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alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that's in many foods, and it's made naturally in our bodies. There is a strong evidence that alpha-lipoic acid supplements help with type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that they can improve insulin resistance. Studies also found that alpha-lipoic acid supplements can help with neuropathy -- nerve damage -- caused by diabetes or cancer treatment. They seem to reduce symptoms like pain, tingling, and prickling in the feet and legs. It may also help protect the retina from some of the damage that can occur in people with diabetes.
There's some early evidence that long-term use of alpha-lipoic acid might help with the symptoms of dementia. Although these uses are promising, diabetes and cancer obviously need proper medical treatment. So don't treat yourself on your own with supplements.
Given the lack of evidence about its safety, alpha-lipoic acid is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Many foods contain alpha-lipoic acid in very low amounts. They include spinach, broccoli, yams, potatoes, yeast, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and rice bran. Red meat -- and particularly organ meat -- is also a source of alpha-lipoic acid.
There are side-effects, risks and interactions associated with usage of alpha-lipoic acid.
Because alpha-lipoic acid is an unproven treatment, there is no established dose.
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