Peripheral neuropathy, otherwise known as neuropathy, is a medical condition that is characterized by pain and lack of sensation in both feet and hands. It is common among patients suffering from diabetes and HIV. It is also prevalent in alcohol abusers and people with diseases related to liver and kidney. Alpha lipoic acid occurs naturally in the body and it can be found in all cells of the body. It is an antioxidant that fights off free radicals that are produced when the body burns food to produce energy. Free radicals are unstable electrons that attack the immune system and cause severe damage to the cells and molecules to obtain stability. Researches indicate that ALA may be used to treat peripheral neuropathy and other nerve problems. Alpha lipoic acid has been used for treatment of neuropathy in Germany for many years. It helps reduce pain, tingling and other symptoms related to this disease. Unlike other antioxidants that either work in fatty environments or in water, ALA is chemically designed to work in all conditions. This acid also has the power to regenerate other antioxidants. This is beneficial to a person whose body is unable to produce these antioxidants.
It is a fact that some nerve diseases are caused by free radicals. Due to its ability to dissolve in both fat and water, ALA can easily penetrate the affected cells and shield them from the harmful toxins. Evidences show that intravenous lipoic acid can ease symptoms related to neuropathy causes by diabetics. However, oral admission of lipoic supplement is ineffective. Other evidences indicate that alpha lipoic acid is more efficient when administered together with gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is also use for peripheral neuropathy treatment.
An experiment involving patients suffering from diabetes was carried out Half of the patients were put under lipoic acid treatment while the rest were under placebo. The results showed that patients who were given ALA medication showed a significant improvement, compared to those under placebo who did not show any signs of improvement at all. There were no side effects on the patients who used lipoic acid during the experiment. Furthermore, patients who took more of the acid showed better results compared to their counterparts who took slightly less of the medication. Despite having many advantages, lipoic acid has been known to have side effects. These supplements should only be used under the strict guidance of a qualified doctor.