A Powerful Natural Antioxidant for Health and Beauty

Antimicrobial Protective Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Fight Infections

Research shows that alpha lipoic acid can directly kill or inhibit the growth of some microbes. However, many of alpha lipoic acid's benefits in cases of bacterial or viral infections seem to be indirect. Some examples include:

Table II.8: Alpha Lipoic Acid's Potential Antimicrobial Benefits
Condition Effect

Coxsackievirus B3 Infection

Animal studies suggest that alpha lipoic acid could help prevent tissue damage in organs caused by the virus. This includes protecting the heart, lung, and pancreas. In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, alpha lipoic acid blocks calcification caused by damage in infected soft tissue. (ii.124)


Clinical Study

Combining alpha lipoic acid with other herbs, vitamins, and nutrients may help treat hepatitis C. In one small study, some patients who took alpha lipoic acid with vitamin C, vitamin E, silymarin, and other herbs showed improvement of symptoms. (ii.96)

HIV virus

Clinical Trial

Alpha lipoic acid significantly blocks replication of HIV-1 virus in cells in lab studies. In clinical trials, taking alpha lipoic acid supported the immune system in patients with HIV infection. (ii.90125-126)

Influenza A Viruses

At high concentrations, alpha lipoic acid blocks bird flu virus from replicating. It also inhibits factors in cells that promote susceptibility of cells to infection. (ii.31)

Mediterranean Spotted Fever (MSF)

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Similar to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, MSF is transmitted by ticks infected with Rickettsia bacteria. Research demonstrates alpha lipoic acid boosts natural antioxidants in infected animals. This helps protect cells from damage caused by the bacteria. (ii.127)

Alpha lipoic acid could also prove useful in treating Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lab studies show alpha lipoic acid has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in infected cells. (ii.128)

Opportunistic Infections

Patients with severe burns or compromised immune systems are particularly prone to infection. Research suggests that alpha lipoic acid could help by reducing the ability of bacteria to swarm and form more infectious biofilms. (ii.129)

Interestingly, it may be alpha lipoic acid ability to bind iron that blocks bacterial activity. That's because some bacteria need iron to form biofilms. (ii.129)

Periodontal Disease

Clinical Study

Chronic gum disease is caused by an over-stressed immune system reaction to bacteria in the mouth found in plaque. Lab and human studies suggest that using alpha lipoic acid could help treat periodontitis. Its primary benefit appears to be reducing the inflammatory immune response to the bacteria. (ii.130-131)


Severe system-wide bacterial infections, or sepsis, can cause septic shock and organ failure. Animal studies suggest that alpha lipoic acid can help. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to protect organs such as the heart and brain during sepsis caused by various bacteria. (ii.132-133)

Upper Respiratory Infection

Clinical Study

Loss of smell can be a persistent symptom following an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus. In a small, open clinical study, some patients treated with alpha lipoic acid supplements showed significant benefits. Although alpha lipoic acid was unable to help all, 14 of the 23 patients had moderate to remarkable improvement in their sense of smell. The dosage used was 600 mg/day for an average of 4.5 months. (ii.134)

Mediterranean spotted fever is caused by Rickettsia conorii Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria. (ii.127)
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