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Avatar universal

Dangers of Alpha Lipoic Acid IV Therapy !

Here is just one of the many dangers of ALA IV therapy:

This is from Pubmed which is considered to be very trustworthy by the medical community.


"We conclude that large doses of lipoic acid displace sulfhydryls from binding sites, resulting in depletion of serum cysteine, but also pose a methylation burden with severe depletion of liver S-adenosylmethionine and massive release of S-adenosylhomocysteine. These changes may have previously unrecognized deleterious (harmful) effects that should be investigated in both human disease and experimental models"
164 Responses
Avatar universal
100 mg/kg lipoic acid in a rat model.

You have to be kidding.  Do you have any idea how much that would be in Human terms?
Avatar universal
I agree. I weigh 80 kg. That equals a dose of 8000mg. I take 400mg per IV. This smells like a hit-job to me. Twenty times a regular dose of most things would be harmful, if not fatal.
Avatar universal
"We conclude that large doses..." That is a true statement, however, a truer statement might be "We conclude that incredibly huge doses..." might be more accurate.
Avatar universal
just going by what is published in Pubmed. "should be investigated" , "harmful effects".

If berkson claims can be posted here then articles from Pubmed to counter berkson can be posted as well. I will believe peer reviewed pubmed articles before berkson.

"These changes may have previously unrecognized deleterious (harmful) effects that should be investigated in both human disease and experimental models"
Avatar universal
I will be posting many more links in the next few days about the harmful effects of ALA IV's.

I think a low dose in caps is fine and helpful. But not IV's costing thousands of dollars. There is where it becomes a scam.
233616 tn?1312790796
so, in other words, if we drink a quart of oil a day it will make us sick ??

who is going to do that? who finaces these studies and why is what I wonder!!

you might as well add what protein overload, or oxygen overload, or severe weather exposure will do to people. Every severe exposure does harm.

the truth is essential fatty acids are crucial to good health.
they exist in most of the foods we eat, they are so crucial the liver MAKES them even when we don't eat them, because without them we die.

essential fatty acid prevent oxidation, a chief culprit in both inflammation, fibrosis, and HCC....let's look at the pub med proofs there as well.

do people need IV's of the stuff...no....they don't, that I think may be if not a scam, at least taking advantage of folks not knowing the chemistry or the science....
you can change your profile through diet very easily.  I increase my HDL 40 pt's in only 2 months...just by minor changes to diet and a supplement.

I'm getting really tired of studies where they give rats 100 to 1000 times more of something than would be normally found....and then pronounce the substance as evil.
I'm very suspicious of who is behind these type aberant studies...yes, we do need to know when something becomes toxic, but we cannot conclude that an overdose makes a therapeutic level bad...that is faulty logic.

Which things can you name that would not produce reactions if 100 times more was taken than normal?

answer:  nothing.

Even air and water aren't safe in such cases. If you took 100 times more water everyday than you need you will die, likewise with oxygen same thing...dead....by this standard then, the ALA is pretty safe, even overdosed to the max it doesn't kill you like most things would!!

Avatar universal
I know this is off topic but can you elaborate about the HDL increase. what supplement did you take. I'm trying to raise my HDL. please dont say ALA injections :-)

979080 tn?1323437239
If anyone is truly interested in the Berkson protocol I recommend go and see the

man and talk in person to his patients.

I have done that extensively and it was a great investment. Nothing like talking to

people who arrived there with blown up spleens and bleeding  varcises ect....

and who are now doing much ,much better.

There is no article , study ect...... that can ever ever replace

real people and there real life stories and experiences.

By the way the amount of ALA given at Dr. Berkson is carefully

measured on case by case basis and he was FDA authorized

as the first physician ever to do ALA IVs in the 70s. Yes that

long !

233616 tn?1312790796
here' a good primer on lipoic acids...


also note 1st paragraph, essential to life, you die without it...your gut and liver make it...

also note 309 studies follow this exegesis

309 medical studies...we report, you decide.

I can tell you this, I eat oatmeal for breakfast, sardines for a snack (many foods contain lipoic acids but because I am trying to keep my iron rich food consumption down, I choose to take a supplement and to choose foods rich in lipoic acid but not as high in iron (meat and broccoili are good but high iron.)
the supplement means I could increase my HDL profile without extra iron.
results=HDL rose nicely, LDL remained close to the same, overall profile is more hdl than ldl and low triglycerides now, before, not so.

other benefit= my neuropathy has reversed...I am no longer having the pins and needles or sharp stuck with a pin or dull deep aches I was having in my feet.
In fact, no hand pain the last couple months....very surprising.
my blood sugars are normal again, I have no need of type 2 meds so have discontinued them..
my seizures are much better than before and I am able to sleep again without the dopamine antagonist requip. Actually doing better without it since adding the ALA than I was doing with the requip and no ALA....(and no headaches like the requip gave me...so this really does settle down nerves, I can see why the MS community has come fully into this court.

all these corrections were well documented 50 years ago by Linus Pauling, Nobel Prize winner for his research into nutritional components.
they have been restudies and reconfirmed by researchers all over the world...

thank goodness people can pull up all the studies themselves and not rely on one or 2 abberant studies.

ALA is extensively used now by the diebetic and MS community because it is known to sooth nerves, reduce neuropathy, increase normal metabolic rate, reduce insulin resistance, and on and on.  Lately it is receiving even more press for it's role as an antioxidant and possible benefits to liver patients in need of oxidative relief although it will be a while before we know for certain it's role here it appears to not compromise methalation unless overdosed form what I've seen and read.
The truth is, most anything will mess with methalation if you eat enough.
HR, medical doctor, tried to warn us about eating small amounts more often...not sure who took that advice but it's true, a compromised liver can't take as much or anything....so a word to the wise here.
Another essential known as PPC is also showing much promise in this area of oxidation relief as well as fibrosis reversal. If you stop to think about it it makes sense...abberant cells leads to more fibrosis, the sooner a cell goes rouge the sooner it causes distorted growth and scarring around it...

Obviously 309 studies is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is clear that oils do effect oxidation.

Anyone who owns a cast iron skillet knows how this works.

If you wash your pan, and leave it unoiled it will oxidize and start turning the tell tale red immediately, but if you season it with a little oil rubbed on, it will not oxidize.

Since oxygen interacts with stored iron in the liver, the idea is to keep oxidation low, as oxidation produced free radicals which are the precursors to cancer. The more free radicals formed, the more likely one will succumb to liver cancer. The free radical is what causes the cell to mutate into a cancer cell. Oxygen causes free radicals...we need it to breathe and live, but too much is deleterious.
Liver cancer is the 7th largest killer in the USA.
Ergo, low iron and good fats offer protection against the dreaded HCC to which 3-5 people reading this, out of every hundred reading, will succumb this year.

Since so much information exists as to the benefit, and only a spare few studies using overdosing exist to the contrary, I leave it to the reader to decide whether an ounce of prevention might be worth a pound of cure here.

BTW, liver cancer is almost never survived, it is a rapidly spreading almost always fatal condition so this might be something to think through in advance. If you have HCV you are at a much higher risk for liver cancer, higher than the 1 in 7 rate that exists in the general populace.
In fact at the HCV rate of 3-5% per annum that means in 10 years between 25% and 50% of us reading this will have developed HCCancer. That's scary stuff.

Avatar universal
As merrybe said, lipoic acid is an endogenous substance, meaning it is made by the body.  It is essential to life. The liver is packed with it when we are young; our bodies make less of it as we grow older.

Lately you have been touting vitamin d on the board, which I approve of. As with lipoic acid, there is tons of evidence showing its therapeutic value. What would happen if you took a 20-40 X dose? It's called vitamin d toxicity. Same with vitamin a. Does that mean you shouldn't take safe doses of those vitamins?

What would a 20-40 X dose of INF/riba do to you? Obvious damage. Does that mean you shouldn't take the prescribed dose?
979080 tn?1323437239
ALA like everything else can be overdosed. Dr. Berkson writes about it in his book.
I think they tested it on monkeys to see what happens if it gets overdosed.

Avatar universal
Hi, folks,

Several posts have been removed from this discussion because they were off-topic and/or disrespectful.  I appreciate your understanding.

Avatar universal
I will say it again. I do believe in supplements INCLUDING Alpha Lipoic Acid. I do NOT believe in it with IV use, especially with the expensive way treating with berkson. I think it is a scam and dangerous. I feel he is taking advantage of people with serious illness who have no where else to turn.

If there was any validity in berkson's claims it would be FDA approved and covered by insurance !!!

Many studies done and still no FDA approval, what does that tell you............It tells me that although there have been some promising results NOTHING have been proven !!!

That is all I have to say on this subject. I will continue to post the dangers of "IV" ALA use.
979080 tn?1323437239
supplements covered by insurance ? that would be great indeed.

By the way in Germany you need rx for alpha lipoic acid and it is

therefore covered by insurance. Dr. Berkson used to import Thiotic Acid

directly from Germany but because of import issues he now

uses ALA from European Source made by McGuff Compounding Pharm

in Ca, why because over there it is regulated as medicine

and you do not get stuff from China which is where most of the US supplements

are coming from these days.
Avatar universal
You said, "If there was any validity in berkson's claims it would be FDA approved and covered by insurance !!!"

FYI, the FDA only approves drugs. Alpha lipoic acid is not a drug, therefore it is not possible for the FDA to approve even it even if it wanted to. The FDA does not approve apples either, that does not prove they are unsafe.

Insurance does not cover many therapies, including many standard therapies that it simply does not want to cover, for instance, pre-existing conditions. Insurance coverage does not validate or invalidate any therapies. It has nothing to do with validity.

You also said, "This is from Pubmed which is considered to be very trustworthy by the medical community." and "I will believe peer reviewed pubmed articles...

Here are two pubmed articles authored by Dr. Berkson, who happens to be the FDA lead investigator of lipoic acid:



Both cases involve intravenous administration of alpha lipoic acid in combination with the oral administration of Low Dose Naltrexone. While these cases involve pancreatic cancer, and not hepatitis c, they certainly do involve the IV administration of alpha lipoic acid, which you claim is unsafe. Additionally, there are a great many examples of studies involving the IV administration of alpha lipoic acid on pubmed with very positive outcomes, including Insulin Resistance, Diabetic Neuropathies, etc, etc.

I am looking forward to see more of the pubmed articles that you claim validate your theories.
Avatar universal
By the way, the two articles authored by Dr. Berkson above involve the intravenous administration of Alpha Lipoic Acid and the oral administration of Low Dose Naltrexone. This is exactly the same protocol that he uses for his hepatitis c patients. Therefore, if we are talking strictly about the safety of the protocol, these two articles are relevant to the conversation.
233616 tn?1312790796
yes, I also heard of the pancreatic reversals...I wonder if that's what they gave to that woman who does the Cancer Center's of America commercial...she had pancreatic cancer...

don't know....I do know like anything we don't want to overshoot on this or any med, natural or synthetic....which is why I got my blood work 2 months ago, and will again this week...I don't want to overshoot...if my number is still rising I will dial back my dose.

however, I think the oxidation is a bigger issue than many folks think.

In fact some geologists say the reason people lived so long (if you believe the biblical ages assigned to the patriarchs) is because the oxygen levels were different pre-flood....it's also impossible for the dinosaurs to have reached their sizes in our current atmospheric pressures....so the theory goes that something striped a lot of the atmosphere away, an asteroid maybe one that hit, or a passer by, who knows....one in Russia and another on the Yuccatan...we weren't here so who knows...but this event changing atmosphere, shifting the continents etc...changing composition and pressures etc.
how does this tie in to alpha lipoic???
the way I see it is that radiation and oxidation are the 2 largest producers of free radicals which degrade cells turning them into malignant monsters.......so if the ozone and other layers were much thicker...people would have lived a lot longer because without the forces that destroy and break down cellular structure there's no telling how long things could survive, we do have repairative features built into each cell....so....in a different atmosphere both plants and animals would have been much bigger...which the geology (and the bible as well) attest to having been the case, huge people and huge creatures....they also could have lived far longer.
maybe seeing rats live much longer is a hint here...rat metabolism is surprising close to human metabolism...why do they live so much longer when this item is added???.

In any event, if we return to diets higher in HDL essential fatty acids we will see some benefits because these allow us to absorb oxygen yet protect against it's damaging effects.

I'm glad to see everyone basically agreeing that some supplementation here may be wisdom....we can wonder whether every doctor out there is on the up and up...but the bottom line is not to throw out the baby with the bath water!!!
92903 tn?1309908311
In fact at the HCV rate of 3-5% per annum that means in 10 years between 25% and 50% of us reading this will have developed HCCancer. That's scary stuff.

How many hunderds of HepC folks are on ths board? How many diagnosises of HCC have we seen in our little cluster of miscreants? The numbers don't add up.

Avatar universal
SVR Improves Survival, Risk for Liver Cancer, Decompensated Liver Disease and Liver Transplant/Death - Also, Transient Viral Suppression (breakthroughs/relapsers) Improves Clinical Outcomes Too

  Reported by Jules Levin
AASLD Oct 31-Nov 3 209, Boston, MA

The main outcome of this study is that SVR reduces risk for HCC, decompensation, liver transplant/liver death any other clinical outcomes compared in the HALT-C Study, which looked at peg/rbv nonresponders and included patients with advanced disease. This is good because some federal government committees have suggested there is not adequate proof that SVR improves clinical outcomes for patients and therefore have not supported federal funding for programs for patients including HCV screening and surveillance and therapy as well.

Although the main outcome of this study was that that SVR reduces cancer, death, clinical outcomes, decompensation.....However......As we know patients included in the HALT-C study had advanced liver disease. Two years ago the HALT-C investigators reported at AASLD that maintenance therapy did NOT provide clinical benefit. These headlines made quite a splash and many clinicians stopped using maintenance therapy as patients & clinicians presumed it had no benefit. Several months later at EASL in April HALT-C investigators presented that if patients had a 4-log viral load reduction there appeared to be some benefit. Now at this AASLD last week the same investigators reported patients in HALT-C who were breakthroughs/relapsers, "patients with viral suppression", had significantly reduced risk of developing any liver-related complication when compared with non-responders; see graphs and table below: reduced risk for "any outcome, decompensation liver transplant/liver death" appear statistically significant, reduced risk for HCC was not statistically significant between nonresponder and breakthrough/relapser but there appeared to be a reduced risk in the number of events.

By the way the HALT-C researchers have refused to share slides after their presentations so they can publish their results. They refused to share the slides 2 years ago after they presented at AASLD that maintenance therapy was NOT beneficial. If the original design of their study inquiries had been better designed to include looking at partial responders we would have had better results 2 years ago and better understood how to use maintenance therapy.

419309 tn?1326506891
You commented:
"In fact at the HCV rate of 3-5% per annum that means in 10 years between 25% and 50% of us reading this will have developed HCCancer. That's scary stuff.

How many hunderds of HepC folks are on ths board? How many diagnosises of HCC have we seen in our little cluster of miscreants? The numbers don't add up."

At a new-diagnosis rate of 3-5% a year, the projected rate in 10 years wouldn't be 25-50%, it's be less than 1/20th of the 3-5%, and of course, that rate would also be per annum.  No need to be scaryDad ;).

On the flip side, in our little cluster, I'm personally aware of 4 diagnosis of hcc within our current membership.  Sadly, the majority of the hcv-hcc diagnosed individuals probably wouldn't be here, as one-year mortality rates post-diagnosis of hcc is close to 90%.

... are there any large-cohort studies, retrospective or otherwise, of standard dose (oral or IV administration) of ALA as it impacts the hcv/hcc population?
419309 tn?1326506891
The above should have said:
"At a new-diagnosis rate of 3-5% a year, the projected rate in 10 years wouldn't be 25-50%, it's be less than 1 in 20 of the 3-5% to develop cirrhosis, and of course, that rate would also be per annum with hcc incidence in the lifetime of that 3-5% population being less than 1 in 400."
Avatar universal
Side Effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid

Digestion Related Problems
One of the very common side effect of alpha lipoic acid is, problems related to digestion. It leads to problem like nausea, upset stomach, stomach ache and constipation.

Sugar Level Problems
It is also known to decrease the sugar level to a large extent. This can be beneficial to diabetic patients but, it might pose a problem to healthy individuals as extremely low sugar level is not recommended for them. You may also like to know more on diabetes blood sugar level.

Skin Related Problems
Lipoic acid can also gives rise to skin hives and itching skin will be also observed in very rare cases. Also, excessive sweating is observed in people suffering from alpha lipoic acid side effects.

Respiratory Problems
Respiratory problems are also observed commonly as a result of alpha lipoic acid side effects. Problems like difficulty in breathing, tightness in chest and increase or decrease in the pulse rate are the most common problems associated with it.

Cold Related Problems
There are chances of some people suffering from common cold, cough and runny nose. In some cases, all these disorders might also be accompanied by fever. The person may experience headache as well.

Other Side Effects
Apart from the above mentioned problems, fatigue, insomnia and over stimulation are also observed commonly. Some people might experience tingling sensation in the whole body, muscle cramps, and swelling of the face and extremities. Flatulence is also one of the side effect of alpha lipoic acid.

Consume alpha lipoic acid but, make sure that you consume in the right amount to stay away from alpha lipoic acid side effects. It should be present in the body in optimum amount, else it can cause brain related problems like stroke, Alzheimer's and Prrkinson's disease. If you realize that you are suffering from alpha lipoic acid side effects, visit a doctor without any delay.


Side Effects
Side effects of alpha lipoic acid may include headache, tingling or a "pins and needles" sensation, skin rash, or muscle cramps.

There have been a few reports in Japan of a rare condition called insulin autoimmune syndrome in people using alpha lipoic acid. The condition causes hypoglycemia and antibodies directed against the body's own insulin without previous insulin therapy.

The safety of alpha lipoic acid in pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with kidney or liver disease is unknown.

Possible Drug Interactions
Alpha lipoic acid may improve blood sugar control, so people with diabetes who are taking medication to lower blood sugar, such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), should only take alpha lipoic acid under the supervision of a qualified health professional and have their blood sugar levels carefully monitored.

Animal studies indicate that alpha lipoic acid may alter thyroid hormone levels, so it could theoretically have the same effect in humans. People taking thyroid medications such as levothyroxine should be monitored by their healthcare provider.

Avatar universal
It has been well established that hepatitis c increases oxidation and decreases systemic antioxidant levels. Hep c increases the generation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) which cause much of the damage.


From the above link:

"Infection with hepatitis C is associated with increased levels of ROS/RNS and decreased antioxidant levels."

Increased oxidation also plays a role in HCC:

"Most hepatocellular carcinomas occur in cirrhotic livers, and the common mechanism for hepatocarcinogenesis is chronic inflammation associated with severe oxidative stress..."

also, ROS (reactive oxygen species) generated by hep c play a large role in the increase of fibrosis:

"ROS/RNS can activate hepatic stellate cells, which are characterized by the enhanced production of extracellular matrix and accelerated proliferation. Cross-talk between parenchymal and nonparenchymal cells is one of the most important events in liver injury and fibrogenesis; ROS play an important role in fibrogenesis throughout increasing platelet-derived growth factor."

ALA is a master antioxidant. It is both water soluble and fat (lipid) soluble. It is also a precursor of glutathione, our best intracellular antioxidant and the linchpin of our body's antioxidant system. Glutathione recharges our water-soluble antioxidants (vitamin c) and our lipid soluble antioxidants (vitamin e). Lipid soluble antioxidants are at a premium for us because lipid peroxidation is a main culprit in the pathogenesis of the disease, as well as the generation of HCC.

For all of these reasons, ALA is one of the best weapons in our warchest against hep c damage. We need more antioxidants than healthy people, and ALA is one of the best antioxidants available to us.
Avatar universal
Copyman is correct to warn about the use of ALA by diabetics on insulin. ALA is well known to decrease Insulin Resistance; therefore, if a diabetic is on insulin and takes ALA, his blood sugar levels should be closely monitored, and a reduction of the amounts of insulin you take might be necessary.
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