Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 39–52 | Cite as

Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders: a systematic review

  • Caren Nádia Soares de Sousa
  • Cláudio Manuel Gonçalves da Silva Leite
  • Ingridy da Silva Medeiros
  • Luna Costa Vasconcelos
  • Lucas Moraes Cabral
  • Cláudio Felipe Vasconcelos Patrocínio
  • Marianna Letícia Vasconcelos Patrocínio
  • Fayçal Mouaffak
  • Oussama Kebir
  • Danielle Macedo
  • Manoel Cláudio Azevedo Patrocínio
  • Silvânia Maria Mendes VasconcelosEmail author
Review Article


Despite the existence of many preclinical studies, scientific evidence is lacking on the clinical use of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) for central nervous system disorders. Therefore, we aimed at revising the literature concerning the use of ALA for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological conditions and to point out what is missing for the introduction of this antioxidant to this purpose. For this systematic review we performed a search using PubMed and SCOPUS databases with the following keywords: “alpha-Lipoic Acid AND central nervous system OR psychiatric disorders OR neurological disorders OR mood disorders OR anxiety OR psychosis OR Alzheimer OR Parkinson OR stroke”. The total number of references found after automatically and manually excluding duplicates was 1061. After primary and secondary screening 32 articles were selected. Regarding psychiatric disorders, the studies of ALA in schizophrenia are advanced being ALA administration related to the improvement of schizophrenia symptoms and side effects of antipsychotic medication. In neurological disorders, ALA as a supplement was effective in the prevention of Alzheimer disease progression. For stroke, the use of the supplement ALAnerv® (containing 300 mg ALA) presented important results, since it was observed a reversal of clinical parameters and oxidative imbalance in these patients. For other neurological conditions, such as encephalopathy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, mitochondrial disorders and migraine, the results are still preliminary. Overall, there is a need of well-designed clinical trials to enhance the clinical evidences of ALA effects for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric conditions.


Alpha-lipoic acid Central nervous system Neurological disorders Psychiatric disorders 



Alzheimer disease


Activities of Daily Living/Instrumental Activities of Daily Living


Alzheimer’s disease assessment score cognitive subscale


acquired immunodeficiency syndrome


alpha-lipoic acid


advanced oxidation protein products


Clinical Global Impression Scale for Severity


central nervous system


Dementia Questionnaire for Mentally Retarded Persons sum of cognitive scores


Hamilton Depression Rating Scale


human immunodeficiency virus type 1


Instrumental Activities of Daily Living


Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale


Mini-Mental State Examination


total antioxidant status


thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances


Young Mania Rating Scale.



This study was supported by grants from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Higher Education Personnel Improvement Coordination (CAPES) and Cearense Foundation for the Support of Scientific and Technological Development (FUNCAP).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caren Nádia Soares de Sousa
    • 1
  • Cláudio Manuel Gonçalves da Silva Leite
    • 1
  • Ingridy da Silva Medeiros
    • 1
  • Luna Costa Vasconcelos
    • 1
  • Lucas Moraes Cabral
    • 1
  • Cláudio Felipe Vasconcelos Patrocínio
    • 2
  • Marianna Letícia Vasconcelos Patrocínio
    • 2
  • Fayçal Mouaffak
    • 3
  • Oussama Kebir
    • 4
  • Danielle Macedo
    • 1
  • Manoel Cláudio Azevedo Patrocínio
    • 2
    • 5
  • Silvânia Maria Mendes Vasconcelos
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory, Drug Research and Development Center, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of MedicineFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity Center Christus-UnichristusFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Seine Saint DenisVille Evrard Psychiatric HospitalParisFrance
  4. 4.Laboratory of Pathophysiology of Psychiatric Diseases, Center for Psychiatry and Neurosciences, INSERM U894University Paris DescartesParisFrance
  5. 5.Department of AnesthesiologyDr. Jose Frota Institute Hospital/IJFFortalezaBrazil

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