At Community Pharmacy, we recommend alpha lipoic acid (ALA) to help with peripheral neuropathy. It has been used for this in Europe for almost thirty years. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant found in every cell of the body. This antioxidant effect protects the cells, organs and tissues of the body from “free radical” damage. Free radicals are produced as waste products in the body. It is thought that by protecting the nerves and cells from these damaging chemicals that alpha lipoic acid may help with neuropathy (nerve damage). Alpha lipoic acid also helps to turn blood sugar into energy.
Peripheral nerve degeneration, also known as peripheral neuropathy or diabetic neuropathy, is the name for nerve damage caused by diabetes, circulation problems and certain medications, among other things. It usually affects the peripheral (distant) nerves especially in the feet, hands and legs. The symptoms are numbness, tingling (pins and needles), and pain. Sometimes the pain is so severe it can affect walking because this puts more pressure on the painful nerves.
The best dose for alpha lipoic acid is between 600mg and 1200mg per day in divided doses. Be sure to buy a quality brand as there are many poorer quality brands that do not guarantee the amount of alpha lipoic acid in their products.
Alpha lipoic acid may lower blood sugar levels, but has few other drug interactions. Always check with your health care provider when you are adding alpha lipoic acid to your medications. Side effects are rare but may include insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea and skin rash.
Edited by Flormaria Erazo Zurita