The Importance of B-Vitamins For Proper Nerve Function

Vitamins are necessary for the overall health and well being of the human body. They support a range of different bodily functions, which include the production of red blood cells and energy. The human body requires 13 different vitamins. Eight of those are classed as B-complex, or B-group vitamins.

B-complex vitamins are not responsible for the production of energy. This is important to know, because a lot of supplement advertisements are claiming that B vitamins can do so. That is because, without B-complex vitamins, the body will lack energy. However, the fuel is actually provided by protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

What the B-complex vitamins do is ensure that the body is able to actually use that fuel. B-group vitamins are also incredibly important to help cells multiply and regenerate, because they help the body make new DNA.for people who have nerve damage, these vitamins for neuropathy have many positive benefits, which is why they are added to products for treating nerve pain like Nerve Renew.

B-Complex Vitamins in Food

There are many foods that contain B-complex vitamins. However, they are water soluble and very delicate. This means that it is very easy to destroy the B vitamins in them, particularly through cooking or by mixing them with alcohol. Additionally, when processing food, much of the B-complex vitamins are also destroyed. This is why it is important to eat wholegrain bread, rice, and flour rather than the white versions.

The human body struggles to store most of the eight vitamins included in the B-group, with the exception of folate and B12, both of which are stored in the liver. Those who follow a very poor diet for a number of months may develop a vitamin B deficiency. Hence, it is very important that people eat a diet that is heavy in B-complex vitamins, which can be achieved by following a nutritious, balanced meal plan.

B-Complex Supplements

If you suspect that you have a B vitamin deficiency, it is important to have this checked out by a physician, rather than self-diagnosing. This is because taking B-complex supplements can actually mask deficiencies in a range of other vitamins. Furthermore, if taken incorrectly, some vitamins may actually be toxic. Hence, it is important to always see a physician or a nutritionist for advice.

The Types of B Vitamins

There are eight kinds of B vitamins:

  1. Vitamin B1 or thiamin
  2. Riboflavin
  3. Biotin
  4. Pantothenic acid
  5. Niacin
  6. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine
  7. Folate, which, when taken as a supplement, is known as folic acid
  8. Vitamin B12 or cyanocobalamin

Let's take a look at the vitamins that have an impact on the health of nerve cells, and should therefore be considered by someone with neuropathy.

About Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is the one that most people will have come across at some point or another. It is responsible for the production and maintenance of myelin, which is the substance that surrounds nerve cells. It is also responsible for breaking down amino acids and fatty acids for energy production, the formation of red blood cells, and mental ability. Cyanocobalamin is very closely related to folate, as each of these two B vitamins needs the other in order to function properly.

Vitamin B12 can be obtained through diet. It is found in high dosages in almost any type of animal product, including eggs, cheese, milk, meat, and liver. It is also for this reason that vegetarians often have to supplement. In fact, the elderly, who often eat a diet low in meat products, vegetarians, and vegans (including breastfed babies if their mother is vegetarian or vegan) often have a vitamin B12 deficiency. As a result, they can experience fatigue, tiredness, weight loss, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, smooth tongue, vision loss, and mental problems, including memory loss and depression.

About Vitamin B1

Thiamin is responsible for the conversion of glucose into energy. It also plays an important role in nerve function. Some of the best natural sources are white and wholemeal bread if fortified with thiamin (this is mandatory in Australia), pork, yeast, nuts, wheatgerm, legumes, seeds (sesame seeds have the highest concentrations), and wholemeal cereal grains.

Thiamin deficiency is most common in people from countries where rice is the staple food. If it happens in the Western world, it is more likely to be caused due to a very poor diet and/or excessive alcohol consumption. Someone with a deficiency usually experiences muscle weakness, fatigue, lethargy, poor leg and/or arm coordination, irritability, and confusion.

There are two conditions, known as wet beriberi and dry beriberi that are caused by thiamin deficiencies. These conditions affect the nervous, gastrointestinal, muscular, and cardiovascular systems. Those who have dry beriberi often experience neuropathy, having tingling sensations all over their body, as well as losing coordination in the legs and arms. Wet beriberi, by contrast, affects the heart.

About Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is required for the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein, the formation of certain brain chemicals, and the production of red blood cells. This vitamin influences the way the brain develops and performs its processes, the immune system, and the activity of steroid hormones. Pyridoxine can be found naturally in fruit, liver, nuts, poultry, meat, shellfish, fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and cereal grains.

Unfortunately, vitamin B6 can also be consumed in too large a quantity. This is common in people who self-diagnose and supplement without doctor's advice. This can lead to nerve damage and neuropathy, including having numbness in the feet and hands, and having difficulties in walking. If taken too long in a large dosage, the nerve damage can become permanent.

Research is ongoing into the benefits and drawbacks of taking B-complex vitamins in the treatment of neuropathy. It is very important to be careful with supplementation, however. This is because, although vitamins B12 and B1 do help in the severity of neuropathy, vitamin B6 can actually make it worse. This is why it is important to supplement only with the right types of B vitamins, and not simply take a full complex. And, as always, you should never purchase and/or use supplements without agreement from your physician.

Why You Should Be Taking Alpha Lipoic Acid For Nerve Pain

People who experience nerve pain, or neuropathy, often have a significantly reduced quality of life. In fact, it can be so debilitating that they can become disabled, unable to participate in life's regular pleasures. While medication does exist, its effectiveness is only limited, often comes with significant side effects, and usually works for only short periods of time. On the other hand, there are natural remedies, including Nerve Renew, which contain various helpful components, including alpha lipoic acid.

Note: There are many ALA supplements online of various quality and cost. After several hours of thorough research, we found the best kind is Stabilized R-Alpha Lipoic Acid. This has the highest bioavailability and absorption rate compared to other forms.

What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid?

This is a powerful antioxidant, found naturally in a lot of foods. Our bodies also create it naturally. In many countries across Europe, people have been provided with high levels of alpha lipoic acid through supplementation if they experienced specific forms of neuropathy. There were also a number of studies that have suggested that taking the alpha lipoic acid can help in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Why People Use Alpha Lipoic Acid

There is a lot of significant evidence that taking alpha lipoic supplements can be beneficial in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. There have been a number of separate studies that have demonstrated that there is a link between the said antioxidant and insulin resistance. Furthermore, studies have also shown that it can help in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy in particular.

Alpha Lipoic Acid for Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is generally caused by type 2 diabetes, although it can also be a consequence of cancer treatment. While it is not yet clear exactly how alpha lipoic acid works, it seems that it has a positive effect on the levels of prickling, tingling, and pain that people with neuropathy experience in their legs and feet. There is also some suggestion that it can benefit the retina, protecting it from the damage that is so common in people who have diabetes.

The research is very promising, therefore, and people with diabetic neuropathy are hopeful that there may be some degree of light at the end of the tunnel for them. Neuropathy, in all its forms, is incredibly debilitating. What is important, however, is that people do not simply start to use alpha lipoic acid and expect an instant cure. Rather, they should consult with their physician about the potential benefits of the acid, and whether it is recommended for them to try it.

Alpha Lipoic Acid for Dementia, Glaucoma, Skin Aging, and Other Conditions

Interestingly, a recent piece of research has suggested that people who supplement with alpha lipoic acid, or consume it in high levels through their diet, may find help with the symptoms of dementia. Research has also suggested that using alpha lipoic acid as a topical cream can help benefit skin that has been damaged due to age.

Further research has to be completed before this is truly confirmed, however. The acid is gathering a lot of attention, and studies are currently taking place in its potential beneficial effects in glaucoma, Amanita mushroom poisoning, migraines, kidney disease, and peripheral arterial disease. These studies are ongoing and no conclusions have been drawn as of yet.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Dosages for Nerve Pain

Although some research suggest that alpha lipoic acid is beneficial in the treatment of nerve damage, none of them have, as of yet, been conclusive. As a result, there is no established dosage yet for people to benefit from it. Nevertheless, based on the research that has been completed, the suggestion is that people should take between 600 and 1,200 milligrams per day for the treatment of neuropathy and type 2 diabetes.

In one of the studies, it was even concluded that 600 milligrams per day taken for just three weeks has positive effects on those who have diabetic neuropathy in particular. There have also been a number of studies in which alpha lipoic acid has been provided to test subjects intravenously. Naturally, this is not something that can be done at home.

Alpha Lipoic Acid in Your Diet

There are a lot of foods that contain alpha lipoic acid naturally, but the levels are very low. Examples of foods that you may want to add for your diet include rice bran, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, potatoes, yams, broccoli, and spinach. Additionally, it has been found that red meat contains ALA in quite high levels, particularly in organ meat. However, eating organ meat is generally not considered healthy, and eating a healthy diet is very important in the natural treatment of neuropathy so you may want to avoid this.

Further Information about Alpha Lipoic Acid

Side Effects

Through research, and particularly through the extensive use of alpha lipoic acid in Europe, it can safely be said that side effects are very uncommon. However, a few have reported experiencing a rash, dizziness, and nausea, although only for a short time. If used topically, skin irritation may also occur.

Risks Associated with Alpha Lipoic Acid

Some of the risks associated with alpha lipoic acid, include the fact that the compound has the potential to lower levels of important nutrients, including blood sugar. Therefore, it is very important to speak to a physician first before taking it. Your doctor may want to perform more regular tests on your glucose levels, particularly if you have diabetes and intend to take supplements. It is particularly important to speak to your doctor before supplementing if you suffer from a medical issue, but particularly if you suffer from thiamine deficiency, which is common in people with anorexia or alcoholism, or thyroid problems.

Possible Interaction with Drugs

If you currently already take different types of prescription or over the counter medication, or other supplements, you must speak to your physician before you take alpha lipoic acid supplements as well. This is particularly important for people who have diabetes (type 1 or type 2). This is because it possible that the combination of diabetes drugs and alpha lipoic acid could lead to blood sugar levels that are much too low. There are also some known interactions between the acid and certain chemotherapy drugs, possibly decreasing the effects of the latter. Some research suggest that it also interacts with osteoarthritis drugs, vasodilators for high blood pressure or heart disease, tranquilizers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. It is important, therefore, to always discuss your intentions with a physician first.

Pregnant or Nursing Women Should Avoid It

Lastly, no research has been conducted on alpha lipoic acid in pregnant or nursing women, or in children. Hence, those population groups should avoid it.

The Best Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement

How Fish Oil Can Help Reverse Nerve Damage

Research on omega 3 fatty acids is constantly ongoing because the fish oil, in which these fatty acids are found, has been shown to have many positive health benefits in humans. It has recently been suggested that it can even treat nerve damage, as well as prevent it. This was found after an extensive study at the Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom. What they found was that fish oil was able to protect the nerves in test subjects, ensuring that injury would be less likely. They also found that nerve tissue regenerated after treatment with fish oil.

Those who have experienced nerve damage as a result of injuries or accidents often experience significant degrees of pain. They also find that their muscles become weaker and, in some cases, they are even paralyzed. This can lead to significant disabilities. Unfortunately, while medication does exist for neuropathy, it is only partially effective and recovery rates are very low. For this reason, people look towards products that contain fish oil, such as Nerve Renew, in order to get some relief.

Study on the Ability of Fish Oil to Reverse Nerve Damage

The latest study at Queen Mary University of London, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. What it highlighted was that treatment with omega 3 could be incredibly important in helping people to recover from injuries to their nerves. This is a true breakthrough in the field of science.

Study on the Peripheral Nerve Cells

The study specifically looked at the peripheral nerve cells, which are the nerves that are affected by neuropathy. This is different, therefore, from the central nervous system. The peripheral nerves are responsible for transmitting signals between the spinal cord and the brain, as well as to the rest of the body. These nerves can regenerate naturally. However, although surgical techniques have advanced significantly, the recovery rates continue to be very poor and only effective in those who have minor injuries.

Fish Oil Is Best Source of Omega 3

Fish oil has essential fatty acids that the body needs in order to develop and grow properly. Significant research has taken place in their various health benefits. The body does not create omega 3 naturally, which means that they must be consumed through our diet. Oil from fish is the best natural source of omega 3.

The new study started by looking at isolated nerve cells in mice. They then stimulated these cells to mimic the effects of injuries or accidents on the nerve cells, either by starving them of oxygen or by stretching the cells. These are the types of conditions in which a large amount of nerve cells becomes damaged or even dies off. When the cells were then enriched with omega 3 fatty acids, they were protected significantly and far fewer cells died as well.

Recovery from Injury in the Sciatic Nerves

The researchers then went on to study the mice's sciatic nerves. Here, it was found that if high levels of omega 3 were provided, mice would experience recovery from injury to their nerves at greatly accelerated rates. Additionally, recovery was much quicker. Interestingly, it was also found that muscle wastage was significantly reduced after the mice experience nerve damage.

This particular piece of groundbreaking research was completed by a team under guidance of Adina Michael-Titus, who works at Barts and the London Medical School as a Professor of Neuroscience. Adina is also the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma's lead of the Neuroscience and Trauma team, which is found at the Queen Mary University of London.

Adina explained that her team had completed extensive research on omega 3 in the past, determining that it could positively affect a range of neurological conditions. The new study has suggested that it could also benefit those who have experienced peripheral nerve injuries. She did add that further research is required, but preliminary results seem to suggest that damaged nerve cells can be protected. Protecting them is a vital element of successful recovery from neuropathy.

Fish Oil and Diabetic Neuropathy

As stated, a lot of research is ongoing into the benefits of fish oil in a range of health issues. A different mouse study has now found that it could also benefit people who have experienced diabetic neuropathy in particular. It is believed that some 70% of people who are diabetic also experience diabetic nerve damage. Their symptoms can range from mild to severe and include tingling, pain, and delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis), as well as sexual dysfunction.

Study Shows Omega 3 Causes Reversal of Damage in Diabetic Neuropathy

Iowa City's VA Medical Center has completed a new mouse study that has shown that providing those with diabetic neuropathy with omega 3 fatty acids could reverse at least some of the nerve damage associated with diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes is a widely researched condition and it is already known that, if people were treated with omega 3, their liver function and levels of blood sugar would generally improve. It is believed that this is due to resolvins and other protective molecules found in omega 3. It has been observed that the body produces resolvins if omega 3 is ingested.

To further determine how this worked, three groups of mice were compared, two of which had type 2 diabetes. The first group was treated with a daily resolvin injection and consumed a high fat diet. The second group was given a high fat diet, and researchers ensured 50% of those fats came from menhaden fish, which is highly oily. The third group of mice were nondiabetic and serve as a control.

What researchers uncovered was that the untreated mice had fewer nerves in their eyes, and that their sense of touch was diminished in their paws. They also found that resolvin or fish oil did not cause an improvement on the mice's blood glucose levels. However, both groups of diabetic mice did experience an improvement in the health of their nerves. Nerve cell growth was stimulated and the mice's paws also experienced an increase in their capability to feel.

Human Clinical Trials Still to Be Conducted Although Preliminary Results Are Encouraging

The scientists did acknowledge that further studies have to be completed, and that these include clinical trials on humans. However, the preliminary results do demonstrate that some of the harmful effects of diabetic neuropathy can be reversed. The study was led on by Mark A. Yorek, Ph.D., who was particularly encouraged by the fact that fish oil is not harmful and can easily be provided to people. It is very easy to take fish oil, either through diet or through supplements, and very few side effects are associated with it.

Before going to clinical trials, further tests on mice will be completed in order to demonstrate that fish oil can be beneficial in restoring nerve function even if the damage has been done over a long period of time. After that, they will move on to human clinical trials.