The dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid may prevent dieters from packing the pounds back on after they go off their weight-loss plans, a study finds.

Dr. Malcolm Goyns, director of Immorgene Concepts, a scientific research firm in England, said the pill can “lock in” the benefits of a six-month weight loss program if taken after the diet is completed, London’s Daily Mail reported Friday.

Goyns’ study was published in the journal Mechanisms of Aging and Development. He studied the effects of the dietary supplements on rats that were on normal and low-calorie diets.

The rats who took the supplement continued to lose weight after they went off their calorie-restricted diets, Goyns said.

“It seems the alpha lipoic acid fools the body into behaving as if it was still on whatever diet it was following before the supplement was added,” Goyns said.

The dietary supplement is taken by some for its antioxidant properties. Earlier studies have suggested it improves memory performance and may be beneficial to people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

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