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If Lipoic Acid can recycle glutathione, why isn't everyone on it?

I'm reading a book that states:

Lipoic acid is unique in that it is the only antioxidant that can significantly boost the levels of glutathione, another key network antioxidant that is instrumental in ridding the body of toxins. Since lipoic acid can recycle glutathione, it is important because, when taken orally, glutathione is not well absorbed by the body and most of it goes to waste. My laboratory has shown that lipoic acid can boost glutathione levels in cells by an impressive 30 percent. When you take lipoic acid, you are not only getting all the benefits of lipoic acid, but you are in effect getting an additional dose of glutathione.

The book is: the antioxidant miracle by Lester Packer


Senior Member
every anti oxidant has the potential to boost glutathione and other anti oxidants

ALA is complicated. its also a chelator (?) , can move things through the body. there are complicated detoxification protocols based on ALA... but it has potential to do damage.


Senior Member
It makes me feel awful. I get horribly tired and groggy. Even dumping 1/4 of a capsule into an empty gel capsule and taking that makes me feel this way. I tried to stick with it for a while but found no improvement and only side effects.


Moderator Resource
Southern California
I used to react quite badly to glutathione supplements. I would feel tired, sick, poisoned - I think it was a detox reaction. Any sort of chelator would do this to me, except I don't recall ALA making me feel like this.

In any event, I've stopped having detox reactions for several years now, can tolerate a lot more things - e.g., cayenne, apple cider vinegar, NAC (precursor to glutathione) used to hit me hard, but no more. This was after using glycine very carefully for 6 months. Initially it (glycine) caused a huge detox reaction for me - got very spacy, tired etc. (got lost going to my sister's house!) but muscle testing indicated it was good for me but in very small doses to start. So after initially taking too much (perhaps 500 mg or so), I dropped to maybe 50 mg, just a little bit, and titrated up very gradually over a period of 6 months, by which time I stopped reacting altogether to glycine and all the other things which used to cause detoxing for me. I think the giycine got my detox pathways working properly. Also, inositol and glutamine were helpful here too - these caused a much smaller detox reaction but I titrated up with them as well.


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australia (brisbane)
I thought lipoic acid was quite common amongst the cfsme crowd. Actually most of us have a cupboard full of supplements and tried many, especially those of us who have had cfs for a few years.

Lipoic acid is also used as it helps improve insulin sensitivity and also can help with nerve pain and similar issues.


Senior Member
I react badly to antioxidants. As mentioned, lipoic acid increases insulin sensitivity, which paradoxically ends up being a problem for ME/CFS patients who deal with hypoglycemia. Taking any proper dose of ALA I get massive carb craving followed by sleepiness.


Senior Member
An example of Acide Lipoic usage in inflammatory state:

Study of the recommended dosage of the N-Acetyl Cysteine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Bromelain and Zinc preparation as a treatment for dysmenorrhea

... The most common treatments for dysmenorrhea are NSAIDs or oral contraceptives, although gynecologists also recommend the preparation composed of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), alpha lipoic acid (LA), bromelain (Br) and Zinc (Zn), (NAC/LA/Br/Zn) due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties and efficacy in reducing pain...
PD primary dysmenorrhea
SD secondary dysmenorrhea

At the beginning of treatment with the preparation, gynecologists recommend the administration of NAC 600 mg/day, LA 200 mg/day, Br 25 mg/day Zn 10 mg/day (71.2% for PD, 80.8% for SD), while the rest start treatment with half the concentration, with the possibility of doubling the dose if the patient does not respond to treatment (27.8% for PD and 19.2% for SD) (Figure 1A supplementary material).

The regimens recommended by specialists at the beginning of treatment may be continuous or discontinuous.

The most commonly recommended continuous regimen is continuous therapy with breaks (10 days of rest per 90-day treatment cycle) recommended by 69% of the specialists, compared to continuous therapy without breaks (31% of the specialists) (Table 1).

Discontinuous regimens entail administration of the preparation 7-15 days before menstruation (54%), 5 days before and 5 days after menstruation (24%), only 5 days before menstruation (15%) or other variations (7%) (Table 1)....