Alpha lipoic acid: a novel treatment for depression

Med Hypotheses. 2000 Dec;55(6):510-2. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2000.1103.


Insulin resistance has been associated with people diagnosed with depression. Conversely, it has also been documented that diabetics have an increased risk of depression. Evidence suggests that insulin activity plays a role in serotonergic activity by increasing the influx of tryptophan into the brain. This increased influx of tryptophan has been shown to result in an increase in serotonin synthesis. In accordance with the serotonin theory of depression, it may be possible to treat depression by increasing insulin activity. The antioxidant alpha lipoic acid has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and is used to treat people with diabetes. Therefore, the nutrient alpha lipoic acid should be clinically tested as an adjunct treatment for depression.

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / physiology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Insulin
  • Serotonin
  • Thioctic Acid