Caution: Using Alpha Lipoic Acid If You're Choline Deficient Might Be Dangerous

Choline is a necessary nutrient for good health. A choline-deficient diet is associated with fatty liver disease. It may also increase the risk for cancer. In fact, choline deficiency is known to promote precancerous changes in the liver. (iv.36155)

If your diet is low in choline, you may be thinking about taking alpha lipoic acid to lower the risk of fatty liver disease. However, one study suggests it may be dangerous to take alpha lipoic acid combined with a choline-deficient diet if there's a chance of exposure to carcinogens(iv.3638)

Who Is At Risk of Choline Deficiency?

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Choline is primarily found in foods that are considered high in fat and cholesterol. With the advent of low-fat diets to lower cholesterol, some people may be at risk of choline deficiency. (iv.155)

Why Is It Risky to Take Alpha Lipoic Acid If You Are Choline Deficient?

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As stated, choline deficiency increases the risk of fatty liver disease. It also increases the cancer-causing effects of toxins. Research has shown that alpha lipoic acid may help prevent and treat fatty liver disease. Studies have also shown it can protect the liver (and other organs) against toxic chemicals — including diethylnitrosamine, which causes the formation of precancerous lesions. So what's the problem? (iv.36156)

Results of one study suggest that alpha lipoic acid could increase the cancer risk of choline deficiency. In the study, animals were fed a choline-deficient diet and also exposed to diethylnitrosamine. Alpha lipoic acid supplements increased the growth of precancerous lesions in the animals' livers. (iv.36)

Choline supplements counteracted most of the carcinogen's effects. Choline also prevented the adverse promotion of those effects by alpha lipoic acid. Still, the study's authors suggest it may be dangerous to take alpha lipoic acid combined with a choline-deficient diet. (iv.36)