Diabetes Technol Ther 2000 Autumn;2(3):401-13


Alpha-lipoic acid: a multifunctional antioxidant that improves insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Evans JL, Goldfine ID.


Medical Research Institute, San Bruno, California 94066, USA. jevans@lipoic.com



Alpha-Lipoic acid (LA) is a disulfide compound that is produced in small quantities in cells, and functions naturally as a co-enzyme in the pyruvate dehydrogenase and alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase mitochondrial enzyme complexes. In pharmacological doses, LA is a multifunctional antioxidant. LA has been used in Germany for over 30 years for the treatment of diabetes-induced neuropathy. In patients with type 2 diabetes, recent studies have reported that intravenous (i.v.) infusion of LA increases insulin-mediated glucose disposal, whereas oral administration of LA has only marginal effects. If the limitations of oral therapy can be overcome, LA could emerge as a safe and effective adjunctive antidiabetic agent with insulin sensitizing activity.