Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes. It is generally assumed that you can prevent it by maintaining good control of your blood glucose levels; however, it still occurs frequently.
Although there is no effective conventional treatment for diabetic neuropathy, there are nutrients that can help slow down, stop, and even reverse its progression (as well as one other alternative solution). Try these in addition to a potent, antioxidant-rich daily multivitamin.
Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy
- B vitamins. Patients with diabetic neuropathy are often deficient in B-complex vitamins. Be sure to take 1,500 mcg of B12 daily, in addition to 150 mg of B6, which helps prevent diabetes-related damage to the nerves, blood vessels, kidneys and eyes. Also, benfotiamine, a fat-soluble, highly absorbable form of thiamine (vitamin B1), has been shown to reduce diabetic pain and improve nerve conduction velocity. Take 150–450 mg per day.
- Alpha lipoic acid is an extraordinary antioxidant that has been shown in clinical studies to improve diabetic pain, burning, numbness and other symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Antioxidants are particularly important because diabetes unleashes a storm of free-radical damage, which plays a key role in the vascular and nerve damage that underlie diabetic complications. Take 600–1,200 mg per day.
- Fish oil. For years, people with type 2 diabetes were advised to avoid fish oil because of its presumably negative effects on blood sugar control. However, a recent meta-analysis of prior studies found that fish oil doses ranging from 3,000 to 18,000 mg per day had no harmful effect on blood glucose control—and significantly improved triglyceride levels.
Furthermore, inflammation is a factor with diabetic neuropathy, and fish oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties. I recommend taking a minimum of 2 g of high-quality fish oil per day.
- Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) has been shown in studies to prevent the deterioration of diabetic neuropathy and, in some cases, even reverse the condition. Borage and evening primrose oils are the best sources of GLA. I recommend supplementing with evening primrose oil at a starting dose of 500–1,500 mg per day.
- Acetyl-l-carnitine improves nerve function, stimulates nerve fiber regeneration and relieves diabetic pain. Take 500–1,000 mg per day.
Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy and Other Diabetes Complications