Alpha-lipoic acid is a compound found naturally inside every cell of the human body. Its primary role is to convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy using oxygen, a process referred to as aerobic metabolism. Alpha-lipoic acid is also considered an antioxidant, meaning that it can neutralize harmful compounds called free radicals that damage cells at the genetic level. Many foods contain alpha-lipoic acid in very low amounts. They include spinach, broccoli, yams, potatoes, yeast, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and rice bran. Red meat – particularly organ meat – is also a source of alpha-lipoic acid. Much of the research involving alpha-lipoic acid has been centered on the prevention of diabetes and the management of diabetic nerve pain.