Effects of controlled-release alpha lipoic acid in lean, nondiabetic patients with polycystic ovary syndrome

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 Mar 1;4(2):359-64. doi: 10.1177/193229681000400218.


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a preparation of controlled-release alpha lipoic acid (CRLA) influences features of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods: We administered CRLA 600 mg twice daily for 16 weeks to six lean, nondiabetic patients with PCOS. Insulin sensitivity was measured by the euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp. Plasma lipids were measured by vertical ultracentrifugation. Oxidative stress markers were measured in serum.

Results: At the end of 16 weeks of CRLA treatment, there was a 13.5% improvement in insulin sensitivity as determined by the euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp (p < .03). There was also a lowering of triglyceride levels (p < .04) and a shift in the distribution of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles toward the larger, more buoyant LDL subclass fraction. Two of the subjects who were not on oral contraception had an increased number of menstrual cycles. Controlled-release alpha lipoic acid treatment, however, was neither associated with an increase in plasma antioxidant capacity nor with a reduction in plasma lipid oxidation products.

Conclusions: These data suggest that the CRLA has positive effects on the PCOS phenotype. The effects of CRLA, however, may have been exerted through a mechanism not involving changes in oxidative stress.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00505427.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glucose Clamp Technique / methods
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / blood
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / classification
  • Menstrual Cycle / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Thinness / blood
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Insulin
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Thioctic Acid
  • Cholesterol

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00505427