Alpha Lipoic Acid vs. R-Lipoic Acid

Main Difference

The main difference between alpha lipoic acid and r-lipoic acid is that alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant whereas r-lipoic acid is its enantiomer.

Alpha Lipoic Acid vs. R-Lipoic Acid — Is There a Difference?

Difference Between Alpha Lipoic Acid and R-Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid vs. R-Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid helps in the nervous, immune, cardiovascular and detoxification system whereas r-lipoic acid helps to avoid effects of aging.

Alpha Lipoic Acid vs. R-Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is a two molecular orientation whereas r-lipoic acid is one molecular orientation.

Alpha Lipoic Acid vs. R-Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid exits both as natural and artificial form whereas r-lipoic acid exists only as natural form.

Alpha Lipoic Acid vs. R-Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic acid is cheap commercially because of S enantiomer whereas r-lipoic acid is expensive.


Comparison Chart

Alpha lipoic acidR-Lipoic acid
Alpha lipoic acid is a type of antioxidant compound that contains sulfur along with hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon.r-lipoic acid is one of the two enantiomers of the compound alpha lipoic acid.
Number of Molecule Orientation
Two mirror image molecular orientationOne molecular orientation
Natural and artificialNatural
Mitochondrial reactions that involve the dehydrogenase enzymesAs a cofactor
Health Benefits
Helps in neural degeneration and diabetic neuropathy, ischemia-reperfusion injuryAging, Increase uptake of oxygen

Alpha lipoic acid vs. R-Lipoic acid

Alpha lipoic acid, also known as 1,2-dithiolane-3-pentonic acid, exists in at least two different molecular orientations as RLA and SLA. The r-lipoic acid exists only in the form of one molecular orientation. The alpha lipoic acid formation depends on the form of it. It has been formed either naturally in the mitochondria or artificially by the scientists. The r-lipoic acid is the natural form of alpha lipoic acid that is formed in the mitochondria from octanoic acid involving different enzymes. The alpha lipoic acid functions to help with different chemical reactions that involve the dehydrogenase enzymes, which happens inside the mitochondria. The function of the r-lipoic acid specifically is to act as a cofactor that aids in the metabolic reactions that involve ketoglutarate dehydrogenase and pyruvate dehydrogenase.

The alpha lipoic acid helps in situations where a person has neural degeneration, and it is helpful for people with diabetes. It is also used in treating diabetic neuropathy. It also helps in situations where there is an ischemia-reperfusion injury. The r-lipoic acid helps to prevent the effects of aging such as the loss of the amino acid glutathione and vitamin C from the liver. It also aids to improve the use and uptake of oxygen by cells.

What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?

Alpha lipoic acid is a type of antioxidant that is made by the body and is similar to a vitamin in structure and function. It is found in all cells of the body. It is 50, 50 racemic mixture of R and S forms that are mirror images of each other. These two are also known as cis and transforms respectively. It is produced in small amount in the human body, so people need this in the form of supplements. Broccoli, spinach, tomato, and Brussels are a plant source of alpha lipoic acid whereas red meat and organ meat is the great animal source of it.

It helps to turn glucose into energy. It attacks free radicals which are the cause of hazardous reactions. Research has shown that alpha lipoic acid may help regenerate antioxidants and make them active again. Alpha s-lipoic acid has synthesized by chemical reactions (first time in the 1950s) and sold as alpha lipoic acid supplements. Lipoic acid is an ideal antioxidant that does everything an antioxidant should do. Some antioxidants work only in case of water such as vitamin E and C, but alpha-lipoic acid is both water soluble and fat soluble and works throughout the body. Both versions of lipoic acid have a short life in the human body and highly recommended that you take a sustained release version of alpha lipoic acid.

What is R-Lipoic Acid?

Alpha R-lipoic acid is the natural form of lipoic acid and the only version that has produced in the body and synthesized both in plants and animals. It is produced in mitochondria through a series of reactions. octanoyltransferase is involved in modifying the molecule so that it attaches to a lipoyl protein. The lipoyl synthase enzyme then functions to replace some of the hydrogens in the molecule with sulfur. The final product then attaches to a protein. It is only the cis form of Alpha lipoic acid. When it has been separated from its transform, it becomes physically unstable.

R-lipoic acid plays a role in various functions. It has been synthesized in the body and safely metabolizes. It is the only form of lipoic acid that reduces inflammation which is the cause of aging. It also proves to increase cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant activity for preventing mitochondrial decay. In this way, it attenuates the oxidative stress of aging. It also improves memory; reduce brain damage associated with aging. It is the only form of lipoic acid that significantly increases insulin sensitivity, increases glucose transport and metabolic rate and decreases the fat gain of the body from aging. R-lipoic acid helps to protect body fats against oxidative damage, chelates dangerous metals and reverses stress damage in the heart. It also maintains levels of other antioxidants including coenzymes Q10, vitamin E, C, and glutathione. R-lipoic acid is the only kind of lipoic acid that expands total life span by increasing the ability to use and take in oxygen while the reverse happens in aging.


It has concluded that alpha lipoic acid is a compound with two enantiomers whereas lipoic acid is one of its two enantiomers. Both exhibit different functions and benefits.