Improvement of insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus after oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid

Hormones (Athens). Oct-Dec 2006;5(4):251-8. doi: 10.14310/horm.2002.11191.


Background: Amelioration of insulin resistance could improve both glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve insulin action after parenteral administration.

Objective: the aim of the study was to assess the effect of oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid on insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Design: twelve patients (mean+/-sD; age 52.9+/-9.9 yrs; body mass index 33.9+/-7.4 kg/m(2)) were treated with oral alpha-lipoic acid, 600 mg twice daily over a period of 4 weeks. twelve subjects with normal glucose tolerance served as a control group in terms of insulin sensitivity (Is). Is was measured by a 2h manual hyperinsulinaemic (insulin infusion rate-40 mU/m(2 )body surface area/min) euglycaemic (blood glucose kept at 5 mmol/l) clamp technique and expressed as a glucose disposal rate (M) and insulin sensitivity index (IsI).

Results: At the end of the treatment period, Is of diabetic patients was significantly increased: M from 3.202+/-1.898 to 5.951+/-2.705 mg/kg/min (mean+/-sD), p<0.01; and IsI from 4.706+/-2.666 to 7.673+/-3.559 mg/kg/min per mIU/l x 100 (mean+/-sD), p<0.05. the difference was not statistically significant between the Is of diabetic patients after alpha-lipoic acid therapy and control subjects.

Conclusion: short-term oral alpha-lipoic acid treatment increases peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Thioctic Acid