The fatty acid alpha-lipoic acid is found naturally in foods such as broccoli, liver, potatoes and spinach. Now available as an antioxidant supplement, you can take alpha-lipoic acid to protect your cell walls from oxidation damage by free radicals, which may help limit your risk of developing cancer. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate alpha-lipoic acid supplements, you cannot be certain that dosages and ingredients stated on labels are accurate. Consult your doctor about alpha-lipoic acid before you take this supplement.
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When you first begin using alpha-lipoic acid, you may begin to feel more tired than usual, Drugs.com warns. This tiredness or fatigue may be because this supplement can decrease your blood sugar levels. Tiredness associated with alpha-lipoic acid supplements typically ceases as you get accustomed to it. Speak with a physician, however, if fatigue persists.
You may experience stomach upset when you begin taking alpha-lipoic acid. In most cases, this stomach upset will dissipate with further use of the supplement. You may be able to avoid stomach upset by taking this supplement with food.
Higher levels of alpha-lipoic acid may cause cramps, also known as spasms, to occur in your muscles. This generally happens with initial use of the supplement and usually stops as your body grows used to it. You should not feel severe cramps as a side effect of alpha-lipoic acid, but if you do, seek medical counsel.
Hypoglycemia is the condition in which glucose levels are too low in your blood. Also known as low blood sugar, hypoglycemia can be a serious problem. You can eat something quickly to help raise your blood sugar levels, but seek medical assistance if you continue to experience symptoms such as feeling faint, a rapid heartbeat, irritability, blurry vision or hunger. Hypoglycemia may cause problems such as confusion and problems concentrating. Low blood sugar is especially dangerous for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If you have these conditions, or any other preexisting health condition, do not use these supplements without first consulting your doctor.