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Previous work has shown some positive effects of lipoic acid as a powerful antioxidant. There was also a high profile paper published a few years ago showing that lipoic acid decreased food intake, increased energy expenditure, decreased body weight and body fat. Using sophisticated cellular techniques, Chinese researchers explored the precise mechanisms underlying the positive effects of lipoic acid. They found that mice supplemented with lipoic acid had improved lipid profiles and less oxidative stress. They performed a complex analysis of gene expression to better understand how lipoic acid was working. They discovered that many of the genes involved in fat oxidation were upregulated as were those involved in antioxidant defense, whereas the genes involved in cholesterol sysnthesis were decreased. The study provides important information on exactly how lipoic acid works at the cellular level to improve fat metabolism.

Yang RL, Li W, Shi YH, Le GW. Lipoic acid prevents high-fat diet-induced dyslipidemia and oxidative stress: A microarray analysis. Nutrition. 2008 Mar 25 [Epub ahead of print]