Alpha-lipoic acid is a highly versatile nutrient that may help support the body's healthy antioxidant defence system and is important for energy production and aerobic metabolism. It is an essential cofactor for several enzymes in the Krebs cycle, which is responsible for producing energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Alpha-lipoic acid may also play a role in other metabolic processes, including the breakdown of certain amino acids and alpha-keto acids, folate processing, and healthy nucleic acid synthesis.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a natural sulphur-containing compound that can be synthesized by the body in healthy individuals. It may assist in the normal cycling of important antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10. With prolonged or increased physical stress, the body's ability to produce enough alpha-lipoic acid to meet its functional needs can be reduced. During these times, it may be more important to support healthy levels by consuming alpha-lipoic acid from food or supplements. Dietary sources include red meat, organ meats such as liver, and yeasts.