Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplementation for weight loss: results from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Obes Rev. 2017 May;18(5):594-601. doi: 10.1111/obr.12528. Epub 2017 Mar 13.


Objectives: Obesity is associated with significant morbidity and mortality rates. Even modest weight loss may be associated with health benefits. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring antioxidant. Studies have suggested anti-obesity properties of ALA; however, results are inconsistent. The purpose of this study is to conduct a meta-analysis of the effect of ALA on weight and body mass index (BMI).

Methods: A comprehensive, systematic literature search identified 10 articles on randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies involving ALA. We conducted a meta-analysis of mean weight and BMI change differences between ALA and placebo treatment groups.

Results: Alpha-lipoic acid treatment coincided with a statistically significant 1.27 kg (confidence interval = 0.25 to 2.29) greater mean weight loss compared with the placebo group. A significant overall mean BMI difference of -0.43 kg/ m2 (confidence interval = -0.82 to -0.03) was found between the ALA and placebo groups. Meta-regression analysis showed no significance in ALA dose on BMI and weight changes. Study duration significantly affected BMI change, but not weight change.

Conclusions: Alpha-lipoic acid treatment showed small, yet significant short-term weight loss compared with placebo. Further research is needed to examine the effect of different doses and the long-term benefits of ALA on weight management.

Keywords: Alpha-lipoic acid; body mass; diabetes; thioctic acid.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Thioctic Acid