Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation prevents symptoms of vitamin E deficiency

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1994 Oct 14;204(1):98-104. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1994.2431.


alpha-Lipoic acid, an essential cofactor in mitochondrial dehydrogenases, has recently been shown to be a potent antioxidant in vitro, as well as being capable of regenerating vitamin E in vitro. In this study, using a new animal model for rapid vitamin E deficiency in adult animals and a new technique for tissue extraction of oxidized and reduced alpha-lipoic acid, we examined the antioxidant action of alpha-lipoic acid in vivo. Vitamin E-deficient adult hairless mice displayed obvious symptoms of deficiency within five weeks, but if the diet was supplemented with alpha-lipoic acid the animals were completely protected. At five weeks on a vitamin E-deficient diet animals exhibited similar decreases in tissue vitamin E levels, whether supplemented or unsupplemented with alpha-lipoic acid: vitamin E levels in liver, kidney, heart, and skin decreased 70 to 85%; levels in brain decreased only 25%. These data show that there was no effect of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on vitamin E tissue concentrations, arguing against a role for alpha-lipoic acid in regenerating vitamin E in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diet*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Thioctic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Thioctic Acid / metabolism
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Vitamin E / analysis
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • Vitamin E Deficiency / physiopathology*
  • Vitamin E Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Vitamin E
  • Thioctic Acid
  • dihydrolipoic acid