I heard a great podcast by Ben Greenfield this week and someone asked a question about supplementation for nerve function. There are many conditions affecting nerve function and one that we treat in our office is Peripheral Neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition characterized by extremity pain, numbness, burning pain, and weakness, usually of the hands, arms, legs, and/or feet. Peripheral Neuropathy refers to a condition that results when there is damage to the Peripheral Nervous System, the network of nerves outside the spinal cord. Symptoms can include numbness or tingling, pricking sensations, muscle weakness, paralysis, extreme sensitivity to touch, burning pain (especially at night), and in extreme cases organ or gland dysfunction. Peripheral Neuropathy can be acute (symptoms occur suddenly, progress rapidly, and resolve slowly) or chronic (symptoms are slight, progress slowly, may take months or years to resolve, and can be recurrent and worsening over time.)
There are many causes of Peripheral Neuropathy including physical injury or sudden trauma, diseases or disorders, exposure to toxins in medications, hazardous environmental and industrial materials, and heavy alcohol consumption. Diabetes, Chemotherapy Treatment, Spinal Stenosis, and Spinal Disc Degeneration are all common underlying conditions of Peripheral Neuropathy.
We treat Peripheral Neuropathy in our office with K-Laser. K-Laser treatment has seen a 90% improvement in symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy which is huge! K-laser is a class IV laser and a 30-minute treatment with a class IV laser is equivalent to 12 hours of continuous treatment with a class III laser. Below are some awesome studies on Peripheral Neuropathy and treatment with the K-laser
There are supplements that you can take to help assist with nerve function and healing.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is involved in lipid transport (important for mitochondrial function). Acetyl-L-Carnitine is neuroprotective in the central nervous system and has been shown to increase peripheral nerve regeneration. Clinically it has been shown to help with diabetic neuropathy and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy(1).
R-Lipoic Acid which is the most active form of alpha-lipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid seems to delay or reverse peripheral neuropathy through its antioxidant properties. It can increase glutathione which is an endogenous antioxidant. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve motor-nerve conduction velocity and also to protect peripheral nerves from ischemia in rats. Patients treated with 600mg of alpha-lipoic acid had reduced pain, numbness, and hypersensitivity(2).
Co-Q10 is great for a lot of condition. A study completed on rats showed treatment with Co-Q10 prevented nerve impairment, improved sensory symptoms. Co-Q10 has sown to improve endothelial function and blood flow so it improves oxygen to the peripheral nerves. Another study showed significant improvements in diabetics with peripheral neuropathies in patients with type two diabetes(3).
B-Complex which I personally love for many things including energy! One study found that higher doses of vitamin B complex resulted in significant short-term pain reduced and decreased hypersensitivity (4).