Neuropathy is a painful, life limiting condition. It is believed that 8% of those over 55, as well as 2.4% of all people, are affected by it. It is commonly found in those who have Type 2 diabetes, although it can also be caused by trauma and various other genetic disorders, diseases, and exposures.
Medication is available to treat neuropathy, but it is either ineffective or it is not effective for long, and it comes with various side effects. This is why scientists are very interested in finding natural vitamins and herbs to fight the symptoms of neuropathy.
Here, we will take a look at the 20 best vitamins and herbs for neuropathy, what they do, and their scientific backing.
Benfotiamine is a type of vitamin B1 that is commonly prescribed to diabetics in Europe. Studies have shown that this vitamin slows down the progression of diabetes, while also providing neuropathy relief. However, it does come with possible side effects, including dizziness, hair loss, nausea, and weight gain. Read our post on B Vitamins for more info.
- Effectiveness of different benfotiamine dosage regimens in the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy
- Benfotiamine relieves inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rats.
- Methyl B12
Methyl B12 is cobalamin vitamin B12, which relates to hemoglobin. While often prescribed for those who have anemia, it has been found to provide relief from neuropathy and other neurological disorders as well. Additionally, the vitamin is essential for the myelin sheath, which protects the nerves, regeneration.
- Methylcobalamin: A Potential Vitamin of Pain Killer
- Vitamin B complex and vitamin B12 levels after peripheral nerve injury
- Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is often marketed as riboflavin. It is yellow in color and light destroys it. Found naturally in mushrooms, organ meats, peas, beans, almonds, and leafy vegetables, people often have deficiencies in vitamin B2 due to the lack of these ingredients in a standard diet.
Vitamin B2 produces FAD and FMN, both of which are responsible for metabolizing what we eat into nerve and cell energy. Diabetics often have substantial deficiencies of this vitamin as well. Supplementing can reduce the symptoms of neuropathy, particularly when taken in high dosages.
- Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine, which helps to keep the central nervous system, the brain, and the immune system healthy. It is found naturally in various food sources, but it is generally recommended for people to take a vitamin B6 supplement. However, too much vitamin B6 can cause neuropathy, so it is important to be careful with this.
Copper is believed to work due to the “Theory of Trapped Electricity”. It has been suggested that inflammation is caused by damaged nerves trapping electricity, which copper will attract and pull away from the body. Copper has been used as such in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Often, it is worn as a bracelet, something that people claim to have benefited from. Others rub copper on the area where they experience pain.
Manganese occurs in trace amounts in our body. It is a strong antioxidant that helps protect our body from free radical damage. A human body should contain no more than 20mg of manganese, but many people are deficient. Studies have been conducted on the impact of manganese on pain. So far, it seems that people benefit from it, but it is not yet known how or why.
- Regulation of magnesium homeostasis and transport in mammalian cells
- Manganese-induced neurotoxicity: a review of its behavioral consequences and neuroprotective strategies
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is responsible for the support of virtually every bodily function. Diabetic neuropathy is found in 20% of all diabetics and it is one of the main causes of diabetic mortality. Diabetics are also commonly deficient in vitamin D. Studies have been conducted to measure the impact of supplementing with vitamin D on patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. These studies have seen marked improvements in all scores relating to neuropathy in diabetic patients.
- Prospective Evaluation of the Effect of Short-Term Oral Vitamin D Supplementation on Peripheral Neuropathy in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Vitamin D in Pain Management
- Vitamin K
Vitamin K2 has been shown to be able to restore energy levels in damaged nerves, returning them to normal. This is why it is particularly beneficial for Parkinson’s patients in particular. Additionally, it is now known that there is a link between vitamin K and energy production. Various studies have found positive results. However, scientists are finding it difficult to determine the appropriate dosage for the vitamin. Vitamin K can be found naturally in many different food groups, but it is now suggested that people should supplement with it for greater effect.
- Preliminary Study Shows Positive Effect of Vitamin K2 as MK-7 on Peripheral Neuropathy Due to Vitamin B Deficiency and/or Diabetes Mellitus
- Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
Selenium is classed as an “essential” nutrient, meaning it is required by the body buy has to be consumed through our diet. Around 55mcg per day are needed. Various studies have been conducted to determine whether it could fight cancerous tumors.
There have also been a number of studies showing that incidences of various forms of cancer and of neuropathy are more common in areas where natural soil does not contain high levels of selenium. However, many physicians believe that only strict vegans need to supplement with selenium, with those following a standard diet simply receiving it through their daily food intake.
- Effects of Selenium on Antioxidant Activity and Recovery from Sciatic Nerve Ischemia–Reperfusion in Adult Rats
- Selenium neurotoxicity in humans: Bridging laboratory and epidemiologic studies
Various studies have shown that magnesium is effective for pain treatment. This has long been known for muscle pain, but it now seems that it is beneficial for nerve pain as well. This is believed to be linked to the NMDA brain chemical, which is stimulated when someone consumes magnesium, settling it down without it first becoming toxic. Some physicians now offer intravenous magnesium to patients, particularly those with fibromyalgia, as it has such tremendous benefits.
Zinc deficiency is found in around a third of people around the world. Zinc can prevent various forms of inflammation, and inflammation can kill nerve cells. Additionally, zinc supports the cells that help fight infections.
- Zinc alleviates pain through high-affinity binding to the NMDA receptor NR2A subunit
- Zinc in the central nervous system: From molecules to behavior
- R-Alpha Lipoic Acid
R-Alpha lipoic acid is classed as a “super” antioxidant. It turns glucose into energy. It is found in a variety of natural sources, including potatoes and green vegetables. Some evidence suggests it helps the body process insulin, meaning it is essential for diabetics, and it reduces peripheral neuropathy symptoms. There are some side effects, however, including acid reflux and skin rashes. Additionally, it can enhance pharmaceutical medication, so it should only be taken after consultation with a health care professional.
- Alpha lipoic acid: a new treatment for neuropathic pain in patients with diabetes
- Alpha Lipoic Acid for Symptomatic Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients with Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Acetyl-L-carnitine has been suggested as an antinociceptive and neuroprotectant. It is a type of amino acid derivative. Unfortunately, it is still poorly understood, but it is believed to have an impact on mitochondrial function, neurotrophins, and synaptic transmission within the body, thereby also affecting neuropathic symptoms. Various clinical trials have shown that it has significant regenerative capacity as well, and that it has almost no side effects.
- Acetyl-L-carnitine in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
- Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials
Berberine is an alkaloid found in a range of different plants. It also has strong pharmacological properties that are of interest in the treatment of a variety of conditions, one of which is neuropathic pain. Additionally, it modulates dopamine and thereby works as an antidepressant. It is also believed to have a positive impact on mechanical allodynia, which is caused by diabetic neuropathy and by nerve injuries.
- Berberine Ameliorates Cold and Mechanical Allodynia in a Rat Model of Diabetic Neuropathy
- Berberine Ameliorates Allodynia Induced by Chronic Constriction Injury of the Sciatic Nerve in Rats.
- Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri is an adaptogen that has been used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic medicine. It is now known to be an analgesic and nootropic as well. It is a creeping perennial herb that often grows in aquariums. It is found globally, which means it is easy to find as well. Scientific evidence has shown it to be full of bacosides, which enable it to be an adaptogenic.
- A bacosides containing Bacopa monnieri extract alleviates allodynia and hyperalgesia in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain in rats
- Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri
There are many different types of nerve pain, one of which is sciatica. This happens when the sciatic nerve, found at the root of the spinal nerve, is compressed. This leads to often debilitating pain and people who suffer from it often end up having spinal surgery.
However, some studies now suggest that turmeric could also be used to treat this, not in the least because it has been found to lessen inflammation in the nerve tissues and fibers. It is the strongest anti-inflammatory herb known to impact the nerves. It is also a very tasty spice to flavor food, used mainly in Asian dishes. In addition, it also has a lot of important health benefits, including reducing neuropathic pain symptoms.
It does this through a number of key benefits, including:
- Controlling aeration of the body
- Enhancing the supply of blood
- Acting as an anti-inflammatory
- Rendering nerve cells more sensitive
- Breaking down lipoproteins in a much quicker manner
- Curcumin Alleviates Neuropathic Pain by Inhibiting p300/CBP Histone Acetyltransferase Activity-Regulated Expression of BDNF and Cox-2 in a Rat Model
- Curcumin Could Prevent the Development of Chronic Neuropathic Pain in Rats with Peripheral Nerve Injury
- Feverfew Extract
Feverfew extract has long been used to help people with migraine headaches find relief. Furthermore, it is now suggested that it may help with neuropathy as well. Also, it can help to lower blood pressure, which means it is more difficult for inflammation to take hold in bodily tissues.
However, feverfew may have a number of side effects, including minor weight gain, joint stiffness, heartburn, and other digestive discomfort. There are also some suggestions it may affect the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
- St. John's Wort seed and feverfew flower extracts relieve painful diabetic neuropathy in a rat model of diabetes.
- Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review
Skullcap is a very popular herb used in traditional medicine to help fight nervousness and anxiety, while also acting as a painkiller. Scientific evidence has also shown that it can act as an anti-inflammatory that works all the way down to the cellular level. It also has a positive impact on the overall central nervous system, thereby improving the symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.
Using skullcap may lead to some side effects, including dizziness and drowsiness. It also has an impact on the liver, which is why it should not be taken by those who consume alcohol on a regular basis. It is also important to know that not all skullcaps are created equally.
The only species that has been found to be of benefit is Scuttelaria lateriflora. Other species are cheaper and easier to grow, which is why they have been added to supplements, but they do not have the same benefits. Additionally, it is important to take the appropriate dosage as skullcap can be toxic.
- Passion flower
Extracts from passion flowers have been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years to fight anxiety and the symptoms associated with it, including insomnia. Additionally, it is believed to be a strong painkiller.
Scientific research has shown passion flower to contain various flavonoids, including chrysin, vitexin, and orientin, all of which are natural types of analgesics. However, it may lead to side effects, including an irregular heartbeat, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Anyone who experiences these side effects should stop taking the extract.
- Passiflora incarnata attenuation of neuropathic allodynia and vulvodynia apropos GABA-ergic and opioidergic antinociceptive and behavioural mechanisms
- Herbal triplet in treatment of nervous agitation in children
- Oat Straw
Oat straw has been used in traditional medicine all the way back to the Middle Ages. Derived from green oats, the extract has now been scientifically proven to benefit cardiovascular, brain, and nerve health. Additionally, it lowers the levels of blood sugar and of cholesterol, while having a positive impact on high blood pressure at the same time. Some people do experience bloating or gas after taking oat straw, however.
- Chronic Effects of a Wild Green Oat Extract Supplementation on Cognitive Performance in Older Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial
A life free from the pain associated with neuropathy is possible without having to turn to harsh pharmaceutical compounds. There are various herbal and natural supplements can be of benefit for those who suffer from neuropathy.
We believe that the best supplements contain as many of the above natural substances as possible, thereby having the greatest impact while remaining safe to use at the same time. As a result, we feel that two products in particular stand out.
- Nerve Renew, which is a high quality supplement designed specifically to increase the quality of life of people who experience neuropathic pain. It helps to fight the common neuropathic symptoms, including pins and needles, burning, tingling, and numbness. At the same time, the ingredients found in Nerve Renew help to boost the health of the nerve cells, while at the same time helping to regulate blood sugar levels. It uses a number of important ingredients in a unique combination that is highly bioavailable. This means that the ingredients can be fully absorbed by the body and get to work at the cellular level.
- Nerve Aid is a similar product, having helped thousands of people the world over to enhance their quality of life. It is designed to restore blood flow, heal damaged nerves, and reduce the pain associated with neuropathy. It uses a clinically proven formula to achieve this, with ingredients that work synergistically at cellular level. Mainly, it prides itself on offering what it calls a “complete solution”, something that most other supplements do not have.