Last update June 17, 2017

Thioctic Acid

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

A fatty acid present in the body involved in metabolism which transforms glucose into energy.

It is a powerful antioxidant which is synthesized in the body and also comes from external input (liver, meat, fish, green leafy vegetables, yeast).

There is still no definitive scientific evidence for its usefulness in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy (Han 2012), hepatic dysfunction, certain encephalopathies, pain relief, glossodynia (Carbone 2009) and multiple sclerosis (Khalili 2014, Yadav 2010, Namaka 2008).

It is generally well tolerated if the dosage and duration indicated in the manufacturer’s directions for use are not exceeded, but it can have adverse effects. Cases of autoimmune hypoglycemia syndrome (Michalopoulou 2015, Bresciani 2011, Uchigata 2007) have been attributed to its consumption, as has hepatic cholestasis (Ridruejo 2011), poisoning (Hadzik 2014, Karaarslan 2013) and seizures, especially in children (Tolunay 2015).
Dermatitis has been reported due to contact with an anti-aging cream containing lipoic acid (Bergqvist 2006).

Since the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breast milk.

It has been used to treat postpartum perineal pain without presenting problems during breastfeeding (Costantino 2015).

Consumption in moderate doses following medical prescription would have little risk during breastfeeding.
When used topically, do not apply to the nipple so as to avoid its ingestion by the infant.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Thioctic Acid is also known as Lipoic Acid. Here it is a list of alternative known names::

Thioctic Acid in other languages or writings:

  • C8H14O2S2 (Molecular formula)


Main tradenames from several countries containing Thioctic Acid in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 29 ± 10 %
Molecular weight 206 daltons
Tmax 0.5 - 2 hours
0.5 - 6 hours


  1. Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center. Lipoic Acid. Oregon State University. 2017 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Michalopoulou Alevras T, Guerrero Gual M, Villabona Artero C, Pérez-Maraver M. [Autoimmune hypoglycemia syndrome associated with α lipoic acid consumption]. Med Clin (Barc). 2015 Abstract
  3. Costantino D, Guaraldi C, Costantino M, Bounous VE. [Use of alpha-lipoic acid and omega-3 in postpartum pain treatment]. Minerva Ginecol. 2015 Abstract
  4. Tolunay O, Çelik T, Kömür M, Gezgin AE, Kaya MS, Çelik Ü. A rare cause of status epilepticus; alpha lipoic acid intoxication, case report and review of the literature. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2015 Abstract
  5. Khalili M, Azimi A, Izadi V, Eghtesadi S, Mirshafiey A, Sahraian MA, Motevalian A, Norouzi A, Sanoobar M, Eskandari G, Farhoudi M, Amani F. Does lipoic acid consumption affect the cytokine profile in multiple sclerosis patients: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Neuroimmunomodulation. 2014 Abstract
  6. Hadzik B, Grass H, Mayatepek E, Daldrup T, Hoehn T. Fatal non-accidental alpha-lipoic acid intoxication in an adolescent girl. Klin Padiatr. 2014 Abstract
  7. Karaarslan U, İşgüder R, Bağ Ö, Kışla M, Ağın H, Ünal N. Alpha lipoic acid intoxication, treatment and outcome. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2013 Abstract
  8. Han T, Bai J, Liu W, Hu Y. A systematic review and meta-analysis of α-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 Abstract
  9. Ridruejo E, Castiglioni T, Silva MO. Thioctic acid-induced acute cholestatic hepatitis. Ann Pharmacother. 2011 Abstract
  10. Bresciani E, Bussi A, Bazzigaluppi E, Balestrieri G. Insulin autoimmune syndrome induced by α-lipoic acid in a Caucasian woman: case report. Diabetes Care. 2011 Abstract
  11. Yadav V, Shinto L, Bourdette D. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2010 Abstract
  12. Carbone M, Pentenero M, Carrozzo M, Ippolito A, Gandolfo S. Lack of efficacy of alpha-lipoic acid in burning mouth syndrome: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Pain. 2009 Abstract
  13. Namaka M, Crook A, Doupe A, Kler K, Vasconcelos M, Klowak M, Gong Y, Wojewnik-Smith A, Melanson M. Examining the evidence: complementary adjunctive therapies for multiple sclerosis. Neurol Res. 2008 Abstract
  14. Mignini F, Streccioni V, Tomassoni D, Traini E, Amenta F. Comparative crossover, randomized, open-label bioequivalence study on the bioequivalence of two formulations of thioctic acid in healthy volunteers. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2007 Abstract
  15. Uchigata Y. The novel agent, alpha lipoic acid, can cause the development of insulin autoimmune syndrome. Intern Med. 2007 Abstract
  16. Bergqvist-Karlsson A, Thelin I, Bergendorff O. Contact dermatitis to alpha-lipoic acid in an anti-wrinkle cream. Contact Dermatitis. 2006 Abstract
  17. Teichert J, Hermann R, Ruus P, Preiss R. Plasma kinetics, metabolism, and urinary excretion of alpha-lipoic acid following oral administration in healthy volunteers. J Clin Pharmacol. 2003 Abstract
  18. Breithaupt-Grögler K, Niebch G, Schneider E, Erb K, Hermann R, Blume HH, Schug BS, Belz GG. Dose-proportionality of oral thioctic acid--coincidence of assessments via pooled plasma and individual data. Eur J Pharm Sci. 1999 Abstract
  19. Teichert J, Kern J, Tritschler HJ, Ulrich H, Preiss R. Investigations on the pharmacokinetics of alpha-lipoic acid in healthy volunteers. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Abstract

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