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What Vitamins Help Nerve Damage?

 Jun 14, 2011 | By Amy Neuzil, N.D. Based in Austin, Texas, Naturopathic Doctor Amy Neuzil specializes in weight loss, woman’s health and mental disorders. She has frequent radio appearances and appeared on the TV series “The Genesis of Healing.” She has been consulted for “Natural Health Magazine” and “Health Talk.” Her first book, “DIY Health: For Women” was published in 2009.

What Vitamins Help Nerve Damage?

What Vitamins Help Nerve Damage?

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Vitamins for Nerve damage, or neuropathy, according to can be caused by traumatic injuries including surgery, infections, toxins and metabolic processes. The most common cause of peripheral nerve damage in America is diabetes.
Nerve damage can cause you to feel tingling, burning, cold feeling, loss of sensation, electric pain, numbness and loss of functions if the damage happens to nerves that control motor functions.

B Vitamins

A German journal called Klinische Wochenschrift published a study showing that B vitamins help nerve regeneration times after injury. In this study vitamin B1, or thiamine, B6, or pyridoxine and B12 or cobalamin were tested. All three had significant nerve repair and regrowth enhancing abilities and so taking B vitamins may help you if you are having symptoms of nerve damage or neuropathy.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fact Sheet

There are many health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows strong evidence that the omega-3s EPA and DHA can boost heart health and lower triglycerides. And there are studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions — rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and many more.

Just what are omega-3 fatty acids exactly? How much do you need? And what do all those abbreviations — EPA, DHA, and ALA — really mean? Here’s a rundown of the essential omega-3 facts you need to know.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Basics

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  • Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. We need them for our bodies to work normally. Because essential fatty acids (ALA,DHA,EPA) are not made in the body or are inefficiently converted from ALA to EPA and DHA, we need to get them from our diet .
  • Omega-3s have a number of health benefits. Omega-3s are thought to play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body — in the blood vessels, the joints, and elsewhere. However, omega-3 supplements (EPA/DHA) may cause the blood to thin and cause excess bleeding, particularly in people taking anticoagulant drugs.
  • There are several types of omega-3 fatty acids. Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. Plants like flax contain ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is partially converted into DHA and EPA in the body. Algae oil often provides only DHA.
  • Experts say that DHA and EPA — from fish and fish oil — have better established health benefits than ALA. DHA and EPA are found together only in fatty fish and algae. DHA can also be found on its own in algae, while flaxseed and plant sources of omega-3s provide ALA — a precursor to EPA and DHA, and a source of energy


A study published in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids showed remarkable nerve-protective effects of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s were given in high doses after an adult spinal injury, which is notoriously difficult to heal, and demonstrated tremendous benefit. Neurological outcomes in those who received Omega-3s were far better than in those who didn’t and nerve repair and regeneration happened much more effectively.

BiotinThe University of Maryland Medical Center claims that biotin, also called vitamin H, helps to treat nerve damage. Biotin is especially effective if your nerve damage has been caused by diabetes or from ongoing dialysis for kidney failure. Dietary sources of biotin include egg yolk, brewers yeast, nuts, beans, whole grains and mushrooms.


  • Mayo Clinic: Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Klinische Wochenschrift: Modification of degenerative and regenerative processes in peripheral nerves by treatment with B vitamins]
  • Prostaglandens, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids and neurological injury.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin H (Biotin)
Article reviewed by Lynda Moultry Belcher Last updated on: Jun 14, 2011

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Best Vitamins Peripheral Neuropathy

Best Vitamins Peripheral neuropathy is a common condition of nerve damage characterized by pain, numbness or tingling in the nerves leading from the brain and spinal cord to the body. The causes of peripheral neuropathy are many and varied and include metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, infections, inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, exposure to chemicals–such as pesticides, insecticides or drugs–or to toxic metals such as mercury and lead. Vitamin therapies can be beneficial in the treatment of many forms of peripheral neuropathy, according to
Vitamin E

The use of vitamin E to treat peripheral neuropathy caused by chemotherapy was tested and found effective in a 2010 “Neurology” study. The chemotherapy agent cisplatin, which has a high incidence of severe peripheral neuropathy at certain dose levels, was used in the study. Patients on cisplatin therapy were given oral vitamin E, in the alpha-tocopherol form, before starting chemotherapy and for three months after. The incidence and severity of neuropathy was found to be significantly lower in the vitamin E group than in the control group that received a placebo. The researchers concluded that, due to the effectiveness of vitamin E at protecting patients from neurotoxic effects of cisplatin in this study, vitamin E should be included in the treatment protocol of patients receiving this drug.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes, caused by the damaging effects of chronically high blood sugar levels and the associated impairment of thiamine metabolism, according to a study in the 2006 “Pharmacology.” Thiamine, which is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism, is rapidly depleted in diabetics due to high demand by cells needing to manage the high glucose levels. The study used the fat soluble form of the vitamin, known as benfotiamine, for its superior bioavailability, in combination with vitamin B6. Over a 45-day period, a highly significant reduction of pain was reported by 95.5 percent of study participants. Objective testing revealed improvements in nerve conduction velocity in 45.5 percent of patients and decreased levels of glycosylated hemoglobin in 53.6 percent of patients. The researchers concluded that benfotiamine is an effective supplement for the management of diabetic neuropathy.

Vitamin D


Surgery to repair peripheral nerves that have been damaged from being severed often has less than ideal results, with residual loss of function. A study on vitamin D therapy has found that the vitamin has the ability to aid in the promotion of nerve regeneration. A 2008 “Journal of Neurotrauma” study used the plant-derived form of vitamin D, known as ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, on rats with severed lower-leg nerves. The rats received 100 IU per kg body weight per day of ergocalciferol for 10 weeks. Significant nerve regeneration was observed and sensory and motor functions were found to be intact. The researchers recommend that further testing is needed to compare dosage and effectiveness of ergocalciferol with cholecalciferol, vitamin D, for the purpose of treating traumatic peripheral neuropathy.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

 Alpha-lipoic acid is a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant. Yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes are good sources of alpha-lipoic acid. It is also made in the laboratory for use as medicine.

Alpha-lipoic acid is used for diabetes and nerve-related symptoms of diabetes including burning, pain, and numbness in the legs and arms. High doses of alpha-lipoic acid are approved in Germany for the treatment of these symptoms.

Some people use alpha-lipoic acid for memory loss, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), HIV/AIDS, cancer, liver disease, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (including a disorder called cardiac autonomic neuropathy) and Lyme disease.

Alpha-lipoic acid is also used to treat eye-related disorders, such as damage to the retina, cataracts, glaucoma, and an eye disease called Wilson’s disease.

How does it work?

Alpha-lipoic acid seems to help prevent certain kinds of cell damage in the body, and also restores vitamin levels such as vitamin E and vitamin C. There is also evidence that alpha-lipoic acid can improve the function and conduction of neurons in diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid is used in the body to break down carbohydrates and to make energy for the other organs in the body.

Alpha-lipoic acid seems to work as an antioxidant, which means that it might provide protection to the brain under conditions of damage or injury. The antioxidant effects might also be helpful in certain liver diseases.


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Photo Credit Terry J Alcorn/Photodisc/Getty Images


  • “Neurology”; Vitamin E neuroprotection for cisplatin neuropathy: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial; Pace A, et al.; 2010
  • “Srpski Arhiv Za Celokupno Lekarstvo”; The effect of benfothiamine in the therapy of diabetic polyneuropathy; Nikolic A, et al.; 2009
  • “Journal of Neurotrauma”; Vitamin D2 potentiates axon regeneration; Chabas JF, et al.; 2008
  • Right Health: Peripheral Neuropathy

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