Alpha-lipoic acid is a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant. Yeast, liver, kidney spinach, broccoli, and potatoes are good sources of alpha-lipoic acid. It is also made in the laboratory for use as medicine.
Alpha-lipoic acid is most commonly taken by mouth for diabetes and nerve-related symptoms of diabetes including burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms. It is also given as an injection into the vein (by IV) for these same uses. High doses of alpha-lipoic acid are approved in Germany for the treatment of these nerve-related symptoms.