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Alpha lipoic acid, also widely known as ALA, is produced by our bodies in small amounts. This powerful and natural organic component acts as an antioxidant. In the first part of this article, we discussed the alpha lipoic acid dosage for peripheral neuropathy, its food sources, the essential role it plays for diabetic and neuropathic individuals, and its intake methods. Now, let’s dig a little deeper into the topic in this installment. We know you’re dying to know the answer to:
Does alpha lipoic acid make pee smell?
Hold your horses! We’re getting there.
The recommended dosage of ALA is known to have extensive benefits such as revitalizing aging skin, lowering blood sugar levels, relieving diabetic nerve pain, and even reducing body weight. But as with every other over-the-counter treatment, alpha lipoic acid also comes with its reasonable share of side-effects. Along with side effects like anxious moods, headaches, and nausea, the most prominent one is abnormal pee smell.
That’s right, your pee stinks.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Urine Smell
According to a study published in 2016 on the tolerability in the elderly population of high dose ALA, various tests were conducted to determine the answer to a widely asked question: Does alpha-lipoic acid make urine smell?
Surprisingly, the answer turned out to be YES! Three different doses of ALA were evaluated in the elderly population and for every dose, most of the subjects reported one unfavorable effect at least, out of which the most common one was urine odor (or, as we say, pee smell).
Although a strong sulfur smell in your urine can be a little disturbing (much like the one caused by asparagus), this side effect is harmless. However, if this strong odor is accompanied by a burning sensation, it’s best to consult your doctor to be on the safe side.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid Neuropathy Studies
As discussed in part one of our exploration of ALA and neuropathy, there are numerous studies in which scientists and researchers are working to find out how alpha lipoic acid can be used as a conventional method tot provide relief from medical conditions such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Let’s talk about one of those studies that link alpha lipoic acid and neuropathy treatment together.
A research study named “Alpha Lipoic Acid for Symptomatic Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients with Diabetes” was published in 2012 and had some amazing findings. The study revealed that when neuropathic patients were given a dose of 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid per day for a period of three weeks, it resulted in a clinically relevant and significant reduction in peripheral neuropathic pain. Wow!
When alpha lipoic acid is consumed in the recommended amounts, neuronal T-type calcium channels are selectively inhibited and thus the neuronal sensitivity to pain caused by peripheral neuropathy is decreased. Although this treatment method hasn’t been widely adopted around the world, it is an approved method of diabetic neuropathic pain treatment in Germany— one which is also covered by health insurance companies.
Although alpha lipoic acid is known to be safe for most adults, some people can be at a higher risk of suffering from adverse side effects. Here is a brief breakdown of how consumption affects different individuals:
ALA and Pregnant Women
Alpha lipoic acid consumption during pregnancy can be safe. Pregnant women can take up to 600 mg of it per day up to four weeks. However, it’s always best to consult your doctor before making any alterations in your treatment plan.
ALA and Breastfeeding Women
There aren’t enough studies and researches to support the fact that breastfeeding women should or shouldn’t use alpha lipoic acid. However, it’s recommended to be on the safe side and avoid usage.
ALA and Infants and Children
Consumption in large amounts is absolutely discouraged for children and infants, as it can result in unconsciousness, vomiting, and even seizures.
Alpha Lipoic Acid and Diabetic Individuals
As discussed earlier, alpha lipoic acid is known to lower blood sugar levels, making it suitable for diabetic patients. To avoid any interactions among your medications, you might need to get your doses adjusted by your healthcare provider.
ALA and Recovering from Surgery
If you have recently had an operation, ALA might interfere with your blood sugar control. This can happen during your surgery as well as afterwards. Surgical patients are recommended to stop ALA intake approximately two weeks before elective surgical procedures.
ALA and Excessive Usage of Alcohol
If you are a heavy drinker, it is very likely that the level of thiamine (vitamin B-1) in your body is quite low. As the lack of this nutrient can worsen nerve damage, it’s best to take alpha lipoic acid along with thiamine supplements to fulfill that requirement. Always check with your doctor first.
ALA and Thyroid Medication
If you suffer from over or under-active thyroid, it’s best to avoid ALA usage as it can interfere with thyroid treatments.
FAQ about Alpha Lipoic Acid
What happens if I miss a dose of ALA?
It’s best to skip the dose that you missed rather than using extra ALA to make up for it.
What happens if I overdose on ALA?
Overdosing on ALA can cause serious problems. In the case of over-dosage, immediately call the Poison Helpline or seek urgent medical attention.
What are the foods that should be avoided while I’m on ALA?
Herbal supplements that are meant to be used for lowering blood sugars should be avoided while you’re taking ALA. This includes elements like horse chestnut, garlic, Siberian ginseng, devil’s claw, Panax ginseng, guar gum, and psyllium.
What are the common side effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Pee smell is one of the most common side effects of ALA. Nausea and skin rashes are also common side effects. However, if you experience any dizziness, extra hunger, irritability, weakness, confusion, sweating, extreme headaches, jittery feeling, or a noticeably faster heartbeat, you should immediately seek medical attention.
Good luck friends and we’re so happy to solve the burning question of why your pee smells! BUT REMEMBER–if you also have burning with that burning question, please see your doctor right away.