Keeping triglycerides in the healthy range is an important part of preventing heart disease. The best way to lower triglycerides is through a combination of diet, lifestyle strategies, and carefully chosen supplements. One supplement that you might find useful is alpha-lipoic acid.
What is alpha-lipoic acid?
Alpha-lipoic acid, also known as ALA (not to be confused with the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid), is an antioxidant. This allows it to help fight oxidative damage, which is important in staying healthy. Alpha-lipoic acid is also involved in metabolism, where it helps to turn nutrients into energy.
Alpha-lipoic acid is known to help manage diabetes and treat complications of diabetes like diabetic neuropathy and heightened cardiovascular disease risk. People sometimes use it to improve brain function, treat glaucoma, and enhance liver detoxification.
How an alpha-lipoic acid supplement can help manage your triglyceride levels
Laboratory studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid might be important in lowering triglycerides. A study on diabetic rats found that alpha-lipoic acid improves levels of triglycerides in the blood because it inhibits the synthesis of triglycerides in the first place. At the same time, it also helps to enhance the clearance of triglycerides from the body. Ultimately, this results in lower blood triglyceride levels.
Studies in humans are still in their infancy, but so far, there are promising results. In a study on people with obesity and diabetes, 600 mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid for 20 weeks resulted in significantly lowered triglyceride levels compared to placebo.
In another study, women with polycystic ovary syndrome who took 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid twice daily saw and average drop in triglyceride levels of 22.5 mg/dl after 16 weeks of treatment.
One review concludes, “given its strong safety record, [alpha-lipoic acid] may be a useful nutraceutical, either alone or in combination with other lipid-lowering strategies, when treating severe [high triglyceride levels].”
Using an alpha-lipoic acid supplement for triglyceride control
Alpha-lipoic acid is considered very safe. To help lower triglycerides, try 600 mg once or twice per day. Monitor your triglyceride level before you begin and then after taking the supplement for a month to see if there is any improvement.
Alpha-lipoic acid is also found in most foods. The richest food sources include things like yeast, spinach, and broccoli.
Reaching the target range for triglyceride levels
So what triglyceride level should you aim for? Below 150 mg/dl is the optimal level, with anywhere between 150 and 199 mg/dl considered borderline, and about 200 mg/dl considered high. Read all about triglycerides and optimal levels here.
Share your experience
Do you have any tips for how to lower your triglycerides? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? Have you ever tried alpha-lipoic acid, for this or for another purpose? Share your experience in the comments section below.
Originally published in 2015, this post has been updated.