Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring1 vitamin-like compound with antioxidant properties2 which may assist in enhancing weight loss and may have health benefits for people with diabetes3. It has also been shown to possibly help with symptoms associated with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)4 and improve sperm quality, thereby possibly helping couples who are struggling with reproductive issues4,5.

Antioxidants have a vital role to play in protecting our cells from damage1.  Alpha-Lipoic Acid is a naturally occurring1 compound with antioxidant properties2.  It is produced inside the cells in our bodies where they help enzymes to turn nutrients into energy3.

Powerful antioxidant properties

Its antioxidant properties3 means that Alpha-Lipoic Acid may not only help to prevent certain kinds of cell damage in the body, but ALA may also regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C2.

We only produce Alpha-Lipoic Acid in small amounts3.  Given its potential health benefits, some people try to increase the amount of ALA containing foods in their diet and may use a supplement containing ALA1.

May assist people with diabetes

There is some evidence that supplementation with ALA may improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and may enhance weight loss in adults.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid and reproductive health

While the health benefits seem plentiful, it is the promising affect that Alpha-Lipoic Acid may have on reproductive health which is gaining much attention, particularly its possible effect on PCOS and male reproductive health issues4,5.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder6 that affects as many as 10% of the female population6 and includes symptoms such as irregular periods, excess facial hair, acne, and possible reproductive health issues7. It is defined as a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age8.

Possible therapy for PCOS

Studies have shown that Alpha-Lipoic Acid may be used as a possible therapy for PCOS4. Besides its antioxidant properties4, it has also been shown to possibly help promote healthy glucose metabolism, resulting in reduced body weight, body mass index and waist circumference4.

Male reproductive health issues

Alpha-Lipoic Acid has also shown positive effects assisting with male reproductive health issues, through studies showing that it may improve sperm quality5. Of the approximate 1 in 6 couples who experience reproductive issues, almost half of these cases can be attributed to a fertility issue in men9.

According to the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (https://ifaasa.co.za/), many researchers believe the increase in declining male fertility may be due to environmental factors such as exposure to pesticide and chemical exposure, medication use, radiation, and pollution10, which cause harmful free radicals11.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between these free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Oxidation is a normal and necessary process that takes place, but oxidative stress occurs when there is a disparity between free radical activity and antioxidant activity11. Oxidative stress can have a harmful effect on sperm production9.

Once again, supplementation with Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Myo-Inositol has been shown to possibly assist with the production of healthy sperm and support reproductive health by reducing oxidative stress12.

Three-in-one formulation

Sinopol® (www.sinopol.co.za), from iNova Pharmaceuticals, contains a unique ingredient combination of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (400 mg), Myo-Inositol (1000 mg) and Folic Acid (200 µg) to help manage the symptoms of PCOS, including PCOS related reproductive issues, reduce oxidative stress and insulin resistance.13.

 Now also available in South Africa, is SINOPOL® him (www.sinopol.co.za), which contains Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Myo-Inositol as well as Coenzyme Q10, selenium, zinc and vitamins B2, B6 and B12, all active ingredients designed to help support normal male reproductive health14.

Proprietary name (and dosage form): SINOPOL® Granules. Composition: Each sachet contains: Myo-inositol 1 000 mg, Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg and Folic Acid 200 μg. Complementary Medicine: Health Supplement.  D34.12 Multiple Substance formulation. This unregistered medicine has not been evaluated by SAHPRA for its quality, safety or intended use. Studies as part of the references were not conducted on Sinopol®. Proprietary name (and dosage form): SINOPOL® him Granules. Composition: Each sachet contains: Myo-inositol 500 mg, Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg, Coenzyme Q1O 100 mg, Zinc 7,5 mg, Vitamin B2 1,4 mg, Vitamin B6 1,4 mg, Selenium 41,5 μg and Vitamin B12 2,5 μg. Complementary Medicine: Health Supplement. D34.12 Multiple Substance formulation.  This unregistered medicine has not been evaluated by SAHPRA for its quality, safety or intended use. Studies as part of the references were not conducted on Sinopol® him sachets; efficacy is proven on active ingredients. Name and business address of applicant: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For more information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN3998/20

References:

  1. Web MD. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) (2019) at https://www.webmd.com/diet/alpha-lipoic-acid-ala#1 (website accessed on 25 August 2020)
  2. WEB MD. ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID overview (2020) at https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-767/alpha-lipoic-acid (website accessed on 25 August 2020)
  3. Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Weight Loss, Other Benefits and Side Effects (2019) at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/alpha-lipoic-acid#side-effects (website accessed on 25 August 2020)
  4. Fruzzetti, F et al. Clinical and Metabolic Effects of Alpha-Lipoic Acid Associated with Two Different Doses of Myo-Inositol in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. International Journal of Endocrinology. Volume 2020, Article ID 2901393, 8 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/2901393
  5. Ibrahim, SF et al. A study of the antioxidant effect of alpha lipoic acids on sperm quality. Clinics 2008; 64:545-50
  6. Barthelmess EK, Naz RK. Polycystic ovary syndrome: current status and future perspective. Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2014 Jan 1; 6:104-19.
  7. Web MD. Why is PCOS hard to diagnose (2016) at https://www.webmd.com/women/features/pcos-polycistic-ovary-syndrome-women#1 (Website accessed on3 July 2019)
  8. Mayo Clinic. Polycystic ovary syndrome (2017) at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443 (Website accessed on3 July 2019)
  9. Agarwal A, Virk G, Ong C, et al. Effect of Oxidative Stress on Male Reproduction. World J Mens Health 2014;32(1):1-17
  10. Risk Factors for Men (2020) at https://ifaasa.co.za/2015/10/24/risk-factors-men/(website accessed 25 August 2020)
  11. Everything You Should Know About Oxidative Stress (2018) at https://www.healthline.com/health/oxidative-stress#takeaway (website accessed 29 July 2020)
  12. Canepa P, Dal Lago A, De Leo C, et al. Combined treatment with myo-inositol, alpha-lipoic acid, folic acid and vitamins significantly improves sperm parameters of sub-fertile men: a multi-centric study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2018; 22:7078-7085.
  13. Sinopol® package insert, February 2019.
  14. Sinopol® him approved package insert, October 2019.