. After much indecision I decided that I would not take this supplement but for those of you who can, it is an efficacious one. I regret not being able to continue. Study below for any of you who are hyper or hypo:

Segermann J, Hotze A, Ulrich H, Rao GS. Effect of alpha-lipoic acid on the peripheral conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine and on serum lipid-, protein- and glucose levels. Arzneimittelforschung 1991;41:1294-8.

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Thank you for that study SCW, I hadn't read that. I've seen him mentioned on Geronova's site where there is lots of research info. Regarding the possible side effect; symptoms of hypothyroidism, when taking Lipoic acid especially at higher doses, I found this page where they talk more about that.

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Thanks so much for that cautionary info, Lela and SCW. I'll now watch and fine-tune my own program as needed!

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Lela52 - Wow - you are so good at digging up good stuff, researching, and confirming vague references! I have constantly read vague references to lipoic acid being contraindicated with thyroid and the only study I could ever find was this one with rats. Your links confirm what I have been reading even on WedMD (no lipoic if thyroid hypo or hyper) which references again this same one rat study.

HOWEVER, all my life my thyroid has been normal. Then I began taking two supplements L-Carnitine and Lipoic Acid and it seemed that after several months taking both that I began to go hypothyroid on lab tests. L-Carnitine is great supplement but it has been researched thoroughly on PubMed, MedLine, etc and it does affect the thyroid and is clearly contraindicated. So I stopped L-Carnitine but continued Lipoic Acid despite this one rat study and now I am on Synthroid and Cytomel for hypothyroidism. So supplements are not necessarily without side effects just because they are "natural".......and perhaps the same can be said about strontium? Who can say?

But in any event, any members here with OP who also have hypo or hyperthyroidism should never take these two supplements and I hope that I can wean myself off these two meds and it is not too late. Further, hypo meds Synthroid and Cytomel also cause OP so it is a double whammy. Two "natural" supplements causing, in my case I do believe, hypothyroidism which in turn necessitated prescription meds that cause further OP. Buyer beware! Many thanks....................

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Thank you SCW, I save a lot of links :-) and husband says I save a lot of other unnecessary "maybe useful later" things too :-(
This saved page is only for people with humor, L-carnitine is mentioned there.
So L-Carnitine can have the same Hypothyroid side effect as Lipoic acid ?? Not good. I take both. Trying to delay a vascular dementia that I'm afraid I will get since my mother had that, and my farther died of sudden heart attach at age 62 ...
My thyroid test result, (TSH) was fine before I started but I will certainly check again next time I take tests. Can I ask the name of the tests you did that showed you began to go hypothyroid? And do you have a reference to that L-Carnitine side effect ? Thanks /Lela

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Thyroid meds--my understanding--will cause bone loss if they are over-treating the problem and bringing you up to a hyper-thyroid condition. It's hyperthyroidism that's the danger to bone density. That's why it's important to have the TSH blood test done frequently as you might perceive the need or question the need. Soy foods (unfermented) and raw cruciferous veggies tend to depress thyroid function. Coconut products, and eggs, will boost it...
One of the original triggers of my low thyroid was apparently the soy isoflavone supplement I took during years of having menopausal hot flashes. With one ovary removed at age 36, I went through a long menopause. The soy supplement was quite effective at reducing the hot flashes. Two years ago, I went off gluten, and learned three months later that the autoimmune thyroid condition (hashimoto's) was cured, apparently as a result of that, while my thyroid still has somewhat inadequate function....probably from an excess of dental mercury and x-ray exposures since early in life.

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hi, i didnt know about the correlation between T3 dysfunction and l-carnitine, or alpha lipoic acid,

l-carnitine seems to be a popular fad recently with loosing weight. wonder for those whose weight issues revolve around thyroid issues/gluten issues if it could possibly be doing more harm than good.?

a lot of people supplement with the higher doses 600mg of ALA to help with pain, such as neuropathic degenerative issues like from diabetes and it seems to be very helpful,....

on a separate note, has anyone noticed that their pee smells funny from ALA? something like after eating asparagus? i cant find anything anywhere about that side effect, but i have taken ALA at lower doses like 60mg, 120mg, and because of that funny smell i stopped taking it thinking maybe thats a sign it may not be good for me.??? anyone have similar effect?

@maryed, hi, i was wondering about what you wrote about isoflavonoids and your thyroid issues, and that even though it possibly created a thyroid issue for you, it was very effective with hot flashes??
did i read that correctly?

im curious as im having hot flashes and the dr want to put me on hormone, estrogen....and i read about gentian, is that what you were taking?

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Thank you for the link to that study, Lela. But it's good to see that only some people are affected that way. I've been taking ALA for some time now and my thyroid levels seem just fine. So hopefully i'm one of those that it doesn't effect. Always good to know about it though.

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Hi, faylou...maybe there are new things recommended for hot flashes but, yes, soy isoflavones (in capsules) were very effective for me. If you choose to eat any soy, be sure it's non-GMO. If you choose to go with soy, maybe you could balance it out in terms of thyroid health by also eating coconut and eggs.

Here's a list of supps Dr. Weil recommends:

Try the following natural remedies and herbs for menopause:
•Soy foods. The isoflavones in soy foods help balance hormone levels and have some estrogenic activity. There is ongoing research about the safety and efficacy of isolated soy isoflavone supplements. While the initial results look promising, we currently recommend using natural soy foods rather than supplements. Choose from tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.
•Flaxseed. Substances called lignins in flaxseed are important modulators of hormone metabolism. Grind flaxseed daily in a coffee grinder at home and use 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.
•Dong quai. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is known both in China and the West for its ability to support and maintain the natural balance of female hormones. It does not have estrogenic activity. This is one of the herbs for menopause that should not be taken if a woman is experiencing heavy bleeding.
•Black cohosh (Cumicifuga racemosa). One of the best-studied traditional herbs for menopause, black cohosh is used to help alleviate some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes. Black cohosh seems to work by supporting and maintaining hormonal levels, which may lessen the severity of hot flashes. Many women report that the herb works well but it isn't effective for everyone. While any therapy that influences hormonal actions should be a concern, black cohosh does not appear to have estrogenic activity and thus may be safe for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.
•Vitamin E. A daily dose of 400 IUs of natural vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) can help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes in some menopausal women.
•B vitamins. This group of water-soluble vitamins may help women deal with the stress of menopausal symptoms.
•Evening primrose oil or black currant oil. These are sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that can help influence prostaglandin synthesis and help moderate menopausal symptoms.

While we went off-topic a bit with this, I think we need to consider the bone-density issue as a part of our whole health picture.

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thanks for sharing all that info,
i agree a bit off topic but it ties into bone health, thats why i was wondering if the soy product you took was gentian which is made from soy and is supposed to help with bone health?

(i have links, ill look them up later and poste).

personally im scared to take soy products, i used to eat a lot of tofu, and tempeh and edamame, soy milk, now i dont go near the stuff, espc with all the GMO's etc...

i was taking agnus castus which had helped me a lot with hormone pms issues, but now im into that hot flash stage/irregular monthlies, (not so monthly anymore : ) im still staying away from the black cohosh, and soy, ill read more and reconsider

red (panax) ginseng is what helped my hot flashes last year, a year later and they are back, but the supplement i took is unavailable just now......

just wondering if you were not bothered that the soy created health problems for you, though it helped the hot flashes?

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On, it states that, in addition to possibly interfering with medicines that treat both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, alpha lipoic acid may also lower blood sugar, thus possibly requiring an adjustment to blood sugar medications. Therefore, it shouldn't just be taken without consulting with your doctor.

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Concerning the soy hot flashes and thyroid question--seems we're often having to pick our poisons, aren't we? Hard to say whether I'd do it differently...I seem to recall having one problem or another, maybe stomach affects, with other supplements for the hot flashes. I'd suggest that you not rule out the soy but try the dong quai and black cohosh first. And go with the other nutrients listed above as well.

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Faylou, I think you're referring to genistein (sp?) in soy. "Gentian"is something else, a bitters, good for the stomach

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thanks, my spellings never been good : )

anyway last post about soy! ary-supplement-tablets/ID=prod6109098-product

the first time i heard of genistein was as fosteum:

fosteum is a medical food, by prescription,

it is 200 iu of vitd, 27mg Genistein aglycone (from non-gmo soy), 20 mg citrated zinc bisglycinate, a glycine amino acid chelate of zinc formed in the presence of citric acid that provides approximately 4 mg of elemental zinc per capsule.

other ingredients: dicalcium malate, magnesium oxide, micro-crystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide in a capsule made from plant sources. FD&C Blue #2 is used for the imprint on the capsule

recommend 2x/day
here are other sites of interest about genistein istein.pdf

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