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« Malnourished...with fruit and veges? | Main | Total Balance in Canada? »

What form of Alpha Lipoic acid do you use?

Question: from Michael

Which form of Alpha Liopic Acid are you using. Is it 1, 2 or 3.

1)Alpha-lipoic acid consists of 50/50 racemic mixture of the R-(natural) and S-(unnatural) enantiomers and is called a "racemic mixture. It is the most widely available form of lipoic acid.

2)R-Lipoic Acid (the R (+) enantiomer) is responsible for the specific beneficial effects of alpha lipoic acid. Of primary significance, R-lipoic acid has shown to be ten times more effective than racemic alpha lipoic acid for reducing inflammation.

3)S-Lipoic acid (The S (-) enantiomer) is not found in nature. SLA is a by-product from chemical synthesis of racemic ALA and may inhibit the most essential properties of the R form, including interactions with proteins, enzymes and genes.

Answer: from Warren

You are right Michael about the R form of Alpha Lipoic acid being more effective than the S most cases!

We use the mixture...#1 of your list.  But we only use this form in our enteric coated tablets as it is just as effective as the R type under these conditons.  We would not use either the mixture or the S type in a capsule or 'normal' tablet. 

I'll try to explain.

The reason why the S type is less effective than the R type under normal conditions is because when it is exposed to Hydrochloric acid in the stomach it's molecular structure changes and as a result it does indeed inhibt some of the beneficial properties that you refer to.  However, the structure of the S form before ingestion is similar to the R form and would be just as effective if it was not for this stomach acid exposure.

Because our enteric coated tablets do not expose the active ingredients to stomach acid we can acheive optimum efficacy using the mixture as what we could using the R type.

The reason why we use the mixture is that we have a very reliable supplier and we know the quality is excellent and the price differential against the S version is minimal.

Reader Comments (15)

"However, the structure of the S form before ingestion is similar to the R form and would be just as effective if it was not for this stomach acid exposure."

The S and R forms of a molecule have a structure which is identical but mirror-image reversed. In general only one form is biologically effective, and this is the the case for alpha lipoic acid. So it not correct to say "it would be just as effective if it was not for this stomach acid exposure".

Actually in the case of alpha lipoic acid the S form may not be simply biologically ineffective, it may actually be detrimental. "Some recent studies have suggested that the S-enantiomer in fact has an inhibiting effect on the R-enantiomer, reducing its biological activity substantially and actually adding to oxidative stress rather than reducing it." Quote from
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGarry King
R-Dihydro-Lipoic Acid
known as 'The Optimal Form of Lipoic Acid'

What is difference between this and the regular R-lipoic acid ?
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCaesar Fiorini
Hi Garry and Caesar,

Your comments and questions are a little to technical for me so I am going to refer to Prof. Dr. A Munem for his thoughts. He is travelling at the moment but I expect to be able to respond by sometime next week.
October 28, 2006 | Registered CommenterWarren Matthews
R-Dihydro-Lipoic Acid
known as 'The Optimal Form of Lipoic Acid'

What is difference between this and the regular R-lipoic acid ?
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCaesar Fiorini
Warren what do you think about Macadamia nut oil as a daily
supplement( one table spoon a day).I under stand that the nuts from Australia,Kenya and South Africa are better then
the nuts from Hawaii.The Hawaiian oil is usually highly
refined and has little flavor.The nut oil is reported to give the perfect 1:1 balance of omega-3 and omega -6 fatty
acids.One of the Brands available is (Macnut oil World Blend)a combination of Australilan,Kenya & Sout Africa oils.
November 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDonald Capistran
Hi Donald. Personally I would not take a Macadamia nut oil, or any other plant oil. This is because they have the wrong form of Omega 3. Alpha-linolenic acid instead of DHA and EPA.

Also, I would not deliberately take Omega 6 in the form of a supplement. What counts is the ratio of Omega 3 and 6 as part of your overall diet. Very few people have the ideal ratio of 1:1 because Omega 6 is everywhere in our diet.

With regard to Macadamia nuts I would much rather see you eating the real thing. I eat a lot of them along with Brazil nuts, almond nuts and walnuts. I always have a jar on hand as a snack. By eating the real thing you will get all the other goodness that these nuts can provide.
November 11, 2006 | Registered CommenterWarren Matthews
Warren was the issue of the S and R forms of alpha lipoic acid resolved? Is taking the S form truly harmful?
February 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLulu Reeves
Hi Lulu,

Actually I slipped up on following through with a reply on the R & S question.

I did discuss it with Prof.Dr Munem and put it to him should we be changing to the R only type of Alpha-Lipoic acid? From his point of view it makes no difference to him as he does not have a financial interest in Xtend-Life. So, I can always get an honest answer.

He also knows that we will never compromise on any ingredient based on price. However, he was emphatic that the alpha lipoic mix which we use in our formulations when combined with the other ingredients and the enteric coating was just as effective as the R only type.

However, he did say that if we did use the R type only that we could use a little less. It would be a little more expensive to do so but not have a marked affect on our final costs. However, there was no compelling reason to take that action..
February 27, 2008 | Registered CommenterWarren Matthews
Dear Warren, My UK medic/homoeopath has suggested my husband try R-Alpha lipoic acid with Acetyl-L-carnitine to combat a serious Lipitor-induced memory loss. I was working my way round to your website, via preliminary research on ALA suppliers, when I came across the following somewhat disturbing content (2 urls below).The graphics especially on the 'stabilized' vs 'un-stabilized' R-ALA give much pause for thought.
Might I ask you to look at these pages and perhaps re-evaluate your comments to previous readers?
I am conscious that it is difficult to assess the validity of anything one reads on the Net, but your blog is viewed by many with a certain degree of confidence I think. My own was shaken a little by the discrepancy between Dr Munem's perspective & the information given elsewhere. As high-quality supplements are so expensive - and one is usually trying to repair grievous damage done to us by others - one cannot afford to make mistakes through unawareness or ignorance.
Before I put my husband's health at further risk by buying junk pills, I wd greatly appreciate your comments (when you have time) on the following:
December 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMoyra P.
Hi Moyra,

I can understand your concerns. Our position is unchanged regarding ALA. The R form is better when taken in a capsule but there is only minimal benefits against the mixed form if taken in an enteric coated tablet that by passes the stomach.

I think that these people are overstating how much better it is though.

For memory loss your husband needs more than just ALA and acetyl-L-carnitine. He needs a broad range of nutrients that will help his brain, nervous system and neurotransmitters...such as Huperzine A, Vinpocetine and various herbals such as Bacopa along with other nutrients.

Have you considered our Neuro-Natural Memory.

I believe that this would give me his best chance of getting favorable results. Have a look at the ingredients at

I hope that you meet with success. Good luck.
December 17, 2008 | Registered CommenterWarren Matthews
I am interested in the the question asked in the previous posting.... concerning stabalized and unstabalized R ALA. I have read about this and am very confused. What I have read suggests that processing and heat causes.... if I remember.... the product to become sticky... or something like that, making it unless or even harmful. Can you commment
January 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentereddie
Hi Eddie,

Most alpha lipoic acid in a combination of both S and R forms. This is what we have been using for the last 9 years and very successfully. I really don't know how these people come up with their stabalized argument etc.

This ingredient is in a fine powder form and does not clump as the ingredient they are referring to. Maybe they found some substandard product and used it for their experiments. No one else in the industry that I know of have found the problem that they are claiming...

Bear in mind that they are not a manufacture but a marketer/distributor. I am not sure they are really comparing the type of alpha lipoic acid that is normally used in the manufacture of supplements.

Certainly it is not an issue with the ingredient that we use.
January 25, 2009 | Registered CommenterWarren Matthews
Hi Warren,

First, some overview comments, as I’m relatively new to your company and glad that I found it during a Google search. Based on review of your website info, I’m very impressed with the Xtendlife’s product formulation process, the synergistic blending of ingredients, diligent utilization of the latest scientific research and clinical studies, its production process and quality control and the user-friendly informative website. And, in particular, I’ve really appreciated the valuable help provided by Trevor and moreso by Joanna on questions I’ve raised and in the detailed ongoing review she has done on my current supplements and suggestions on your supplements that would be beneficial in my case. Joanna is a very knowledgeable professional and has provided excellent advice.

Joanna referred me to this blog link as I was concerned that the TB Men’s Premium didn’t contain the R+Lipoic Acid, which I’ve been taking for a few years on recommendation of my Naturopath who advised that it is more effective than the regular Alpha Lipoic Acid. As far as I know, the only manufacturer in Canada that produces the R+ is AOR, which company operates on a basis similar to yours. The following extract is from their website info
“Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR) has an established reputation in Canada as the most advanced supplement formulator in the country and likely, the world”

I’ve read with interest the prior postings on the R+Lipoic question, and would appreciate your review of the research info on this subject on their website link below.

I look forward to your response. Thanks
January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAj Gill
Hi AJ,

Thank you for your comments. This is a question that comes up from time to time. We like most companies use the blend of R & S Alpha Lipoic acid. According to Prof.Dr Munem there is very little difference in the overall efficacy between the R and the S IF it is in an enteric coated tablet.

Even though I have not done an exhaustive study on it myself I tend to think that is true. The reason for this is that the R form has been around for a long time. Generally, if one form has proven efficacy over another then the use of it becomes more wide spread even though it may be more expensive. The increased volume in turn results in lower costs and ultimately it is used universally. A good example of this is CoQ10.

We are working on the next generation of Total Balance at the moment and we will once again revist this issue and consider if we should stay with the blend or use only the R form.
January 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterWarren Matthews
Rather nice place you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.
January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUFCRuleZ
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