Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid for PCOS

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?

It doesn’t get much attention, but alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that could offer numerous benefits to people with PCOS. Along with being an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid is also an enzyme cofactor found to be capable of producing energy and improving glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring organosulfur compound that is synthesized by plants and animals, including humans. Its beneficial effects have been shown both in the prevention and in the treatment of diabetes (it’s been shown to reduce symptoms of diabetic neuropathy). Its anti-inflammatory activity can help protect cells from oxidative stress.  Alpha-lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble and helps increase the activity of other antioxidants in the body.

Alpha lipoic acid has been found to play a role in activating the insulin signaling cascade. Newer research over the past several years have shown benefits of alpha lipoic acid for people with PCOS both for improving fertility and metabolic health. Here’s what to know about this mighty supplement.

Alpha Lipoic Acid and PCOS Studies

Numerous studies over the past few years have investigated the use of alpha lipoic acid among patients with PCOS.

A small group of women with PCOS showed significant improvements in insulin, glucose, and BMI after 12 weeks of supplementing with alpha lipoic acid (400 mg daily). Women who had family relatives with type 2 diabetes saw even greater reductions in triglycerides from taking alpha lipoic acid as well as improvements in fatty liver. No changes were found in regards to reproductive hormonal parameters such as LH, FSH, and androstenedione.

Many studies have compared the benefits of alpha lipoic acid with myo inositol in PCOS

The largest study compared 90 women with PCOS who took either myo inositol (1 gram), alpha lipoic acid (400mg), or a combination of the two, daily. The myo inositol group improved more hormonal profiles and insulin, alpha lipoic acid improved insulin and metabolic parameters, and the combined group (myo and alpha lipoic acid) improved both hormonal and metabolic aspects.

Alpha lipoic acid and myo inositol are safe for long term use. When studied in women with PCOS for 24 months, the combination dose of myo inositol and alpha lipoic acid (800 mg + 2000 mg per day) improved menstrual regularity and insulin levels with a high tolerability and safety.

An earlier study involving 40 women with PCOS who took both alpha lipoic acid and myo inositol for 6 months also showed the combination helped to restore the menstrual pattern and improved hormones such as AMH, androstenedione and DHEAS, and a reduction in BMI. No change in glucose, insulin or cholesterol were found.

When compared with just metformin alone, alpha-lipoic acid combined with myo-inositol and metformin showed significantly better improvements in hyperandrogenism, BMI and insulin.

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Alpha Lipoic Acid and Fertility

In regards to pregnancy, women with PCOS who took a combination of alpha lipoic acid and myo inositol for 3 months before undergoing an IVF cycle improved their reproductive outcomes and also their metabolic profiles. Supplementation of myo-inositol and alpha lipoic acid in PCOS patients reduced insulin levels, BMI and ovarian volume compared with myo-inositol alone, with the authors suggesting the combination treatment as a “potential for their use in long-term prevention of PCOS.”

Women with PCOS who underwent IVF and who took a combined regimen involving d-chiro inositol (500mg) and alpha lipoic acid (300mg) showed a higher number of mature oocytes (eggs), and higher number of fertilized oocytes.

 

Studied Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid for PCOS:

May reduce glucose and insulin

Could reduce testosterone

Can regulate periods

May improve success of IVF

May lower cholesterol and triglycerides

Could improve fatty liver

Reduces oxidative stress

berberine for PCOS

Berberine Plus with Alpha Lipoic Acid

Food Sources of Alpha Lipoic Acid

The human body makes alpha lipoic acid. It is also found in red meat, organ meats (such as liver), and yeast — particularly brewer’s yeast.

How much to take and safety

The recommended daily dose to see benefits of alpha lipoic acid for people with PCOS based on these studies, is 100 to 400 mg/day.

In general, high-dose lipoic acid administration has been found to have few serious side effects. There was no significant difference in the incidence of adverse events and serious adverse events in patients with diabetic neuropathy who took 600 mg/day of lipoic acid for four years compared to those in the placebo group. Alpha-lipoic acid hasn’t been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women, so researchers don’t know if it’s safe.

Alpha-lipoic acid can lower blood sugar levels. Alpha-lipoic acid may lower levels of thyroid hormone. The chemical structure of biotin is similar to that of lipoic acid, and there is some evidence that high concentrations of lipoic acid can compete with biotin for transport across cell membranes.

The PCOS Nutrition Center Berberine Plus contains Berberine plus Alpha Lipoic Acid. It’s available in our supplement store. 

Bottom Line

Alpha lipoic acid offers numerous benefits to people with PCOS including improvements to fertility and metabolic issues. Alpha lipoic acid, especially when combined with myo-inositol, has been shown to be a safe way to help lower insulin and glucose and help regulate menstrual cycles.

References

  • Genazzani AD. J Endocrinol Invest. 2018;41(5):583-590.
  • De Cicco S. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017;33(9):698-701.
  • Rago R. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2015;29(4):913-923.
  • Artini PG. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2020;1-5.
  • Haghighatdoost F. Eur J Pharmacol. 2019;847:1-10.
  • Fruzzetti F. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2020;36(2):152-155.
  • Cappelli V. Minerva Ginecol. 2013;65(4):425-433.
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ovasitol pcos