Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Other names ALA, R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Na-R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is produced naturally by the body, and some people use it as a dietary supplement to improve their mood, focus, and energy levels. But does it actually have such benefits? Read on to find out what the science says.

This nootropic has no healthy human placebo-controlled studies that meet our inclusion criteria. Negative side effects can occur if used carelessly, so make sure you’re aware of the risks of Alpha-Lipoic Acid.


Read about the effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid in relation to the amount of evidence we've found

Why do people use Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

People who self-experiment with Alpha-Lipoic Acid often state they use it to improve their:

There is a lack of solid scientific evidence for the effectiveness of Alpha-Lipoic Acid for any of these purposes, especially in healthy humans.

Can alpha-lipoic acid reduce brain fog and increase energy levels?

People that use ALA to improve their cognitive performance use it specifically for increased energy levels and increased mental clarity. But is it effective for these purposes?

There is a lack of data on the effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid for any increased energy or reduced brain fog in healthy humans. There is some anecdotal evidence of people that experienced increase energy levels (see FAQ below), and also some evidence for cognitive enhancement in insulin-resistant people with cognitive impairment [7]. Since insulin resistance is a symptom of poor glucose metabolism, the reason for ALA's cognitive-enhancing in people with certain cognitive problems may be a boost in mental energy.

ALA might boost energy levels for some, but there's a lack of evidence for or against its efficacy in healthy people.

Can alpha-lipoic acid enhance your cognitive performance?

Once again, there are no sources of high-quality data available for us to be able to answer this question.

No studies have been conducted on ALA in healthy humans, but several have examined its cognitive effects in diseased people.

ALA improved cognitive functions in people with insulin resistance and Alzheimer's disease more than it did in patients without insulin resistance that had Alzheimer's disease [8]. This insulin-dependent effect of ALA likely means that it is only (or at least more) effective for people with poor glucose metabolism.

Since insulin resistance varies from individual to individual and within an individual from time A to time B, it might be effective for you in increasing your cognitive performance when you are relatively insulin resistant. If you have been drinking cans of sodas and eating giant pizzas for an entire week, ALA would in theory likely be an effective cognitive enhancer for you. However, even this use case needs to be backed by studies in humans confirming such effects.

ALA can likely enhance cognitive functioning in certain people at certain times, but there is a need for more research on who should take it and when.


The legality and side effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid


Frequently asked questions about Alpha-Lipoic Acid


Studies conducted on the effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid in healthy humans

Last updated Saturday, June 10, 2023