ALA vs r-ALA

This was posted by Fonz. It helped me to better understand the difference and effect;

r-ala vs Racemic ALA: A case study
A Blood glucose Analysis of R-ALA and racemic ALA

The latest controversial topic surrounding Alpha-lipoic Acid is the potency of the two known variants. This pertains to the newest variant; R-ALA, in comparison to racemic(or normal) ALA. This latter racemic ALA is a combination of R-ALA and S-ALA, normally found in a 50/50 split in common brand name ALA supplements.
In order to uncover which of the two was truly the better one, I decided to measure each ALA’s impact on blood glucose for a specific meal, and compare the results. As we all pretty much know by now, ALA increases the ability of the body
to store glucose in the form of glycogen and also oxidize un-needed glucose for energy. So in effect, whichever one of the two versions of ALA in my experiment gave the smallest blood glucose reading after a specific meal, was, the one which gave the user the best results in regards to glucose disposal and glucose up-take into the muscles. Fairly simple concept.

I bought 300 100mg R-ALA caps from AF( and 2000 100mg caps from Kilosports (
These are the respective LOT numbers

AF: Lot # C06310 Exp: 06/04 (all three bottles)
Kilosports: Lot # C07351 (Both bottles)

What the analysis entailed involved performing a comparative experiment regarding the impact of a specific meal + different quantities of R-ALA and racemic ALA over a week. This latter time-frame would I believe be sufficient to factor out any inconsistencies, and also be a long enough time period to give an objective enough frame of reference in regards to the performance of both versions of ALA.

I performed my experiment with my blood glucose meter (Glucometer) called Gluco-trend 2 with the Softclix system. The serial number of my Glucotrend 2 is GH02114809 and the type number is: 1861964 .
I also purchased a separate glucometer at CVS to back-up the results obtained by my Glucotrend 2 blood glucose monitor. If at any time during my experiment, the values of the CVS blood glucose monitor and those of my Glucotrend 2 blood glucose monitor, were off by more than 10% I’d nullify the specific
attempt at measuring the BG response by the given meal. This was not nice for my fingers. Having to use the lancet 10+ times/day hurt like hell….. Anyways, The serial number of my CVS BG monitor is: 6429796 ,and the lot number of my
glucose testing strips was: EB271A1 Exp: 23/ Jan/03

All measurements were done in the AM and/or anytime I hadn’t eaten for 12hrs, as there is NO FOOD present in the stomach after 12hrs, liver glycogen is empty, and BG levels are lowest. This is the BEST time to measure blood glucose fluctuations.

In fact, the GTT test is best performed in the AM on an empty stomach(Ask your doctor, he will verify this) (GTT=Glucose Tolerance test). Values for the blood glucose will be given according to the American system: i.e. mg/dl .
This is the structure of each daily measurement.

Meal (N) N = 1,2,3……..21

1. Take initial BG(Blood glucose) measurement
2. Consume a SPECIFIC food.
(I'll give the exact macro-nutrients)
3. Take the R-ALA or racemic ALA( X number of mg)
4. and 5 and 6. Measure BG(Blood Glucose) levels at the 1 hr, 2hr, and 3hr mark.

So, an example with numbers would be:

Meal 20 400mg ALA + complex(Slow GI) Carbs

Meal: 340 1g 34g 50g (1.0L milk)

BG(Initial): 72mg/dl (Blood glucose reading at the time of eating)
BG(T+1): 99mg/dl (Blood glucose reading after 1hr)
BG(T+2): 93mg/dl (Blood glucose reading after 2hrs)
BG(T+3): 80mg/dl (Blood glucose reading after 3hrs)

(THE ABOVE IS JUST AN EXAMPLE). The numbers are completely fictitious.

My statistics(Body composition), in case anybody is wondering are 190lbs at roughly 9%, at a height of 5“9(174cms). I am a 23 y.o. white male. My diet during this past week was composed of 3000Kcal/day, on a rough 60% Carbs, 30% protein, 10% fat diet. In other words a typical high-carb maintenance diet for me.

Ok, now that the structure of the experiment has been explained, let us proceed on wards to the actual testing.

Blood Glucose Values:

Meal 1: 400mg ALA + complex carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0)

BG(Initial): 66 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 92 mg/dl (+26… +39.4%)
BG(T+2): 86 mg/dl(+20…..+30.3%)
BG(T+3): 86mg/dl(+20…….+30.3%)

Meal 2: 400 mg R-ALA + Complex Carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0g)

BG(Initial): 74 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 94 mg/dl(+20……….27.03%)
BG(T+2): 84 mg/dl(+10……….+13.51%
BG(T+3): 80 mg/dl(+6………+8.11%)

Meal 3: 600 mg ALA + Complex Carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0g)

BG(Initial): 66 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 104 mg/dl(+38………+ 57.58%)
BG(T+2): 72 mg/dl(+6……….+ 8.33%)
BG(T+3): 70mg/dl(+4…………+ 6.06%)

Meal 4: 600 mg R-ALA + Complex Carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0g)

BG(Initial): 83 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 100 mg/dl(+17…..+20.48%)
BG(T+2): 94 mg/dl(+9…..+10.84%)
BG(T+3): 88 mg/dl(+5……+6.02%)

Meal 5: 800 mg ALA + Complex Carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0g)

BG(Initial): 80 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 103 mg/dl(+23………+22.33%)
BG(T+2): 92 mg/dl(+12…………+15%)
BG(T+3): 90 mg/dl(+10………..+5.56%).

Meal 6: 800 mg R-ALA + Complex Carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0g)

BG(Initial): 80mg/dl
BG(T+1): 100 mg/dl(+20……….+25%)
BG(T+2): 90 mg/dl(+7…………+8.75%)
BG(T+3): 82 mg/dl(+2…………+2.5%

Meal 7: 1000mg ALA + Complex carbs

Meal: 720 9g 36g 108g (21.0g)

BG(Initial): 71mg/dl
BG(T+1): 90mg/dl(+19…..+ 26.76%)
BG(T+2): 86mg/dl(+15…..+21.1%)
BG(T+3): 72mg/dl(+1….. +1.4%)

(2000mg R-ALA,2000-3000mg ALA):

Meal : 1440Kcal 0g Fat 48g Prot 288g Carbs (Simple/Complex)

2000mgs R-ALA:

BG(Initial): 77 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 97 mg/dl(+20……..+25.98%)
BG(T+2): 118 mg/dl(+41…….+53.25%)
BG(T+3): 94 mg/dl(+17…….+22.08%)

2000mgs ALA:

BG(Initial): 70 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 95 mg/dl(+25….+35.7%)
BG(T+2): 123 mg/dl(+53…….+75.71%)
BG(T+3): 95 mg/dl(+25…… +35.7%)

3000mgs ALA:

BG(Initial): 65 mg/dl
BG(T+1): 85 mg/dl(+20…….+30.77%)
BG(T+2): 110 mg/dl(+45…… + 69.23%)
BG(T+3): 78 mg/dl(+13…….+ 20.00%)


400mg ALA+R-ALA:
(Area under curve ALA): 0.5(1)(26)+20(1)+(0.5)(6)+20 = 56 units squared.
(Area under curve R-ALA): 10 + 5 + 10 + 2 + 6 = 33 units squared.
600mg ALA+R-ALA:
(Area under curve ALA): 19 + 6 + 16 + 4 + 1 = 46 units squared
(Area under curve R-ALA): 8.5 + 3 + 11 + 3 + 5 = 30.5 units squared
800mg ALA+R-ALA:
(Area under curve ALA): 0.5(1)(23)+(0.5)(11)+1(12)+ 11 = 40 units squared.
(Area under curve R-ALA): 10 + 10 + 5 + 1 + 4 = 30 units squared
1000mg ALA:
(Area under curve): 0.5(1)(19)+15+2+2+0.5(14)= 35.5 units squared

HI-CARB ANALYSIS ( Carbs = 280g)

2000mg R-ALA:
(Area under the curve): 10 + 9.5 + 20 +12 + 17 = 68.5 units squared
2000mg ALA:
(Area under the curve): 12.5 + 50 + 28 = 90.5 units squared
3000mg ALA:
(Area under the curve): 10 + 20 + 12.5 + 16 + 13 = 71.5 units squared


Carbs= 108g(All meals where exactly the same)

ALA = 400mg, Area = 56 units squared(Take as initial)
ALA = 600mg, Area = 46 units squared(Difference: -10 units squared(17.86%))
ALA = 800mg, Area = 40 units squared(Difference: -16 units squared(28.57%))
ALA = 1000mg, Area = 35.5 units squared(Difference: -20.5 units squared(36.61%))

R-ALA=400mg, Area = 33 units squared
R-ALA=600mg, Area = 30.5 units squared(Difference: -2.5 units squared(7.58%))
R-ALA=800mg, Area = 30 units squared(Difference: -3 units squared(9.09%)

From the above table, one can see that as ALA intake is increased for the given meal
(Containing 108g carbs as specified), the area under the blood glucose curve decreases. This is indicative of the extra ALA having an effect on glucose up-take and oxidation.
From looking at the table, one can see a pattern; namely, that as the ALA dosage is increased for the particular amount of carbs, the area under the blood glucose gets smaller in SMALLER increments. This is what is referred to as a decreasing
numerical series. Elaborating the series, one can extrapolate the best dosage of racemic ALA per gram of carbohydrates.

Series(1): = 56……..46……..40…….35.5….
Difference: = 10……..6……. 4.5……….……..approaches 0.

From this, we can easily approximate the next difference between areas to be 2 and then 0.
So, the series becomes:

Series(1): 56(400ALA)…..46(600ALA)…..40(800 ALA)…..35.5(1000ALA)…33.5(1200ALA)…..

So, from this, one can see that the dosage of ALA that would maximize its glucose up-take enhancing effects and glucose disposing effects, while minimizing any over-dosing(The ALA would simply be excreted, with your hard earned money),
would be 1200mg ALA per 108g carbs or 11.11mg ALA/ (g) carbs.

From the table above, one can also see that as the amount of R-ALA is increased in relation to a given specific carb meal(C=108g), the area under curve does indeed gets smaller, but only slightly. One can therefore surmise that over the amount of 400mg per 108g carbs there isn’t really any point in taking more as the area
under the blood glucose curve will decrease negligibly, and you’d basically be throwing your R-ALA away. That would put the optimal dosage of R-ALA per (g) of carbs at 3.70mg R-ALA per gram of carbs. This makes R-ALA 3X as powerful as racemic ALA if the carb meal <108g (3.7mg/g carbs compared to 11.11mg/g carbs) (Remember carbs < 108g) If you want to nit-pick, yes, you can go as high as 600-800mg of R-ALA per 108g carbs, but you’ll only get a 7.5-9% increase in effectiveness(See the table). Hardly efficient or cost effective if you ask me.

Now, as you may have noticed I have also included a high-carb section w/ ALA and R-ALA. This section was to test if there was an upper limit to ALA’s effectiveness. What I asked myself, was wether there was a physiological point where ALA just stopped working(i.e. Too much glucose entering the blood-stream.).
I’ll re-post the data:

Carbohydrates = 280g(At once)

2000mg R-ALA:
(Area under the curve): 10 + 9.5 + 20 +12 + 17 = 68.5 units squared
2000mg ALA:
(Area under the curve): 12.5 + 50 + 28 = 90.5 units squared
3000mg ALA:
(Area under the curve): 10 + 20 + 12.5 + 16 + 13 = 71.5 units squared

Ok, here is the interesting part……as extrapolated above, R-ALA is about 3X more powerful than ALA at stimulating glucose up-take and disposal FOR A SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF CARBS. Very important this. From the numbers above, one can easily see that 2000mgs R-ALA was about as effective as 3100mg ALA(I extrapolated) in keeping the blood glucose response curve under control, making it only 55% stronger than ALA not 3X stronger.
Interesting. We have just discovered something of importance. R-ALA(And similiarly ALA to a smaller degree) works best if carb intake during the day is comprised of SMALLER carb meals not one big one.


Having completed the experiment I can safely say I think I have the dosages of R-ALA and racemic ALA pretty well figured out. These are: 11.11mg of racemic ALA per gram(g) of carbohydrates, and 3.7mg of R-ALA per gram(g) of carbohydrates; AS LONG AS the carb content of the meal is kept < 108g. If the carb content of the meal goes beyond 108g the R-ALA loses effectiveness at an ever increasing rate, but still manages to be 55% more effective(mg per mg) than racemic after a single 280g carb load.
To use an analogy, R-ALA is like a scalpel while ALA is like a kitchen Knife. They will both work, but for cutting I would go with R-ALA, and for bulking I’d go with racemic ALA because of the cost.


r-ala vs Racemic ALA: A case study r-ala vs Racemic ALA: A case study
One difference off the top of my head, is something to the affect that r-ALA is produced in the body, or naturally, and ALA is synthetic, or something to that affect.
That was a pretty good read rollercoaster, thanks. Does anyone else have some info on ALA & r-ALA?
RoadHouse said:
One difference off the top of my head, is something to the affect that r-ALA is produced in the body, or naturally, and ALA is synthetic, or something to that affect.


ALA is 50% rALA and 50% sALA. The process used to create it makes two isomers - R(natural) & S(synthetic). The synthetic isomer works well as an anti-oxidant. The R stimulates glucose uptake.
Glucorell R at the AF Store is r-ALA. Use the coupon code afdiscount

r-ALA is the all natural version and is several times as powerful as regular ALA. In some studies 6 times as powerful. But the biggest difference in terms of fat reduction is that r-ALA will lower your insulin levels and regular won't. In fact it raises them. Lower insulin levels means more fat burning because your body doesn't burn fat with insulin present.
The best difference for me....

Smaller sized caps to take (due to increased potency of r vs racemix)
No heartburn
No urine smell
well, until i have seen any type of quality reassurance (lab tests, manufacturing controls, etc) , i myself dont go anywhere but the af store..which i feel is reasonably priced. there was just another thread that was talking about quality the other day and how rala is difficult and expensive to be really pure.
Virtually none of those places that sell r-ALA have had their product tested for purity by an independent lab. Each individual run of the Glucorell R is tested to make sure it's 99% or more.
If we bought 97% pure it would be cheaper but then it would contain s-ALA which defeats the purpose.
I don't know what purity the others are selling but it's curious that they don't publish their test results. If they have any.
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Easto said:
How is Iceman's ALA?

Hey Bro

I have had ZERO complaints about my ALA!

As a matter of a fact I have had several people that used R-ala and have came back to my ALA, saying that it is way better!

As for Fonz's little study about, BULLSHIT!!!!! and it holds zero merit! Just another way to help sell "AF's" products!

Well, I have been very busy lately, so I am calling it quits on the ALA!

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that is a good deal on racemic ALA

but you are deluded if you think that racemate is superior to R+

btw- glucorellR contains biotin, which must be supplemented with both R+ and racemate.