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Alpha Lipoic Acid for Weight Loss and Thyroid Health

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In hypothyroidism, one of the most worrisome issues patients face is weight gain.

It is natural for reduced thyroid function to influence weight, as it is the main gland in control of your metabolism. It helps to burn calories and directs the body to utilize the energy formed as a fuel.

When the thyroid function slows down as in hypothyroidism, you will not burn up calories fast resulting in weight gain.

There are several measures suggested to combat the weight challenges you face in hypothyroidism. Using Alpha Lipoic acid to address the weight issue in hypothyroidism is a tried and tested method.

Let us see how it is connected to thyroid health and its effectiveness as a weight loss aid.

Alpha lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is a naturally formed substance made in every cell of our body. It is responsible for converting glucose to energy. It also holds powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. This is the reason for use of ALA as a supplement.

In contrast to vitamins which are either fat or water soluble, ALA is soluble in fat and water.

Hence it is widely available to all cells of the body. The various benefits of ALA include

  • For treating peripheral neuropathy in diabetes
  • Treatment of impaired central nervous system functions during sepsis. ALA reduces inflammation in neurons and prevents cognitive impairment.
  • Strengthening of blood brain barrier
  • Treatment of acute injury to lung and more

Effect On Weight Loss

For people who are overweight or obese, ALA can help in reducing the weight to some extent.

A study done on its effect on weight gain shows that ALA has the potential to cause a significant amount of weight loss albeit the change being small and of short term.

Another research study on the effect of ALA on weight loss indicated that a mild loss of weight occurred which makes it a good supplement to consider for weight loss. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect also provides distinctive advantage.

The anti-inflammatory effect is of significance in thyroid eye disease.

ALA for Thyroid Health

Many studies on relation of ALA to thyroid health have been done the results of which indicate that ALA can avoid or treat dysfunction of thyroid gland and the complications resulting from thyroid conditions.

Protection for cancer patients: Exposure to radiation therapy in cancer patients can result in hypothyroidism. Animal studies done pre-clinically indicate ALA can safeguard the gland from ill effects of radiation. ALA due to its anti-oxidant effect can exert anti-cancer effect on the cell lines of cancerous thyroid cells.

Action on subclinical hypothyroidism: A research study on subclinical hypothyroidism published in PubMed in 2010 indicates that ALA enhances endothelial function. This is brought about by reduction in number of free radicals resulting in better arterial flow.

The use of ALA does not however change the levels of thyroid hormone. If the endothelial dysfunction is not treated it can result in atherosclerosis. This is especially true in case of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Influence on thyroid hormone secretion: ALA can influence T4 to T3 conversion according to a 1991 study. This is the reason patients need to be careful when taking thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine and alpha lipoic acid simultaneously.

There should be a minimum duration of 4 hours between the two medications for the ALA to be safe.  The study indicates that nearly 56% suppression of T4 conversion occurred when ALA and levothyroxine were taken simultaneously.

Optimal ALA dosage

The specific dose of ALA is based on the thyroid condition and other illnesses you have. When used mainly for its antioxidant property, 50 mg to 300 mg is the average dose used. Higher doses are recommended in case of severe inflammatory diseases.

In general, 100 mg to 300 mg is the optimal dose of ALA that is used for most conditions it is effective in. However the dose is 600 mg in case of diabetic neuropathy.

Nevertheless as mentioned before, if you are taking medications for hypothyroidism such as Levothyroxine, the addition of ALA can cause a drop in thyroid hormone levels. Hence if both are taken even at the specified interval, it is necessary to monitor the thyroid function test and hormone levels to avoid complications.

ALA is also found in certain foods like broccoli, asparagus, beets, red meat, organ meat, Brussels sprouts and carrots.

Key takeaway

Since inflammation is one of the causes of hypothyroidism, using an anti-inflammatory agent such asALA can provide you with multiple benefits.

It can help supplement the effect of thyroid hormones provided you take the necessary precautions of not taking ALA and thyroid hormones like Levothyroxine or Tirosint together.

With its positive impact on diabetic neuropathy, brain injury and thyroid complications, ALA is a good choice to add as supplement in these conditions.

And its specific impact on thyroid health further makes it a significant addition to consider for weight loss in hypothyroidism.

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