Nerve pain, or neuropathy, is a common nervous system condition which brings discomfort and many challenges for those who suffer from it. The cause of neuropathy varies by person; however, you are not alone. More than 20 million Americans have nerve pain. Neuropathic pain comes in many different forms and shoots in a nerve distribution, typically characterized by numbness, tingling, burning and/or pain sensations. While there are various methods of treatment for neuropathy, some people benefit from supplementation.
While supplements are by no means a replacement for a healthy diet, most of us will occasionally need a daily supply of some supplements to fill the gaps of our diets. Supplements will not fix poor diet and/or lifestyle habits. Due to the poor quality of our food supply and high load of environmental toxins, even with a perfect diet, supplements are still needed. Studies have shown deficiencies in individuals eating a standard American diet, and health benefits with supplementation.1
If you suffer from nerve pain you are likely to benefit from the following supplements: alpha-lipoic acid, CoQ10, and acetyl-L-carnitine. My personal favorite is alpha-lipoic acid, as it is a powerful antioxidant, and studies have shown it to reduce nerve damage and improve nerve pain.2, 3 I have provided a basic description of each of these below. It is important to always discuss with a physician before starting any supplements, especially to determine the appropriate dosage. For most people, our diets provide a sufficient amount of these supplements, but for others, supplementation is needed.
1. Alpha-lipoic acid
is an antioxidant produced naturally in the body and obtained via dietary sources. It can help with nerve pain, particularly in diabetes. In our diets, it is found in yeast, yams, carrots, red meat, spinach, broccoli, organ meats (such as liver), and potatoes.
2. Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10
is a fat-soluble compound with a chemical structure similar to vitamin K. It plays a key role in muscle cell energy production. CoQ10 improves energy, augments the immune system, and acts as an antioxidant. Primary dietary sources of CoQ10 include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats (such as liver), and whole grains.
3. Acetyl-L-carnitine, or carnitine
plays a critical role in energy production. It transports fatty acids to the mitochondria, our energy factories, so they can be converted into fuel our bodies can use. It is also involved in removing toxins from the mitochondria and is found in our muscle tissue. Dietary sources of carnitine are primarily meat, fish, and dairy products, and in lesser amounts in asparagus or whole wheat bread.
Dr. DeCaria has worked with many patients to identify the root of their nerve pain and create a personalized treatment plan in order to restore function and revitalize their life. Dr. DeCaria is a double-board certified physician in anesthesiology and pain management medicine with extensive training and experience in treating chronic pain. Using a combination of conventional medicine and functional/integrative medicine she can provide a unique approach to conquering your pain. Schedule your appointment with Dr. DeCaria today at the Revitalize Medical Center in Glenview, IL or Evanston, IL to feel more like yourself again!
Please remember to discuss with your physician prior to starting any supplement, as they may interact with your current medications or other medical conditions. Specific supplement dosages should be determined by your doctor. Remember supplements are not FDA approved and you must be careful where you are purchasing supplements from.
Source: Natural Medicines Database. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/