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
- (K-Laser) patients experienced significant reduction in modified total neuropathy scores at all time points. There were no observed complications among patient treated with (K-Laser). (K-Laser) may improve neuropathy symptoms through a number of plausible mechanisms including prevention of neural apoptosis and enhancement of neurite outgrowth. Among patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, (K-Laser) produced a significant reduction in neuropathy symptoms. Click here for full study.
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common types of peripheral neuropathy. It is considered to be progressive and irreversible. However, treatment with K-Laser has shown that may not be true. In this 4-week study patients treated with the laser had a significant increase in nerve conduction. Microcirculation (skin blood perfusion) was increased by 35.8% at the heel, big toe, and little toes. Patients reported a 26.4% decrease in pain levels. The results showed motor, sensory, and circulation improvements in just 4 weeks of treatment with the laser. Click here for full study.
- Laser is showing promising results to treat pain in the extremities. The laser produces an anti-inflammatory effect and increases microcirculation resulting in increased healing. The increased microcirculation induces tissue repair processes and helps reduce pain. This allows increased oxygen and nutrition to the damaged area. Click here for full study.
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).