Alpha Lipoic Acid: The "A" in PAGG

Alpha Lipoic Acid: The

Alpha Lipoic Acid shows up in the 4-Hour Body as part of PAGG

The Four Horsemen of Fat-Loss: PAGG

Daily PAGG intake is timed before meals and bed,
which produces a schedule like this: (AGG is simply PAGG minus policosanol)

  • Prior to breakfast: AGG
  • Prior to lunch: AGG
  • Prior to dinner: AGG
  • Prior to bed: PAG (omit the green tea extract)

This dosing schedule is followed six days a week. Take one day off each week and one week off every two months.

The combo can also be purchased through Pareto Nutrition Here (not ranked on the Natural Medicines Database)

In the 4 Hour Body Tim Claims:

“Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been proven to regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E; restore levels of intracellular glutathione, an important antioxidant that declines with age; and increase excretion of toxic heavy metals such as mercury. It was first synthesized and tested in the 1970s for the treatment of chronic liver diseases.

The intravenous interventions reversed disease in 75 out of 79 subjects. Given its impressive effects, the most remarkable feature of ALA is its apparent lack of toxicity in humans.12 It’s NOAEL (No Observable Adverse Effect Level) is 60 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, which would make up to 4,091 milligrams per day safe for a 150-pound person. Our dosing will be 300–900 milligrams total per day.

Though lipoic acid naturally occurs in some organ meats and vegetables, including spinach and broccoli, the amounts are trace. I didn’t want to consume 10 tons of liver for 30 milligrams of lipoic acid, so I began using synthetic alpha-lipoic acid in 1995.”

“I began taking ALA for its impressive impact on glucose uptake and reduced triglyceride production. First and foremost, I wanted to increase muscular absorption of the calories (and supplements) I consumed, and ALA turned out to be the perfect force multiplier. More calories absorbed into muscle meant fewer calories deposited as fat and faster strength gains. ALA accomplishes this, in part, by recruiting GLUT-4 glucose transporters to the muscular cell membrane. This both mimics insulin and increases insulin sensitivity, and ALA is therefore being explored as an “insulino-mimetic” that can be used to treat type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Not only does ALA increase glucose and nutrient absorption, but it also demonstrates triglyceride inhibition and—through extrapolation—fat storage. Here is an abstract from a 2009 article from the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics that drives the point home: Livers from LA [lipoic acid]–treated rats exhibited elevated glycogen content, suggesting dietary carbohydrates were stored as glycogen rather than becoming lipogenic substrate. In one sentence, here is why alpha-lipoic acid is kick-ass for our purposes: ALA helps you store the carbohydrates you eat in muscle or in your liver as opposed to in fat.”


What is it?

Alpha-lipoic acid is a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant. Yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes are good sources of alpha-lipoic acid. It is also made in the laboratory for use as medicine.
Alpha-lipoic acid is used for diabetes and nerve-related symptoms of diabetes including burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms. High doses of alpha-lipoic acid are approved in Germany for the treatment of these symptoms.
Some people use alpha-lipoic acid for memory loss, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), HIV/AIDS, cancer, liver disease, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (including a disorder called cardiac autonomic neuropathy) and Lyme disease.
Alpha-lipoic acid is also used to treat eye-related disorders, such as damage to the retina, cataracts, glaucoma, and an eye disease called Wilson’s disease.

Is it Effective?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID are as follows:

Possibly Effective for…

  • Treating type 2 diabetes, when taken by mouth or given intravenously (by IV).
  • Diabetic nerve pain. Taking alpha-lipoic acid by mouth seems to improve symptoms such as burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms of people with diabetes. It may take 3 to 5 weeks of treatment for symptoms to improve.

Possibly Ineffective for…

  • Treating alcoholic liver disease.
  • Treating HIV-related brain problems.
  • Treating a heart-related nerve problem called cardiac autonomic neuropathy.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…

  • Aging skin. Early research suggests that applying a cream containing 5% alpha-lipoic acid to the face may reduce fine lines and roughness due to sun damage.
  • Dementia. Taking alpha-lipoic acid might slow down the decline of thinking skills in people with various kinds of dementia. But almost a year of treatment may be needed.
  • Leg pain when walking due to blood vessel disease. Early studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid might reduce pain in people with this condition, but doesn’t improve their ability to exercise.
  • Amanita mushroom poisoning. The use of alpha-lipoic acid in treating mushroom poisoning is controversial. You may have heard people say it works, but the science doesn’t support that. In fact, some researchers recommend against using alpha-lipoic acid for this purpose.
  • Eye problems.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Cancer.
  • Lyme disease.
  • Wilson’s disease.
  • Heart disease.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid for these uses.

How does it work?

Alpha-lipoic acid seems to help prevent certain kinds of cell damage in the body, and also restores vitamin levels such as vitamin E and vitamin C. There is also evidence that alpha-lipoic acid can improve the function and conduction of neurons in diabetes.
Alpha-lipoic acid is used in the body to break down carbohydrates and to make energy for the other organs in the body.
Alpha-lipoic acid seems to work as an antioxidant, which means that it might provide protection to the brain under conditions of damage or injury. The antioxidant effects might also be helpful in certain liver diseases.

Are there safety concerns?

Alpha-lipoic acid is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. People taking alpha-lipoic acid by mouth might get a rash. People at risk for thiamine deficiency should take a thiamine supplement.
People with diabetes should be careful to check their blood sugar levels because alpha-lipoic acid might lower blood sugar.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of alpha-lipoic acid during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Diabetes: Alpha-lipoic acid can decrease blood sugar levels. Your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
Excessive use of alcohol/thiamine deficiency: Alcohol can lower the amount of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the body. Taking alpha-lipoic acid when there is a shortage of thiamine might cause serious health problems. If you drink a lot of alcohol and take alpha-lipoic acid too, you should take a thiamine supplement.
Thyroid disease: Taking alpha-lipoic acid might interfere with treatments for under-active or over-active thyroid.

Are there any interactions with medications?

Medications for cancer (Chemotherapy)
Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant. There is some concern that antioxidants might decrease the effectiveness of some medications used for cancers. But it is too soon to know if this interaction occurs.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating = Minor Be watchful with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Alpha-lipoic acid might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking alpha-lipoic acid along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. But more evidence is needed to know if this interaction is a big concern. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Are there any interactions with Herbs and Supplements?

Herbs and supplements that lower blood sugar levels

Alpha-lipoic acid lowers blood sugar levels. Taking it along with other herbs that lower blood sugar might lower blood sugar too much. Herbs that might lower blood sugar include devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, and Siberian ginseng.

Herbs and supplements that raise blood sugar levels

Herbs that increase blood sugar levels might counteract alpha-lipoic acid’s blood sugar-lowering effects. Herbs that may raise blood sugar include ephedra, ginger, gotu kola, and the above-ground parts of the stinging nettle.

Are there interactions with Foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For treating type 2 diabetes and improving symptoms such as burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms: 600 or 1200 mg daily.


Alpha Lipoic Acid by Source Naturals (300mg)

Alpha Lipoic Acid - The 4-Hour Body Each capsule contains: Alpha-Lipoic Acid 300 mg. Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Gelatin (capsule), Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate.

Natural Medicines Brand Evidence-based Rating (NMBER)

Natural Medicines Brand Evidence-based Rating (NMBER)=7

Provided by
Based on
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly September 13, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Alpha Lipoic acid also chelates mercury and other metals and can move them into the brain, according to Andrew Hall Cutler, PhD.


Stephen September 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm

That is very interesting! Thanks Kelly.

– Stephen


Gary October 21, 2014 at 7:15 am

What are the effects does mercury and other metals moving to the brain cause?


Stephen October 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm

I do know that Mercury is neurotoxic and in high amounts, especially with prenatal and infant exposures, can cause mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness and blindness. What about other metals? I am not sure, but I would assume that it is probably not good, and you would be wise to limit unnecessary or excessive exposure.

– Stephen


Tim February 2, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Do you know of any reasons why people taking ALA orally get rashes? Do you know how to prevent this?
It is happening for me and unfortunately for that reason I do not tolerate ALA.



Stephen February 3, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Personally, I cannot take ALA because it causes me to have ridiculous GERD. If you are having a reaction to a certain supplement you have two options: 1. try a different brand and see if the same things happens, or simply discontinue the supplement. I cannot tell you for sure why you are getting a rash but it is best in this case to avoid ALA as you have already figured out.

– Stephen


Jean May 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Hi Tim,

I have been suffering for months with itchy rashes on my face including hives and slight oozing at times. I have tried everything including an elimination diet, changing laundry detergents, beauty products, etc. to no avail. I have been taking ALA with Acetyl l carnitine, benfotiamine and methyl b-12 for years without a problem. But, last summer I started get the rashes on my face and now it’s almost a chronic condition.

I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s one of these supplements that is causing my rashes. I am going to stop taking them, but I am wondering if you could tell me more about your rashes and what you might know that is helpful. I am starting to get really depressed. I used to have very nice skin and liked my face. Now, I don’t even like to leave the house. How long after you stopped the ALA did your rash go away?

Thank you!



Stephen May 13, 2015 at 7:18 pm

You won’t know if it the ALA until you stop the supplement for a few weeks and see if it makes a difference. In 60% of cases with this type of rash history we don’t identify the cause. It can be something else you are ingesting or even an environmental cause. We can perform testing in the clinic which can help to identify the cause. If the rash is quite bad I will start patients on a non-sedating antihistamine (like Zyrtec) and consider applying a very low dose topical steroid cream. If it is really bad I will use a short 5-10 day course of oral Prednisone which can knock the rash out very fast. If it is still not going away after stopping the ALA consider consulting a doctor. You should be able to clear this up while you work to identify the cause.

– Stephen


Jean May 13, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your reply. I think I have identified the cause of my rash. I am extremely allergic to beeswax and didn’t realize that my dental floss contains beeswax. I bought some vegan floss and now I am seeing a rapid improvement with my face. So excited!



Stephen May 23, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Wow, Jean, you are a great detective. I will remember this, I wonder how many of my own patients have had a similar allergy. I have never thought of asking about one’s choice of dental floss!



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