Alpha-lipoic acid completely prevents atherosclerosis in mice

An article published in the August, 2006 issue of the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes reported the findings of Xianwen Yi and Nobuyo Maeda of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that giving alpha-lipoic acid to mice in whom diabetes was induced prevented the increase in cholesterol, atherosclerotic lesions and health deterioration that the disease would otherwise cause. Alpha-lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant nutrient that has been used to treat diabetic neuropathy, however, its effects in diabetic cardiovascular disease have not been completely evaluated.

Drs Yi and Maeda, who are with UNC’s department of pathology and laboratory medicine, induced diabetes in a group of three-month-old apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by administering streptozotocin (STZ), while a control group was injected with a buffering solution. After four weeks on a regular diet, diabetic and nondiabetic mice were given a high fat diet enhanced with alpha-lipoic acid or the same diet without alpha-lipoic acid. Body weight, plasma glucose and cholesterol levels were determined at the beginning of the study and every four weeks thereafter up to twenty weeks. Red blood cell glutathione levels and oxidative stress markers were measured at the end of the study, at which time the animals were examined for the development of atherosclerotic plaque and for the treatment’s effect on pancreatic beta cells.

After twenty weeks, both diabetic and nondiabetic animals supplemented with alpha-lipoic acid had lower markers of oxidative stress and higher levels of red blood cell glutathione compared to mice that did not receive the compound. While many of the diabetic mice who did not receive alpha-lipoic acid began to show signs of lethargy and illness three months of the induction of the disease, all of the diabetic mice who received alpha-lipoic acid appeared healthy throughout the study period. “Remarkably,” the authors write, “alpha-lipoic acid completely prevented the increase in plasma total cholesterol, atherosclerotic lesions, and the general deterioration of health caused by diabetes.”

While the initial elevation in glucose levels that occurred after diabetes was induced gradually decreased in both mice who received and did not receive alpha-lipoic acid, glucose levels at 20 weeks were lower in the supplemented mice. The researchers attribute this to partial protection or regeneration of the beta cells in the pancreas by alpha-lipoic acid, due to the finding that mice who received the compound had a greater number of insulin-producing cells.

“In summary, our study demonstrates that dietary supplementation of alpha-lipoic acid for 20 weeks completely protects apoplipoprotein E-negative mice from enhancement of aortic atherosclerosis caused by STZ-induced diabetes,” the authors conclude. “Our results suggest that dietary alpha-lipoic acid is a promising agent for reducing cardiovascular complications of diabetes.”

Source:  University of North Carolina


7 thoughts on “Alpha-lipoic acid completely prevents atherosclerosis in mice

  1. Pingback: Alpha-lipoic acid may prevent atherosclerosis in diabetics at Fresh. Healthy. Useful.

  2. bernard

    the best form is the ”r” form. a mix of rala and dhala is even better. ala also regenerates vitamins a,c,e, also coq10 and glutathione. taken with ”alcar” its ”all that”.

    ill post a link soon. if i dont …remind me.

  3. Pingback: Renegade Neurologist - A Blog by David Perlmutter, MD, FACN » Blog Archive » Alpha-lipoic acid completely prevents atherosclerosis in mice

  4. I belong to a diabetic group that meet each Friday in the VA Hospital located at West alm Beach Florida. The group consist of only Veterans ranging from the age of 45 to 85 years of age and each of us are diabetics among other problems.

    I have been sharing information about natural alpha herbs and the damage the man made syn.drugs are creating damage to their brain, liver and other serious affects of all the chemicals we place inside our bodies.

    If we continue allowig the liver damage the syn. drugs cause and
    should we not start consuming the proper natural herbs, minerials, proper food and care about our health our days will very well become shorter.I tell them that we all have became a liability to the U.S. Government and we have become non-productive to the USA Commerce. however we have become a liability.

    I love reading your articals pertaining to the Alpha Lipoic Acid and please understand the seriousness I feel about this issue.
    What disturbs me most is the majority of humans become complacent with taking medicine to only make it through the day, not seeking perminant cure and becomming whole again.

    I need to know your opinion on the amount diabetics should consume each day of the Lipoic Acid, Milk Thistle, for the liver, and the Soy Extract.

    I am very discusted in hearing doubt, however I understand why the average person has been mislead often by people with ulterior motives, and they have become very leary.

    If you would I and other veterans will appreciate you very mush for your sincere advice and help.

    When these Veterans begin getting better they will share their wisdom with others.

    Sincerely yours

    Jamnes RL Ward

  5. I have just read this article about Alpha Lipoic Acid. I had never heard of the stuff before. I suffer from a severe case of diabetic neuropathy in my legs. I would be interested in knowing if this medicine should be used as a treatment for this disease and if so in what quantities. Any information would be appreciated.

  6. Neil Shotton

    I am a type I diabetic and have been taking alpha lipoic acid for the last 15 years. I believe it has been a godsend. I would suggest you use the time release version, which is fairly new. 1200 to 1800 mg per day as a diabetic, half in the morning and half at night. The two sources are;
    Jarrow’s Alpha Lipoic Sustain 300

    Also, you should consider benfotiamine for neuropathy. The lipoic acid is more preventive and you should certainly take it, but the benfotiamine might actually improve the neuropathy. 250 to 1000 mg per day as a diabetic with neuropathy. Go to ( and search for benfotiamine. they have the best for this amount , but be aware that LEF sells supplements and a lot of what they sell is of marginal benefit. I have used the benfotiamine with success re neuropathy.

    Finally, a very recent study showed that fish oil had a big impact on retinopathy. The wal-mart spring valley brand is good and inexpensive. I take 5 grams per day.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Crows

    Never,and I mean never take any fish oil supplements from “WALMART” no matter how damn cheap they are!!!

    These supplements are considered the trash of the trash….fish oil supplement “HAVE” to be molecularly distilled to remove mercury and dioxin which is inherent in fish oil..chances are the mercury level in your body is through the roof.That fishy after taste youre getting is where the oil has turned rancid prior to your ingestinig it…

    WALMART has always sold cheap chinese trash like poison in dog food and lipstick and their fish oil supplements are no different…

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