A Powerful Natural Antioxidant for Health and Beauty

How Does Alpha Lipoic Acid Work Against Cancer?


Alpha lipoic acid is a sulfur-based, natural compound our cells produce. Mitochondria, the organelles in cells that make cell energy from the food we eat, rely on alpha lipoic acid to work properly. The alpha lipoic acid we get from food sources or supplements quickly metabolizes into dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA). Both alpha lipoic acid and DHLA have a number of cancer-fighting properties. These include: (iv.1-3)

Table IV.1: Alpha Lipoic Acid's Anticancer Effects


(in healthy cells)

Alpha lipoic acid also helps reactivate and restore other dietary antioxidants in the body (such as vitamin C and vitamin E).


(in premalignant and cancer cells)

  • Boosts levels of free radicals in the cancer cell.
  • Increases damage to tumor cell mitochondria.
  • Promotes apoptosis, a non-inflammatory type of cell death.
  • Reduces cell energy that cancer cells need to live and replicate.
  • Increases Nrf2, a protein that triggers the antioxidant-response element (ARE) in genes.
  • Boosts production of detoxifying enzymes (via ARE).
  • Raises levels of natural antioxidants (such as glutathione) via ARE.
  • Downregulates NF-κB, at low concentrations. NF-κB is a transcription factor type of protein that triggers oncogenes. It is known to promote inflammation and contributes to the development or progression of cancer and other diseases.
  • Inhibits COX-2, an inflammatory enzyme that promotes cancer.
  • Promotes tumor cell death.
  • Decreases cell energy that cancer cells need to live and replicate.

Cancer cells metabolize glucose for cell energy differently than healthy cells. Alpha lipoic acid targets and blocks the enzyme cancer cells need to do so, without harming normal cells.

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