Alpha-Lipoic Acid: A Potential Ally in Cancer Treatment

Alpha Lipoid Acid: Anticancer | Chemotherapy & Radiation Sensitizer | Neuropathy Reduction

Written by Keith Bishop, Clinical Nutritionist, B.Sc. Pharmacy, Author
Written: 08/20/2023   Updated 03/25/2024

While conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation have been the cornerstone of cancer therapy, researchers are continually exploring ways to enhance their effectiveness and reduce side effects. One promising compound that has emerged in recent scientific discussions is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). This powerful antioxidant might play a significant role in supporting cancer treatment.

What is Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA aka thioctic acid) is a naturally occurring compound that's vital for cellular energy production. It's unique because it's both water and fat-soluble, allowing it to work in every cell or tissue in the body. Beyond its primary role in energy metabolism, ALA is renowned for its antioxidant properties, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.[i]

The Anti-Cancer Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Emerging research suggests that ALA may possess anti-cancer properties. Studies indicate that ALA can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death), which is crucial in controlling the spread of cancer cells. For instance, a study published in the Journal Scientific Reports found that ALA could induce apoptosis in liver cancer cells, highlighting its potential as a supportive cancer therapy.[ii]

Enhancing Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatments

Perhaps more intriguing is ALA's potential to enhance the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. ALA's antioxidant properties can help protect normal cells from the damaging effects of these treatments while making cancer cells more susceptible to them.[iii] [iv]Studies demonstrate that ALA could reduce the side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, improving the quality of life for patients undergoing treatment.[v] [vi] [vii]

Incorporating Alpha-Lipoic Acid into Cancer Care

Given its potential benefits, incorporating ALA into cancer care could offer a complementary approach to traditional treatments. Patients need to consult with their healthcare providers before adding any supplements to their treatment regimen, as ALA could interact with certain medications.

I take and often recommend ALA CR a controlled-release form of Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). ALA CR is 600mg of ALA that is slowly released over several hours. Most tablets and capsules are immediately released and are absorbed and used in a very short period. I take ALA CR an hour before larger meals that contain carbohydrates.[viii]

For those interested in exploring the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid and other supportive nutrients, visiting Flourish Nutraceuticals at   can provide further insights into how these compounds can support overall health and well-being.

Alpha-lipoic Acid Cautions

Alpha-lipoic acid may lower your blood glucose levels. A few people may become hypoglycemic (blood sugar that is too low).[ix] I recommend using the Keto-Mojo fingerstick machine to monitor your response to foods, and activity level, and taking Alpha-lipoic acid, Pathway #3, and Pathway #4.     

Alpha-Lipoic Acid Cancer Conclusion

As the scientific community continues to explore the full potential of alpha-lipoic acid in cancer treatment, its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties offer a glimmer of hope for enhancing the effectiveness of conventional therapies. By supporting the body's natural defenses and potentially improving treatment outcomes, ALA represents a promising avenue in the ongoing battle against cancer.

Note to the Reader

This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your treatment plan.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Alpha-lipoic Acid Cancer References Include


[i] Bossio S, Perri A, Gallo R, et al. Alpha-Lipoic Acid Reduces Cell Growth, Inhibits Autophagy, and Counteracts Prostate Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion: Evidence from In Vitro Studies. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(23):17111. Published 2023 Dec 4. doi:10.3390/ijms242317111

[ii]Pibiri M, Sulas P, Camboni T, Leoni VP, Simbula G. α-Lipoic acid induces Endoplasmic Reticulum stress-mediated apoptosis in hepatoma cells. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):7139. Published 2020 Apr 28. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-64004-5

[iii] Choi HS, Kim JH, Jang SJ, et al. Synergistic Tumoricidal Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Radiotherapy on Human Breast Cancer Cells via HMGB1. Cancer Res Treat. 2021;53(3):685-694. doi:10.4143/crt.2020.1015

[iv] Novotny L, Rauko P, Cojocel C. alpha-Lipoic acid: the potential for use in cancer therapy. Neoplasma. 2008;55(2):81-86.

[v] Choi HS, Kim JH, Jang SJ, et al. Synergistic Tumoricidal Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Radiotherapy on Human Breast Cancer Cells via HMGB1. Cancer Res Treat. 2021;53(3):685-694. doi:10.4143/crt.2020.1015

[vi] Sheikholeslami S, Khodaverdian S, Dorri-Giv M, et al. The radioprotective effects of alpha-lipoic acid on radiotherapy-induced toxicities: A systematic review. Int Immunopharmacol. 2021;96:107741. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2021.107741

[vii][vii] Sardo S, Varrassi G, Scartozzi M, et al. Exploring Outcome Priorities and Real-Life Management of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neurotoxicity: A Survey of the Italian Association for the Study of Pain members. J Pain Res. 2023;16:3227-3238. Published 2023 Sep 25. doi:10.2147/JPR.S414389

[viii] Evans JL, Heymann CJ, Goldfine ID, Gavin LA. Pharmacokinetics, tolerability, and fructosamine-lowering effect of a novel, controlled-release formulation of alpha-lipoic acid. Endocr Pract. 2002;8(1):29-35. doi:10.4158/EP.8.1.29

[ix] Capece U, Moffa S, Improta I, et al. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Glucose Metabolism: A Comprehensive Update on Biochemical and Therapeutic Features. Nutrients. 2022;15(1):18. Published 2022 Dec 21. doi:10.3390/nu15010018


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