Lipoic acid, also called alpha-lipoic acid, is a natural treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Lipoic acid is a remarkable antioxidant that can work together with antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in the body to protect tissues from damage by free radicals (oxidative stress).
Researchers have studied the effects of lipoic acid for extended periods of time and found that a total daily dose of 600 mg per day markedly lessened the chronic pain from nerve damage that many diabetics experience as a complication of their condition. One study even found that when diabetics whose neuropathy pain was relieved with lipoic acid were switched over to one or more common conventional drugs for the pain problem (such as gabapentin or Neurotonin), the pain returned within 2 weeks in 3/4 of the diabetics.
In other words, alpha-lipoic acid is an effective treatment for pain relief from chronic diabetic neuropathy, and it appears better than mainstream pain medications in its effects. The side effects and costs of lipoic acid are also lower than with drugs.
Diabetics who want to try lipoic acid should be aware that one of its most common side effects is nausea and sometimes vomiting. A way to deal with that is to start with a much lower dose, divided during the day and taken with food.
Some people find that dispersing the lipoic acid in a nutrient-rich drink of protein powder and low glycemic fruits will also reduce the nausea side effect. The idea is to keep the capsules from dissolving all at once in one place in the stomach, especially since many diabetics also have slowed emptying of the stomach. Foods and supplements may stay in the stomach much longer than in a non-diabetic person.
Lowering of blood sugar levels
An additional major benefit of lipoic acid is that it can lower blood sugar in diabetics, thus reducing the requirements for insulin and oral hypoglycemic drugs as well. This lowering of blood sugar naturally from the antioxidant’s effects can be quite strong — so, as with any natural supplement, anyone taking a drug to lower blood sugar should monitor their blood sugar closely and work with their doctor to lower their medications gradually as needed.
If you are unsure what your normal blood sugar level should be you can read more in following article on what is normal blood sugar level?
In summary, lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy works well. The long term benefits of this natural treatment for diabetes go beyond those of drugs, and the the costs and side effects are lower. The “R” form of lipoic acid is the best, as it is the most biologically active. If you are a diabetic with peripheral neuropathy or nerve pain, lipoic acid may be a nutritional strategy to help you live a more normal and comfortable life with diabetes.