Nourish Your Nerves

Filed Under: Diabetes, Blood Sugar, Diabetes Complications
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

During my 30-plus years of medical practice, many of my patients have asked me how they can prevent nerve damage.

Among the many diabetes complications, nerve damage is one of the most frightening, as it can curb your mobility and independence and challenge your ability to live life to its fullest.

There are a number of alternative treatments for diabetes that can help prevent this damage, including a few key supplements I know are effective.

For starters, there’s lipoic acid. Also called alpha lipoic acid or ALA, lipoic acid is referred to as the “universal antioxidant” because it is both fat- and water-soluble. This allows it to enter all parts of the cell to neutralize free radicals. Research has shown that when taken in high doses, lipoic acid helps to support peripheral nerve health in people living with diabetes.

Depending on the amount of support you need, I recommend 800–1,200mg of lipoic acid per day.

Another supplement I recommend to people who are managing diabetes and want to promote nerve health is evening primrose oil. Evening primrose is a wildflower native to North America that contains the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). It too has been shown to help support optimal nerve function.

In one double-blind study carried out in seven medical centers, 480 mg of evening primrose oil taken daily for one year improved symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Other studies have utilized doses of up to 6,000 mg per day with good results.

I suggest starting with 500–1,500 mg of evening primrose oil per day.

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