Should I Be Taking Supplements for Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a debilitating condition that can affect all areas of your body. It is a result of impaired circulation, causing a lack of nutrients and oxygen being delivered to nerve tissues. Anyone with neuropathy knows that pain symptoms can range from mild to intense. For some, it may just be a numbing sensation or tingling, but for others, the pain may be so severe that it limits their mobility and restricts their independence. But there is still no cure for it. Those affected may seek natural remedies or therapy, but what about taking supplements? Are supplements generally recommended?
Well the simple answer to that is, yes — but it depends. No one should be dependent on supplements for neuropathy, and should seek other means for relief, but there are undoubtedly benefits to them that can ease the process along. Let’s discuss a few supplements that may help and see what their specific benefits are…
Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid, or a powerful antioxidant that helps burn fat and produce energy for the body. It’s made in your liver and kidneys with a bit of help from vitamin C. It is vital to heart and brain functions as well as muscle movement.
It plays a huge part in nerve health as it protects nerve fibers, manages nerve pain and supports the growth of nerve cells. As you can see, acetyl-L-carnitine’s ability to reduce pain and support peripheral nerves makes it a key component in healing for diabetic neuropathy. Taking supplements with acetyl-L-carnitine can help you feeling back to normal by rebuilding nerve fibers and ultimately reducing pain.
The standard dose: 500-2,000mg, daily
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is another antioxidant that’s made by our bodies. Although it’s also found in some foods, like spinach and broccoli, it is only present in small amounts. But ALA has gone beyond just acting as an antioxidant. Taking supplements has proven to aid in neuropathic pain, such as numbness, tingling and burning amongst others.
Apart from directly eliminating harmful free radicals, ALA plays a role in managing blood sugar levels and indirectly supporting the health of blood vessels that are linked to nerves. It’s a promising recommendation for those with neuropathy as it has been in practice for many years throughout Europe.
The standard dose: 300-600mg, daily
Vitamin B-12 (with or without Folate and Vitamin B-6)
Vitamin B-12 primarily aids in red blood cell and DNA formation. When it comes to neuropathy, it is extremely important because of its role in maintaining the myelin sheath that encapsulates nerve fibers.
The myelin sheath ensures that the messages being sent throughout your nervous system are traveling through your body properly. This thus reduces pain relative to damaged nerves and is important for an overall healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B-6 also has many functions within your body, but the one most relative to our conversation is how it helps form the chemicals that nerves use to communicate to one another. And like vitamin B-12, it also aids in the myelin sheath formation.
The standard dose: 1,000mcg (1mg), daily
Benfotiamine acts to block the biochemical pathways through which high blood sugar damages cells within the body. When nerves are attacked, these damages are what cause pain sensations in neuropathy.
More specifically, benfotiamine relieves diabetic polyneuropathy (when several nerves are damaged) by protecting the brain against oxidative stress (the release of harmful free radicals and the body’s inability to neutralize them by antioxidants). Thus, benfotiamine plays a key role in protecting the brain and peripheral nerves from diabetic neuropathy.
The standard dose: 300-600mg; usually taken two times a day with meals
Biotin (Vitamin B-7) and Chromium
Biotin and chromium both play roles in supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Biotin has suggested to control insulin output from the pancreas (insulin resistance), whereas chromium helps with insulin sensitivity.
Together they make a powerful duo in combating diabetes and subsequent neuropathy through blood sugar level management.
The standard dose for biotin (Vitamin B-7): 100mcg daily
There are many benefits to taking supplements for neuropathy, but with like any other ingestive, they should not be abused and should be managed properly. Taking supplements can alleviate pain and take you down the road for long term recovery, but it is also not a cure. That’s why they’re called supplements — to act as additional aid and not be your only source of relief.
Looking into your diet, physical condition and overall health are also ways to help with neuropathy. By incorporating healthier foods in your diet that contain the same chemicals and nutrients that these supplements are made of, maintaining good physical condition by exercising regularly, and reviewing your overall happiness and outlook will benefit you tenfold. You’ll be surprised to know how much of your daily activities and wellbeing affect your health directly.
So if you’re wondering if supplements are for you, the answer is possibly. Depending on your comfort level, your condition and what your doctor recommends, supplements should not be out of the question. There are plenty more than what are listed on this article, so do your research and inquire about your health.