The effects of alpha lipoic acid on muscle strength recovery after a single and a short-term chronic supplementation - a study in healthy well-trained individuals after intensive resistance and endurance training.
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2020 Dec 1 ;17(1):61. Epub 2020 Dec 1. PMID: 33261642
BACKGROUND: Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory activity and was tested as a drug for the treatment of various diseases. ALA is also frequently used as a nutrition supplement, in healthy individuals or in competitive athletes. However, information from intervention studies investigating physiological effects of an ALA in athletes after exercise is limited. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of single and short-term chronic ALA supplementation on the muscle strength recovery and performance of athletes after intensive exercise.
METHODS: In a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial in cross-over design, 17 male resistance and endurance-experienced athletes successfully participated. The subjects were divided into two groups (ALA and Placebo) and underwent a standardized single training session and a high intense training week. At certain time points (T0, T1a (+ 3 h), T1b (+ 24 h) and T2 (+7d)) blood samples were taken and markers for muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress were investigated. In addition, the maximum performance in the back squat was measured at all time points.
RESULTS: In the chronic training experiment, a moderate inhibition of muscle damage and inflammation could be observed in the ALA-group. Performance in the back squat was significantly reduced in the placebo-group, but not in the ALA-group. No anti-oxidative effects could be observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate possible effects of ALA supplementation, during intensive training periods result in a reduction of muscle damage, inflammation and an increase of recovery. Whether ALA supplementation in general may enhance performance and the exact training / supplementation scenarios needs to be investigated in future studies.