Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lipoic Acid improves MS and Endothelial Health

An inexpensive over the counter supplement, Lipoic Acid, has been shown to decrease brain atrophy and increase walking speed in people with secondary progressive MS.

Participants took 1200mg. of lipoic acid daily, while others took placebo.  And there were improvements shown in the pwMS--so much so, that neurologists are talking about it at ECTRIMS, in a recent oral presentation at the conference.

"There is a great unmet need to find a disease-modifying therapy for progressive MS. We wanted to look at lipoic acid as possibly filling this role since it's a small-molecule agent that, because of its low cost, could be readily available to anybody who needed it," said Dr Spain.

As I've written many times on this page, it is MUCH easier to test one supplement at a time against placebo, rather than having a trial for an entire lifestyle program.   This is why "gold standard" drug or supplement trials get all of the research dollars and attention.  So, it's at least nice to see a trial of a supplement which has no harmful side effects.

What is Lipoic Acid (LA), also known as a-lipoic acid (ALA) and how does it help people with MS? 

Lipoic Acid (LA) is found in almost all foods. Highest levels are found in organ meats, broccoli and spinach.  Tomatoes, peas and brussel sprouts also have higher levels of LA.

LA is an anti-oxidant, and prevents damage due to oxidative stress. 
It has been tested and found to be helpful for people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes---because it improves endothelial function. 

That's right.  LA helps the vasculature and blood flow.  It increases nitic oxide availabilty and allows for vasodilation.  You won't be reading that in any neurology press releases any time soon, but this is a fact.  LA increases blood flow, via dilation of vessels through endothelial health.  And this could account from the maintenance of gray matter and improved walking times in people with MS.  

But you know what is even better than simply taking LA or biotin or any other supplement?  Using an entire lifestyle program-- including nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, UV ray exposure-- which is shown to reduce oxidative stress, increase endothelial health and protect your brain.

It's not a pill,  it's a lifestyle.


  1. Keep speaking out Joan . I pay attention lots here in UK .

  2. You can't even imagine how important it is, how much more hopeful I feel, when you reach out and speak out. I know I'm moving along on the right path, but what a lift some companionship gives. The first thing I thought was, can I get this naturally?? Yes, all in lifestyle. Thank you.....

    1. Keep going, Sheryl! Hope, positivity and action are all essential components of good health. I am honored to provide some support and encouragement. Be well. xo

  3. I'm currently taking 300mg a day of Biotin. As per the Medday biotin trials.
    Am now seriously considering the 1200mg if Lipoic acid
    Can I ask if the 1200mg of Lipoic Acid is taken at certain individual doses per day?
    For example I am taking the 300mg of biotin in 1 dose daily.
    Thanks so much xx

    1. Hi Liisa---I have no idea how or when the lipoic acid was administered. The only reason I blogged about this presentation at ECTRIMS is because I want to encourage pwMS to understand HOW lipoic acid works on the endothelium, and that there is no pill which can replace a complete lifestyle for endothelial health. It is easy to test one pill, like biotin or lipoic acid or a pharmaceutical, against a placebo, and then publish results. It is nearly impossible to do this with a complete lifestyle. This skews our thinking. But changes to lifestyle are the best way to help MS. We know that aerobic exercise, meditation, UV rays, whole food nutrition which is plant based, smoking cessation, processed food avoidance, sugar avoidance, can all help pwMS. Puting it all together is the key. Dr. Terry Wahls writes about how to get your best sources of antioxidants and vitamins from food, rather than supplements. Hope that makes sense...and I hope you're doing well.

    2. Thanks so much for your insight Joan.
      I'm trying by best to live "my best".
      Just thought that by taking the Lipoic in pull form also, it may help.
      Will go for it 3 x a day 400 mg and see how I go.
      You are such a help to so many pwMS.
      Never stop giving us your insight. It is immeasurable xx

  4. Is "Lipoic Acid" the same as "Lipotropic Amino Acid?"

  5. No, Kenny. Lipotropic means an amino acid breaks down fat. These compounds usually include B12 plus choline, methionine and inositol.

    Lipoic Acid, or alpha lipoic acid, is a naturally occurring compound found in cells of plants and animals (even humans!) It is an antioxidant and is made inside our bodies, but supplementing it has been shown to be helpful for some.