I won’t go into how much diabetic neuropathy sucks, because if you deal with it, you already know. Likewise, I will not go over how important it is to manage the prediabetic and diabetic spectrum to prevent diabetic neuropathy in the first place. This was covered ad nauseum in the blog article referenced above.
In painful diabetic neuropathy, there is a problem with the way the nerves going into the legs and feet are behaving. Given how much nutrition and vitamin supplements play a role in healthy nerve function, it would make sense that there are natural tools in the supplement toolbox that can be used for this condition. I’ve already mentioned Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Since CoQ10 is absolutely essential for the high-energy cells in your body (such as nerve, heart and muscle cells), CoQ10 supplementation can benefit diseases and conditions associated with these types of cells.
B12, also known as cobalamin, is vitally important for quite a few processes in your body. Cell division, the formation of neurotransmitters and nerve cell function (vitamin B12 plays a role in the formation of the myelin sheath that protects your nerves). One thing to be careful of with vitamin B12 for neuropathy, though, is to absolutely avoid the cyanocobalamin form, which is the most commonly used in supplements AND vitamin B12 injections. I’ve covered this topic in more detail in a prior blog article that can be read by clicking here. As an interesting note: The very common diabetic drug metformin is well known to deplete the body of vitamin B12 stores…
Alpha lipoic acid (sometimes referred to as thioctic acid) is another naturally occurring substance that can follow in the footsteps of CoQ10 because it is used in the generation of energy for every cell in our body. As always, the high-energy cells like nerve cells need more energy and thus can benefit greatly from alpha lipoic acid in neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid has also been shown to protect the beta cells of the pancreas, thus protect from or helping with diabetes.
This particular study just highlights what we’ve already seen with these two supplements for foot neuropathy treatment in diabetes. Here’s the details:
- 17 different studies were evaluated.
- The treatment lasted from 2-4 weeks.
- The form of vitamin B12 used was methylcobalamin (the preferred form for the nerves) at 500-1,000 mcg (the study states “mg” but I’m thinking that’s a typo).
- Alpha lipoic acid was used in the 300-600 mg range given via IV.
- Both vitamins for neuropathy were effective at improving nerve function, but the combination of both was 47% stronger than either alone.
Not too shabby considering that there were NO adverse effects noted.
Overall, though, I think we’re beginning to see some pretty successful tools to be used in foot neuropathy treatment for diabetics, both supplemental and mechanical (whole body vibration). Side note: our office uses a B12 lozenge with 2,000 mcg that I would compare to the injectable forms and is much simpler to use.