T Nation

ALA supplementation

What is the best way to supplement with ALA to get insulin sensitivity benefits?

1/2 hour before a carb meal?

Immediatly before a carb meal?

With a carb meal?

I'm assuming 1/2 hour before a carb meal would be optimal, however I wanted to post the thread here for some more insight.

-Joel Marion

Though I’ve wondered also, I have found when taking large doses, that ALA is extremely acidic and can give stomach irritation when taken on an empty stomach so I’ve gotten in the habit of taking it immediately before carb meals.

I haven’t looked into this to deeply but I thought all the Various insulin sensitivity enhancers, like ALA worked through increasing sensitivity of the cell membrane, by being incorporated into the cell membrane and takes about two weeks to see effects, much like EFA’s (Alpha lipoeic acid is a fat after all isn’t it?) I could be waaaay off on this though.

I’m sure many of us would be interested in hearing a detailed scientific response, or a detailed person success story.

Ive used ALA on and off for a few years, have been using it for the past 4 months now…i take 600 mg a day (3 200 mg pills over three meals). it definately helps, in my opinion. it makes me more insulin sensitive and helps with staying lean…its also being promoted by health professionals as a potent anti-oxidant. give it a whirl…

Ok, we are not debating the effectivness of the product, nor inquiring about it…Does anyone actually know the optimal time for consumption?

Just wanted to comment on your reference to ALA being a fat, which is unkown to me but wanted to add that I’ve read that ALA, as a potent antioxidant, is unique in that it is both a water soluble and fat soluble antioxidant.

British lift, the ALA antioxidant is alpha lipoic acid. ALA referred to in Flaxseed oil is alpha linolenic acid, two totally different things

Thanks Sammy. Just to clarify, we are definitely talking about Alpha Lipoic Acid. However, it if does work in a similar way to how British lifter stated, that would be great news, as intake timing wouldn’t be an issue. I could just pop 200mg with a meal 3x’s a day. Does anyone know exactly how it works? Is it immediate? Or does it work over time to increase insulin sensitivity?

I hate having to schedule my meals around supplements...that's why I never had much success with MD6; always forget to take it.

Ive had some discussions with individuals who say that ALA’s 1/2 life is 3 hours. However, Im not sure if this is the case. My impression has always been that regular daily use is more impt that trying to time the doses. Therefore 2-3 times per day with meals may be fine.

The reason I thought that it may be a fat is that it was lipid soluble (and aqueos), therefore it became incorporated into the lipid memebrane and that was how it affected glucose tolerance. Does anyone know more about its properties as an inhibitor of glycosylation (the abnormal attachement of sugar to protein) and how this affects the metabolism of these.

I’m pretty sure you should be taking it with your meals with the most carbs also. I’ve been reading up on it and what it does is clear blood sugar from the body. It delivers nutrients to your muscles faster and doesn’t seem to deliver to fat cells. This would be how it increases your insulin sensitivity. If that’s the case then it should increase your insulin sensitivity right away.I could be wrong on this. Just trying to understand it and correct me if I am wrong.

From John Berardi’s post it sounds like it should be taken daily. I thought it could me used just when you have a cheat meal or a fat/carbohydrate meal together (T-Dawg diet). IS this something that needs to be taken daily to be effective?


From what I understand, you take 600 milligrams with 3 carb meals throughout the day and you will stay in ketosis. ALAs half life is 3 hours so I would take it with the meal. Does anyone know of a cheap brand of this stuff? I know people who take it this way I described, and have had success losing fat, but they spent too much money on it.

From the LEF forum:

"The half-life of alpha lipoic acid varies between individuals somewhat, but it generally around 1/2 hour.

Eur J Pharm Sci 1999 Apr;8(1):57-65
Dose-proportionality of oral thioctic acid–coincidence of assessments via
pooled plasma and individual data.
Breithaupt-Grogler K, Niebch G, Schneider E, Erb K, Hermann R, Blume HH, Schug BS, Belz GG
Center for Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Mathildenstrasse 8, 55116, Mainz,

Thioctic acid (TA), a racemate of R-(+)- and S-(-)-enantiomers of alpha-lipoic
acid, acts as a powerful lipophilic, free-radical scavenger and is used in the
treatment of diabetic neuropathy. This trial investigated the dose-linearity of
enantiomer pharmacokinetics following the oral administration of single doses of
50 to 600 mg TA (formulation provided by ASTA (Medica)) in healthy volunteers.
TA enantiomer concentrations in individual and pooled plasma samples were
determined using enantioselective, high-performance liquid chromatography. TA
was rapidly absorbed (tmax, 0.5 to 1 h). Maximum plasma concentrations (Cmax) of
the R-(+)-enantiomer were about 40-50% higher than those of the S-(-)-enantiomer
(50 mg: 135.45 ng/ml R-(+)-TA, 67.83 ng/ml S-(-)-TA; 600 mg: 1812.32 ng/ml
R-(+)-TA, 978.20 ng/ml S-(-)-TA; geometric means). The decline observed in the
plasma concentration was steep (t1/2, 0.5 h). The dose-linearity and
proportionality of pharmacokinetic parameters could be demonstrated on an
intra-individual basis and for the group geometric means. An analysis of pooled
plasma samples proved to be a suitable means for deriving reliable first-sight
results prior to individual assessments.
Publication Types:
Clinical trial
PMID: 10072479, UI: 99172305 – Tom]"

This might not be acurate if plama concentrations are not be an accurate indicator e.g. if it is being “sequestered” outside the plasma. Jarrow brand (no commercial interest) does make a time releasse 250 mg ALA, but as I recall they said it dissolved over several hours.

The cheapest ALA by far is the powder made by Beyond a Century. I think it’s roughly $15 for a three month supply.

Damn! That website has a lot of really cheap shit! How is the quality of their stuff?

They’re legit. Type beyond a century in the search engine and you’ll get a lot of feedback. Their ALA is the real deal…you even get the burning sensation when you take it. The only thing I don’t really like is that it doesn’t dissolve especially well, but it is DIRT CHEAP compared to the pills. I’ve always wondered why they can do it so cheap, as well as Biotest putting an effective dose in MD-6 w/o jacking up the cost, yet none of the other companies are even close in price comparison.

I’ve done business with beyond-a-century for years and they are the real deal. They are a small Ma and Pa business that does this on the side with no overhead or fancy packaging. They buy only the highest quality supplements in bulk from reputable manufacturers and resell in smaller bulk with little markup. Realize that most of there supps are powders and not capsules so must measure yourself but they give instructions and equivelents and is worth any inconvience. All their stuff is top quality.