Alpha lipoic acid (a.k.a. Thioctic acid, Lipolate) is an antioxidant that is made by the body and is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Unlike vitamin C which only works in water or vitamin E which only works in fatty tissues, alpha lipoic acid is both fat- and water-soluble, meaning it can work throughout the body. Alpha-lipoic acid is not to be confused by alpha linolenic acid (which is an omega 3 fatty acid). Sometimes both are abbreviated ALA.
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful biological antioxidant and has been shown to improve skeletal glucose disposal in the body in insulin-resistant animals as well as humans. Henriksen et al.  found that ALA enhanced insulin action and increased the uptake of 2-deoxyglucose by 55% in lean animal models. Pagliaros research  also showed that α-lipoic acid (ALA) enhances the function of insulin by increasing intramuscular deposition of glucose as glycogen. Improved action of insulin on the muscle cell membrane also enhance amino acid deposition; therefore, creatine uptake into the muscle would also be enhanced .
Previous studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid enhances glucose uptake into skeletal muscle in animals . Therefore, scientist at St. Francis Xavier University  wanted to investigate the effect of alpha-lipoic acid on human skeletal muscle creatine uptake. Subjects ingested 20 g of creatine monohydrate alone or in combination with 100 g sucrose or 100 g sucrose and 1000 mg of alpha-lipoic acid. All groups experienced significant increase in total creatine concentration, with the group ingesting alpha-lipoic acid showing a significantly greater increase.
More often than that lipoic acid (in the form of R-ALA) is marketed as weight loss and energy supplement.
- Alpha-lipoic acid – http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/alpha-lipoic-000285.htm#ixzz2OAHdhKCh Retrieved 11 March 2013
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Henriksen, E. J., S. Jacob, R. S. Streeper, D. L. Fogt, J. Y. Hokama, and H. J. Tritschler. 1997. Stimulation by alpha-lipoic acid of glucose transport activity in skeletal muscle of lean and obese Zucker rats. Life Sci. 61:805–812.
Pagliaro, L. 1957. Action of thioctic acid on liver and muscle glycogen of normal rabbits. Patol. Sper. 45:177–188.
Estrada, D. Elizabeth, et al. “Stimulation of glucose uptake by the natural coenzyme α-lipoic acid/thioctic acid: participation of elements of the insulin signaling pathway.” Diabetes 45.12 (1996): 1798-1804.
Burke, Darren G., et al. “Effect of alpha-lipoic acid combined with creatine monohydrate on human skeletal muscle creatine and phosphagen concentration.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 13.3 (2003): 294.