ALA as a Heavy Metal Detoxifier—the Pros & the Cons

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), also known as thioctic acid and lipoic acid, is a naturally-occurring, vitamin-like anti-oxidant substance which has amazingly powerful and well-diversified healing properties after being let loose within the human body.  One of the few things that it might be compared to is aspirin—as such, it’s as close as one may come to a genuine panacea.

Like a panacea, ALA can alleviate and possibly prevent a number of medical ailments, symptoms and complications. Like aspirin, ALA can also have deleterious effects--but usually only if misused or over-used.

The bottom line is, though, that when used appropriately and under the guidance of a health professional experienced in its use, ALA is uniquely beneficial—i.e., it can do some things few (if any) other nutritional supplements can do, including bonding with heavy metals inside cells and in the brain, ultimately, if all goes well, drawing such poisons out of the human body altogether.

As is the case with other powerful healing substances, though, there are important reasons for using, as well as for avoiding (if not an ideal candidate), ALA. Here is a short of list of potential benefits and, in contrast, possible side-effects and complications to consider before using ALA.

Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid

In addition to being an excellent chelator, alpha lipoic acid can deliver the following benefits:

  • Helps ameliorate certain aspects of the metabolic syndrome—just one of several ways ALA may help prevent/treat diabetes
  • Through anti-oxidant capacity, reduces oxidative stress
  • Helps manage high blood pressure
  • Helps fight insulin resistance
  • Lowers one’s weight
  • Enhances lipid profiles
  • Decreases sensitivity to insulin
  • Helps with diabetic neuropathy
  • Fights off cataract formation
  • Enhances glaucoma-related visual function
  • Prevents death of retinal cells when vitamin E is used for retinitis pigmentosa
  • Ameliorates stroke-related brain damage
  • By some anti-inflammatory process, helps prevent bone loss
  • Makes skin texture healthier/softer
  • Reduces migraines
  • Reduces inflammatory reactions accompanying MS
  • Improves neurodegenerative ailments outcomes

Dosage & Usage Caveats and Reminders

If using ALA’s more powerful cousin R-dihydrolipoic acid, a reasonable daily dosage to take ranges from 300 mg to 1800 mg, preferably taken with B complex vitamins in order to increase its bio-availability.

Do take a small dosage (12.5 mg or less) if starting to take alpha lipoic acid, possibly in conjunction with DMSA.  For persons with high mercury toxicity, it’s best if you tread very cautiously since ALA can stir this poison up to the point that, if it can’t vacate the body, ALA can end up doing more harm than good.

 Although in theory one can take a maximum dosage of 1200mg per day, small dosages are preferred and safer. You may, after a few years, safely take that amount but the safest way to start taking ALA is in small dosages (e.g., 6.25mg)—and even then you have to go by how you feel and how well your body responds.

ALA is one of the few substances known that is able to remove mercury from the brain but the process can be tricky, time-consuming and potentially dangerous for people who don’t know what they’re doing or who run into unforeseen problems.  A number of complications can arise that you need to be aware of and be ready to deal with.

Possible Adverse Reactions to ALA - Contraindications

Keeping in mind that what results you will get from ALA depends on many factors (including your age, the condition of your kidneys, liver and GI tract, how much heavy metal toxicity is already in your body, whether you still have amalgam fillings in your teeth, etc.), you should be aware that misuse or over-use of ALA (and other heavy metal chelators) can lead to the following adverse reactions, symptoms and complications:

-Sudden blood pressure drop

-Dangerously low calcium levels

-Heart failure


-“Burning brain”


-Rashes & skin irritation



-Upset stomach

-Extreme lethargy

-Dizziness & unconsciousness

-Joint, muscle & tissue aches

-Bleeding gums

-Appetite loss & anorexia

-Bone marrow suppression


-Muscle spasms

-Haemolytic anemia



-Renal failure & damage

-Insulin shock


As important as the dosage is, the rate and the frequency at which ALA is taken are just as important.  If taken for a while and then stopped, there is a chance that heavy metals that have been flushed out will be left floating with nothing to attach to. 

For this reason, it is best if, once you start an ALA regimen, you continue to take it on a regular basis, unless you are experiencing significant adverse reactions/symptoms.

Alpha lipoic acid, especially if taken in high dosages, may stir up so much heavy metal toxicity that damage to certain organs (like the kidneys) may be unwittingly induced, especially if the kidneys are malfunctioning and cannot, therefore, adequately help get rid of these toxic substances.  The bottom line is that these heavy metals have to go somewhere once chelated by things like ALA.

Ideally, you want them to vacate the body, but it may not be able to do so if the detoxification pathway isn’t properly cleared.  On that note, make sure that you detoxify your body, especially your GI tract, before attempting to use any chelation agent, including ALA.

If you are one of the many people who still have mercury-containing amalgam fillings in your teeth or had it removed recently, be very careful before taking ALA or any other mercury-disturbing chelator.  Taking ALA under those circumstances may subject you to exaggerated mercury toxicity symptoms.  Some experts recommend, if you must do so under such circumstances, using ALA in conjunction with an FLDC protocol.

Whatever your situation regarding mercury toxicity, if you start feeling any of the adverse reaction symptoms listed above after taking ALA, stop taking it and consult a health expert.  Actually, it’s best if you use ALA under the direction of a health expert to begin with.  That way, if you have any questions or experience any unusual reactions, you will have someone you can contact ASAP.

As a general rule, anyone suffering from hypocalcemia, congestive heart failure, liver or kidney disease, tuberculosis, hypoglycemia, blood clotting issues, or allergic conditions should first consult their healthcare provider before starting an ALA (or other heavy metal chelator) regimen.

One good precaution to consider is having a Doppler ultrasound to see if you have good blood flow throughout your body; such a thing is crucially important if you want to flush out these heavy metals from your body.


The fact is that alpha lipoic acid has for good reasons been called a “super chelator,” since it can effectively and, in most cases, safely remove from our bodies some of the most toxic heavy metals known to man, including:  copper, cadmium, mercury, lead, etc.

Incredibly, it can also help remove the many organic hydrocarbons that have been connected to disease over the years.

But ALA isn’t just another chelator—it’s a powerful antioxidant that can help mitigate many symptoms and diseases, including chronic aggressive hepatitis, chemical hypersensitivity syndrome, and diabetic neuropathy.  Furthermore, ALA is according to the NIH the only approved mushroom (Amanita) poisoning antidote.

Although human beings are usually not deficient in ALA, supplementation with this vitamin-like natural substance is mostly a good thing—actually, it can do things that are not practical, feasible or affordable any other way—most ostensibly, attempting to remove such highly toxic things as mercury from inside cells and from the brain.

Were it not for chelators like this, these poisons would just continue to accumulate, most likely eventually leading to the development of disease.

As for ALA’s safety, it must be noted that this substance isn’t, say, like iron or Vitamin E, both of which are decidedly toxic if overtaken.  Yes, there is a quantity limit one should not exceed per day, but the most egregious danger associated with ALA, as with all other chelators, is the amount of heavy metals that it can in essence stir up while being used.

As long as these toxins are given a clear outflow pathway for withdrawal, then there shouldn’t be a problem.  In fact, anyone who is already overwhelmed with mercury toxicity (because of amalgam teeth fillings or consuming too much contaminated fish) should first detoxify the body’s outflow pathway, most notably involving the kidneys, the liver and the GI tract.

ALA after all isn’t what’s dangerous but, rather, the things that it may loosen within the human body once people decide to take it.

One can therefore say that ALA is an exceedingly beneficial and safe product to use, as long as it is used wisely, while paying attention to potential usually-manageable complications, according to established best practices, and under the knowledgeable and watchful eye of a nutritional supplementation health expert experienced in the use of heavy metal/chemical chelating agents.

Copyright, 2018.  Fred Fletcher.  All rights reserved.


7/25/2018 7:00:00 AM
Fred Fletcher
Written by Fred Fletcher
Fred Fletcher is a hard working Consumer Advocacy Health Reporter. Education: HT-CNA; DT-ATA; MS/PhD Post-Graduate Certificates/Certifications: • Project Management • Food Safety • HIPAA Compliance • Bio-statistical Analysis & Reporting • Regulatory Medical Writing • Life Science Programs Theses & Dis...
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People with amalgam fillings have to be especially careful trying to use things like ALA. There is a tendency to speed up the flushing out of all that nasty mercury. These things work but not as fast as the stuff oozes out.
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