J Neural Transm Suppl. 2007;(72):189-93.
Alpha-lipoic acid as a new treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease–a 48 months follow-up analysis.
Hager K, Kenklies M, McAfoose J, Engel J, Münch G.
Department of Medical Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Henriettenstiftung, Hannover, Germany.
Oxidative stress and neuronal energy depletion are characteristic biochemical hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It is therefore conceivable that pro-energetic and antioxidant drugs such as alpha-lipoic acid might delay the onset or slow down the progression of the disease. In a previous study, 600mg alpha-lipoic acid was given daily to nine patients with AD (receiving a standard treatment with choline-esterase inhibitors) in an open-label study over an observation period of 12 months. The treatment led to a stabilization of cognitive functions in the study group, demonstrated by constant scores in twoneuropsychological tests (the mini mental state exam, MMSE and the Alzheimer’s diseaseassessment score cognitive subscale, ADAScog). In this report, we have extended the analysis to 43 patients over an observation period of up to 48 months. In patients with mild dementia (ADAScog < 15), the disease progressed extremely slowly (ADAScog: +1.2 points/year, MMSE: -0.6 points/year), in patients with moderate dementia at approximately twice the rate. However, the progression appears dramatically lower than data reported for untreated patients or patients on choline-esterase inhibitors in the second year of long-term studies. Despite the fact that this study was not double-blinded, placebo-controlled and randomized, our data suggest that treatment with alpha-lipoic acid might be a successful ‘neuroprotective’ therapy option for AD. However, a state-of-the-art phase II trial is needed urgently.
After thinking ‘ALA is being used in MS, MS seem similar to Alzheimer’s,’ I wondered if maybe someone was using it in a trial for Alzheimer’s. Great minds think alike. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant, soluble in both fat and water, and this gives it a lot of potential as a neuroprotective antioxidant, as it can go just about everywhere in the body.