My experiences with Alpha Lipoic Acid: benefits and side effects

RustyJ

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I am taking ALA according to Cutler's recommendations: 50mg every 3hrs for 3 days a week, initially for mercury chelation, now as a cheap anti-retroviral. I have marked improvement, plus some negatives. Is anyone else on it? I would like to hear your experiences?

I have noticed the following benefits:

Immediate:
  • Improved sleep
  • Dramatic reduction in depression

After 3 months
  • No depression at all
  • Less bloating and reflux - able to reduce Zantac by half, although not every time.
  • Small improvement in energy, maybe 10%, but its consistent and steadily improving
  • Doing more things - bit hard to explain because this is not the same as energy increase - eg couldn't contemplate doing tax, now can do it easily

Negatives
  • On the days I'm taking the ALA I feel sub par.
  • Usually a day after finishing 3-day course, feel like a truck has run over me.
 

Sallysblooms

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I take it twice a day. It is good for neuropathy. I get it and all of my supplements from my doctor or at least the same brands she recommends. I get the dose from her. I am hoping it will slowly heal the POTS or at least help with all of the other things I take.
 

jeffrez

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Are you known to be mercury poisoned? 50mg is a huge amount for some people - I get run over by a truck by 2 or 3mg. on that protocol.

ALA chelates intra-cellular mercury, but it can also redistribute it. If your detoxification systems (e.g., GSH, CYP-450) are subpar, you might be getting some redistribution from 50mg. every 3 hours. Again, that is a monster dose for some people. Maybe cut the dose in half and see if you get the same benefits without the downside.

You might also be depleting minerals, accounting for the fatigue. It's important to replenish minerals in between rounds.

Aside from metal chelating, ALA is also an energy co-factor along with thiamine. I don't know this for sure, but too much ALA in the absence of sufficient B1 theoretically therefore might cause an imbalance. Do you know your B vitamin status? But the B1 question would be one for the Cutler list, or maybe richvank knows. Just to reiterate, I'm not sure on that at all, but it's been something I've wondered about. But if you are getting those kinds of pro-cognitive effects from ALA, you might also benefit from B1 at least.

Finally know that there are reports of sulfur "backfire" on ALA, meaning that the detox systems functionally break down from too much metal toxicity to deal with, and you get a massive redistributive event that can really severely mess you up, with also intra-cellular and neurological mercury redistribution (as ALA also crosses the blood brain barrier). Those can take months/years/never to fully recover from. Caution and lower doses are the watchword when dealing with ALA (edit: or just about any chelator, actually).

Have you tried DMSA? That might at least tell you what effects are coming from Hg chelation, and which are coming from ALA's energy co-factor and antioxidant properties.
 

dsdmom

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I'm glad to see this thread as my dr just had me orded n-ala. Not sure what the n stands for but she was adamant about that. Anybody know?

Finally know that there are reports of sulfur "backfire" on ALA, meaning that the detox systems functionally break down from too much metal toxicity to deal with, and you get a massive redistributive event that can really severely mess you up, with also intra-cellular and neurological mercury redistribution (as ALA also crosses the blood brain barrier). Those can take months/years/never to fully recover from. Caution and lower doses are the watchword when dealing with ALA (edit: or just about any chelator, actually).

Have you tried DMSA? That might at least tell you what effects are coming from Hg chelation, and which are coming from ALA's energy co-factor and antioxidant properties.
This worries me- as far as I know I am not suffering from heavy metal poisoning but the mention of sulfur issues scares me. I had major issues with msm (no problems with it before I was sick) that richvank seems to think could be sulfur related. Does that mean ala is a no no for me? My dr told me to take 300mg but I ordered 100mg to start. Haven't started it yet. Is n-ala dosed differently than ala?
 
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This is a timely thread because I have a recent experience to share. I started with 25 mg ALA twice a day a month ago. I initially had a good response, more energy, and even some (minor) come-back of libido, which I took as a very good sign because this has been below zero for years and nothing else had helped there. I am thinking that the day my libido comes back, it will mean I am healthy again.

Anyways, this did not last. After two good weeks, I hit a wall, with lots of mood swings and malaise. I stopped at this point and it got slowly better. I had to take my emergency remedy (raw garlic) to get back to my 'normal' self.

Interestingly, I had the same experience several times with OSR in the past: initial good response, and then hitting a wall after a few weeks. So I recognized the same phenomenom with ALA.

I never had mercury amalgams, and I had my porphyrins tested at Laboratoire Philippe Auguste and I do not seem to have accumulated mercury. I did eat a lot of fish before so I could still be mercury toxic, i guess, since these tests are not 100% accurate. My child has autism so there might be something going on with me anyways.

Now maybe I should do 3 days on once a week, instead of continuous? It seems that with ALA or OSR it benefits me a lot, but then I hit a wall, as if something was building up that finally overwhelms my system... Any thoughts?
 
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I take alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L carnitine twice a day, everyday. 150mg ala, and 500mg carnitine. Seems to help my energy and especially notice that my gums seem healthier while taking it. I take it with other vitamins for the Krebs cycle, and not really for chelating. I noticed very sensitive teeth and gums for awhile, but seems to have passed. I use Freddd's methyalation to help with chelating, along iwth fiber, and saunas, and periodic OSR. I also take acidpohilous and saccramyces for my stomach to help with the potential gut issues. I take a few handfuls of stuff a day basically. My recent favorite is the Klinghardts KPU protocol.
 
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You might need DMSA to mop up the mercury ALA liberates. ALA is supposed to drag mercury across the BBB. Also, when you chelate mercury you can release other metals like cadmium or lead according to Cutler.

I used to use ALA to get past the afternoon slump, ,but it no longer has that effect on me since usieng it for the Cutler protocol. Acetyl carnitine was too stimulating for me.
 

RustyJ

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Mr Kite
Are you known to be mercury poisoned? 50mg is a huge amount for some people - I get run over by a truck by 2 or 3mg. on that protocol.
I began this thread because I was surprised few had gone down the path of using ALA as a cheap antiretroval. Everyone seems hooked on using the recognised HIV antiretrovirals. Even if I could convince a doctor is Australia to prescribe these, the cost would be prohibitive for me.

Many others are taking ALA in very small doses as an antioxidant. I encourage more people to consider ALA as your main antiretroviral treatment against XMRV. Information on Cutler's protocol has been posted on this forum previously. A quick search will bring it up. Please keep in mind that the use of ALA as an antiretroviral treatment could be dangerous. As dangerous as the HIV antiretrovirals? I wouldn't know. I do know that there is very little research on using HIV ARVs for XMRV. I also note that the improvements on the HIV ARVs are not as good as some have wished. One thing, people who have XMRV will be taking ARVs for the rest of their lives, at enormous expense.

Dosage of ALA
This is actually the 2nd time I have tried ALA. About 16mths ago I was on 100gms every 3 hours for 5mths and was bed bound for the 3 days a week I was taking it. For the entire time I was taking this dosage I did not experience major improvement, which I now put down to the fact that the dose was too high. About 4weeks after discontinuing the ALA, I made a dramatic improvement which lasted for 6mths. This improvement was greater than I had ever experienced in 20 years of suffering with CFS. I started doing light weights and took up the guitar. In other words I was putting on muscle and had the mental acuity to learn a new skill. I then had a relapse.

When I took ALA up again 4 months ago, I was very bad. However, with the improvements I have seen I am convinced the ALA has been beneficial.

This is a long way of explaining that yes, the dosage could be lowered. At the moment it is at the level recommended by Cutler. He does say that there are diminishing returns from increased dosage. For those starting off, by all means start at a lower dosage and build up.

Side-effects are less
However, all my side-effects, irrespective of their nature, have diminished in intensity. So whatever the cause, it seems to be less of a factor. At no time were my side effects on 50mg worse than a typical bad CFS day. The only reason I was able to associate these side effects with the ALA was the timing and frequency.

Mercury chelation
There is very little research on mercury chelation, and even less on diagnosing chronic mercury toxicity. I don't know if I have mercury toxicity. I am skeptical of the doctor's analysis. I note also that there is research showing that XMRV may lead to mercury build up.

Antiretroviral effect
Also I will say the way my illness improved and continued to stabilise for 6 mths before it dipped again leads me to suspect its XMRV that I have and the ALA is working as a cheap anti-retroviral.

ALA was indicated very early in the piece as effective against XMRV. I simply can't afford to go on the expensive antiretrovirals. Also I note that everyone on the HIV antiretrovirals has had severe and quite disabling side effects, for at least 4 months.

I am also taking heavy doses of multivitamins to answer some of the other queries.

Every 3 hours
It is important, according to Cutler, to take ALA every three hours, so that the new dose mops up loose mercury or other toxins before they are redeposited. When this protocol is carried out ALA is more effective than most other chelators. In a study of the effectiveness of chelators, ALA was not at the top, however that study did not dose every three hours. A quick google will bring up much of this information. Cutler considers it a monumental waste of time and dangerous (in the case of mercury toxicity) if the dose is not taken every 3 hours.

Every 3 hours reiterated
My own experience during the high dosage threatment was that if I missed the 3 hours slot, I got very specific intense headaches within 40 minutes or so, which disappeared as soon as I took ALA.

Blood Brain Barrier
ALA's ability to pass the Blood Brain Barrier is a positive. Cutler says it is effective because it is one of the few chelators that pass the BBB to pick up mercury etc in brain tissue. I note that if XMRV is in the brain, as seems likely, then ALA would be ideal as a treatment

Future progress
I will continue with the ALA as long as I continue to see progress and will post progress reports every couple of months, in the hope that what I am experiencing may help out others. Good luck.
 

August59

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Isn't there a time-released ALA now. Wouldn't this help with the every 3 hour inconveinence? Most time-released products kind of "pulse release" anyway, instead of a slow continuos release. Not sure if it would be every 3 hours or not, but that depends greatly on a persons digestive health.
I am curious as to why quite a few of the ALA product advertisements warn against taking it if your B-12 deficient? There are quite a few of them that have Benfotiamine incorporated with it too.
 

aquariusgirl

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sorry a little bit off-topic.. but Mark , i wondered how you were getting on with the KPU?
did you run the test for it?

also, how are you doing with the OSR?

I was taking it and not noticing much ....although it did seem to help mop up metals when I had mobilised them with methylation supps... but then I took it with fats ( peanut butter) and whamo.... I got slammed.

Seemed to cause some brain inflammation and enormous fatigue... IT was just the once ...but now I'm scared to go back to it.
Maybe a lower dose?
 

aquariusgirl

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RUsty

Dr amy yasko has found that people who chelate tend to strip lithium.. She recommends supplementing with lithium orotate if lithium is high on a urine essential element or low on a hair test i believe.

Just fyi.

You might wanna check out her comments on this at her forum....www.ch3nutrigenomics.com.
 

RustyJ

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Dr amy yasko has found that people who chelate tend to strip lithium.. She recommends supplementing with lithium orotate if lithium is high on a urine essential element or low on a hair test i believe.[/url].
Thanks AG, appreciate the tip. Will take a look. I must admit I didn't look much past Cutler. I am wondering how to take the ALA long term as an ARV. Whether I can cut back etc. Does anyone have any ideas?
 
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sorry a little bit off-topic.. but Mark , i wondered how you were getting on with the KPU?
did you run the test for it?

also, how are you doing with the OSR?

I was taking it and not noticing much ....although it did seem to help mop up metals when I had mobilised them with methylation supps... but then I took it with fats ( peanut butter) and whamo.... I got slammed.

Seemed to cause some brain inflammation and enormous fatigue... IT was just the once ...but now I'm scared to go back to it.
Maybe a lower dose?

The KPU was doing me great for a bit. I was dumping metals after 4 weeks or so and I felt like the lights just flipped on. Much of my spaciness and cognitive difficulties cleared up like magic for a few days.. However, I had some stress and from dealing with stuff and all my symtpoms came back. Haven;t been able to get back since(that was a few months ago). The KPU thing seems real for me and hope I can get it working again..


The OSR is a strange character. It helps when I can absorb it properly, however sometimes it just makes me worse. I think it has to do with the health of ones gut and ability to process that OSR; it has sulfur I think and I can't process sulfur well. SO I take molybdenum and taurine (I thnk these help with sulfur not sure). I also take vitamin C with the OSR( vitamin C really helps get OSR into your systme wihtout yeasat) and take saccramyces(to displace H2s I've been told) along with acidpholis. When I can get the OSR working, it will do wonders for a bit. however, I just keep crashing and can't seem to stabelize.
 

froufox

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Hi RustyJ

Thanks for sharing your experience, its very interesting to read your post and encouraging to read of your improvements from taking ALA. Ive also been taking ALA recently alongside DMSA too as per Cutler after reading about its anti-retroviral properties. I do have mercury toxicity and have been doing Cutler on and off anyway for the last few yrs but can still only tolerate a very low dose otherwise the effects can get pretty horrific!! I'm taking just 6.25mg at the moment.

Although I do notice improvements whilst taking both ALA or DMSA both energy and moodwise during a round, I also tend to get lots of brain inflammation, severe adrenal stress and depression following a round. I've also experienced some normalisation of brain function with reduced inflammation usually a couple of days after i finish a round. Whether this is because it is acting as an anti-retroviral or due to it pulling metals out or both I dont know but will continue on with it and hope that I'm on the right track! As u say its a very cheap alternative to the ARVs and I think ALA is a great supplement for us to take anyway because it has so many other properties, antioxidant wise and protecting the mitochondria.

Anyway it will be interesting to follow your progress. Good luck!!
 

Rrrr

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every 3 hrs, as in wake up in the middle of the night and take an ALA pill?

also, doesn't cheney recommend AGAINST ALA, or is that my imagination?

thanks for posting. i just got some K-Pax and it is supposed to help HIV and CFS patients a lot (developed by an HIV doc), and you are to take a lot of it a few times a day, and it has ALA and NAC as key ingredients

http://www.kpaxpharm.com/vitaminsandsupplements/immunesystemboosters/immune-support-caps
 

RustyJ

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every 3 hrs, as in wake up in the middle of the night and take an ALA pill?
This is a sticking point with many who are thinking of taking ALA. And I can understand why. At acute onset I went without sleep for about two weeks. No yawning. It was scary. For the next five years or so, never got more than 4 hours sleep, despite taking 3 different sedating and anti anxiety medications at the same time. Sleep disturbance is a big one for me still today.

In my experience it's not really a problem withe ALA every three hours. ALA seems to make sleeping easier (deeper, less head pain, feeling of enjoying sleep). I have my supply right next to my head. Alarms set on my phone. Don't even really wake up. Have never had any trouble dropping off to sleep again immediately, ever.
 

RustyJ

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I am assuming you don't have any amalgam fillings in your mouth?
Hi Ace. Took them all out a long time ago. I have just about every molar filled, so had plenty of mercury in the first place, but had no improvement when the amalgams were taken out. If mercury was a problem, it was probably already in tissue in high levels.
 

leela

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Also a timely thread for me, as I have just finished a round of transdermal DMSA plus 25mg ALA
every three (or four at night) hours. It is always a sluggish and toxicky three days, but boy, since I stopped, I have definitely been flattened by that truck others were talking about, and the migraine that didn't quit for 4 days despite migraine meds and an IV.

Since this is the first time I have added the ALA, I sense it is really pulling out more metals than the body is excreting. I always take the hideously expensive pectasol product for mopping, though after this three-day round, I got so spacey I forgot to use the TD glutathione that I usually apply during and between rounds, the absence of which might have made that truck bigger and with larger treads!

I am dealing with large amounts of lead and an unknown quantum of mercury. The practitioner I work with for chelation suggested ALA at 600mg 2X/day! I think that would have sent me to the next dimension! Even at the dose I was doing, I feel unsure if I should continue it--on the one hand, it clearly was pulling stuff from the brain, yet on the other, I now have all kinds of weird aches and pains that I sense are due to redistribution, gigantor brainswell, and a general flat-out awfulness that has lasted for five/six days after the round and my blood is still, all these days later, showing signs of high toxicity.

Gosh there is *so* much to work out with this illness. I really get overwhelmed trying to figure it all out. Not to mention tired of the multiple handfuls of things to swallow every day. Can't we just be better now please?
 

dannybex

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Same here...

This is a sticking point with many who are thinking of taking ALA. And I can understand why. At acute onset I went without sleep for about two weeks. No yawning. It was scary. For the next five years or so, never got more than 4 hours sleep, despite taking 3 different sedating and anti anxiety medications at the same time. Sleep disturbance is a big one for me still today.

In my experience it's not really a problem withe ALA every three hours. ALA seems to make sleeping easier (deeper, less head pain, feeling of enjoying sleep). I have my supply right next to my head. Alarms set on my phone. Don't even really wake up. Have never had any trouble dropping off to sleep again immediately, ever.
I had the same experience as Rusty. I thought it would really be a problem waking up every 3 or 3 1/2 hours, but exactly the same thing occurred: I woke up, even went to the bathroom sometimes, took the ALA, then back to sleep within minutes.

I didn't know it had anti-retroviral properties...???