T Nation

ALA as an insulin mimiker?

Its being discussed on other boards that high doses of ALA (1-3 grams a day) can have dramatic body composition affects. From what I gather from the discussions ALA is an insulin mimicker,shuttling nutrients into cells and as less insulin is released you become more insulin sensitive so you have more stable blood sugar and less carb uptake in the fat cells. In other words, it helps to shuttle more glycogen into active muscle cells, or at least more than you normally would when compared to fat cells. Is this right?
Berdardi has always recommended ALA for insulin sensitivity issues but was always around 600 mg per day and not the 1-3 grams I am seeing recommended. Any thoughts?

Use the forum search…this has been discussed recently.

Would also like to know this? ALA has been discussed but not this exact question. So, I doubt you will find it in the search.

I’ve experimented a lot with ALA doses and the effect I’ve found is like most things, dose dependent. I’ve actually found best results to be in the range of 600-800mg/day. I found when I started to experiment with doses in excess of a gram/day, I would eventually start feeling lethargic just like you feel with low blood sugar just before entering ketosis on keto diet. And that’s no good to feel lethargic/tired all the time. So to get my energy back up, I would have to eat more carbs to “recover” my energy and blood glucose levels. I felt like I was chasing my tail, take more ALA, blood sugar and energy would drop, I would eat carbs to recover my energy and then take more ALA to dispose of the carbs and be back to feeling low blood sugar again. At 600-800mg/day, I felt energy levels were stable and still seemed to have the benefit of increased insulin sensitivity. It seemed that to much ALA made me to insulin sensitive which isn’t good either. Unless you want to be chasing blood glucose levels with carb intake at which you will eventually start to gain fat due to all the extra carb calories. So it can be a catch 22. You want to use enough ALA to normalize insulin sensitivity for best optimal glucose uptake without causing low blood sugar swings. I’m guessing the optimal dose is individual and diet specific and you will have to experiment. Note, I do eat realitively low carb most of the time due to insulin sensitivity issues and the tendency to gain fat easily on higher carb diet so somebody that normally eats higher carb may be able to get away with a higher dose. But if you can get away with a higher carb diet without gaining fat, than you have good insulin sensitivity already and ALA may not be needed or provide any added benefit.