Muscle Professor Academy | Alpha Lipoic Acid | Benefits, Dosage & Weight Loss Effect of ALA

By Dr Jacob M. Wilson | In Supplements | on January 1, 2016
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Dr Jacob M. Wilson PhD, CSCS*D, is professor and director of the skeletal muscle and sports nutrition laboratory at the Applied Science and Performance Institute, Florida – but you might know him better as The Muscle Professor. Today the Prof talks us through the benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid, how much we should take for both its antioxidant and fat loss effects, and discusses the other benefits of this versatile supplement.

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Athletes are constantly seeking new ways to drive nutrients towards muscle and away from fat. They also look to drastically speed recovery. One supplement which shows promise is Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA).

ALA is a coenzyme that is used in many metabolic processes for energy production and it acts as a powerful antioxidant. When the body undergoes metabolism with oxygen, oxidants and free radicals are produced, which can lead to increased inflammation and cellular damage. Being an antioxidant, ALA can help prevent or repair some of this damage.

ALA’s Effect on Weight Loss, Fat Gain Prevention and Hunger

While ALA is often touted as primarily a powerful antioxidant, ALA seems to have potentially beneficial effects on fat loss as well as prevention of further fat gain. Multiple studies have shown that ALA stimulates the activation of an enzyme called 5’-adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK) in muscle and fat tissue. AMPK is the cells fuel gauge and switches it into a state that optimizes fat oxidation. This occurs by inhibiting another enzyme called Acetyl-CoA carboxylase which puts the breaks on fat oxidation (Li, Dungan, Carrier, Rideout, & Williamson, 2014).

alpha lipoic acid weight loss

Why is this important? As you can probably tell, this increases the likelihood that you can successfully drop body fat, while in a caloric deficit. These benefits of ALA may have a direct effect on the ability to burn fat.

Interestingly, ALA may affect AMPK not only in muscle and fat, but also in the brain. Research shows that supplementation of ALA can inhibit AMPK activation in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain primarily responsible for energy homeostasis in the body. By inhibiting AMPK in this brain region, ALA tells the body that there is an abundance of energy available. This culminates in a suppression of appetite, which is certainly beneficial while dieting.

So what does this all mean? By decreasing AMPK in the brain while simultaneously increasing its activity in muscle and fat, ALA can potentially promote increased fat burning, prevent fat gain and reduce hunger, creating a perfect environment positively changing body composition.

ALA for Nutrient Partitioning

ALA has been shown to have a nutrient partitioning effect, which means that when consumed with carbohydrates it will partition those carbohydrates to muscle tissue and away from fat tissue (Jacob, et al., 1996). This is beneficial for anyone during a cutting or bulking cycle because if one can distribute nutrients towards muscle and away from fat they will successfully increase or maintain lean muscle and decrease body fat.

alpha lipoic acid weight loss

This partitioning of nutrients towards muscle and away from fat tissue will further increase muscle energy storage, amino acid storage, and increase insulin sensitivity, which is the body’s ability to use carbohydrates in the presence of insulin.

Dosage of Alpha Lipoic Acid & When To Take

In regards to ALA as an antioxidant doses of 200-300mg per day are shown to be beneficial for reducing oxidative stress (Silvestri, et al., 2015). For the purpose of increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing blood sugar, and decreasing body fat doses of 600mg per day have been shown to be beneficial (Okanovic, Prnjavorac, Jusufovic, & Sejdinovic, 2015).

alpha lipoic acid weight loss

There are specific times during the day that ALA is best taken. Due to the fact that ALA is an antioxidant it should be consumed as far away from the workout period as possible. This is because the metabolic damage that occurs during training is a key trigger for muscle growth. Without this metabolic stress the effects of resistance training may not be a pronounced.

Therefore, if ALA is consumed too close to the workout window it may negate some of the benefits of training (Li, Dungan, Carrier, Rideout, & Williamson, 2014). Lastly, it would be most beneficial to divide the dosing of ALA throughout the day on two or three occasions to receive maximal benefit.


Jacob, S., Streeper, R. S., Fogt, D. L., Hokama, J. Y., Tritschler, H. J., Dietze, G. J., & Henriksen, E. J. (1996, August). The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid enhances insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant rat skeletal muscle. Diabetes, 45(8), 1024-9.
Li, Z., Dungan, C. M., Carrier, B., Rideout, T. C., & Williamson, D. L. (2014, December). Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation reduces mTORC1 signalling in skeletal muscle from high fat fed, obese Zucker rats. Lipids, 49(12), 1193-201.
Okanovic, A., Prnjavorac, B., Jusufovic, E., & Sejdinovic, R. (2015, July 9). Alpha-lipoic acid reduces body weight and regulates triglycerides in obese patients with diabetes mellitus. Medicinski glasnik, 13(2).
Silvestri, S., Orlando, P., Armeni, T., Padella, L., Bruge, F., Seddaiu, G., Tiano, L. (2015, July). Coenzyme Q10 and α-lipoic acid: antioxidant and pro-oxidant effects in plasma and peripheral blood lymphocytes of supplemented subjects. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 57(1), 21-26.

4 Comments to "Muscle Professor Academy | Alpha Lipoic Acid | Benefits, Dosage & Weight Loss Effect of ALA"

  • Allen says:

    September 13, 2016 at 03:55 - Reply

    Using lipoic acid supplement gave me an immediate satisfaction I was beginning onset of neuropathy in my feet After first 24 hours of initial dose neuropathy disappeared 80 pcnt. I was also feeling warmth in my feet better blood circulation. I use myoflex muscle supplement 42g protein liquid twice a day. I work out about 3 hours every other day. I am a registered pharmacist and dentist with advanced orthodontic training so I do have something between my ears I am 58yo and let me tell you lipoic acid is the key to a lot metabolism problems. My muscles do not ache nor continuous shaking after heavy stressful workout. I started further research on this product and found out is used in Germany to treat diabetic neuropathy Recent research can help Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s , skin tissue regeneration and increase cognitive thinking., and one more increase micro vessel perfusion which may help in eye degenerative disease Now this does not mean everyone will get same results but in my case I felt it within 24 hours. Dosing I am using 1200mg in AM and 600mg PM. Yes it high dosing but studies have shown 600mg daily will produce same results. I am dosing twice a day to maintain blood level high since I do not know its half life. Remember I am also exercising and have been exercising for two years so the only variance is the lipoic acid. Further research has shown it aids in fat loss and increase in muscle size.
    I am loosing weight with same diet and same workout as before. WOW. A product kept away from public by big pharma. Feel free to contact me to keep u posted

    1. Tina says:

      September 24, 2016 at 02:02 - Reply

      I have severe peripheral neropothy in hands and feet due to chemo, do you think this will help me?

  • Allen says:

    December 22, 2016 at 10:10 - Reply

    Who says it is due to chemo? Just move, dry
    Sauna. Chemotherapeutic drugs have a tendency
    Of stopping regrowth of all types of cells which
    Includes cancer cells. Neuropathy usually occurs
    Abnormal blood sugar level. Get a fasting blood sugar test. Do not eat or drink 12 hours prior test
    Watch your urine color and smell. Have your physician evaluate the results

  • Russell Theis says:

    January 20, 2017 at 11:32 - Reply

    Ala has helped my a1c,weight loss,and it does curb appetite.I lost 30pounds, and I feel great!My wife is going on it today,800 mugs a day.We both have neuropathy.She has small fiber neuropathy,and I have polyneuropathy( primarily axonal neuropathy).

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