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Peripheral Neuropathy Center

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Wellness Plan | Pharmacist Recommendations | Related Health Concerns | Additional Information

General Health Information

Peripheral neuropathy is caused by inflammation of the nerves outside the central nervous system. It is commonly associated with diabetes and consists of several clinical types including sensory, motor, automatic and mixed. The most common type is a chronic symmetrical sensory neuropathy (pain associated on opposite sides of the body) affecting the nerves of the lower limbs and often the gastronomic nerves, resulting in pain, skin ulcers and autonomic disturbances (not under voluntary control).

There is little research dealing with non-conventional treatment of peripheral neuropathy, other than in diabetic related cases. Several nutrients and herbals have been shown to help diabetic neuropathy including vitamins B6, B12, C, and E. Inositol, magnesium, zinc, quercetin, gingko biloba, and gamma linoleic acid have shown promise as well. Diabetic cases require specific nutritional considerations (see our Diabetes Wellness Center) which must be closely followed for overall long term positive effects.

Peripheral neuropathies, other than diabetic, have responded to some nutrients such as vitamins B3, niacinamide, folic acid, potassium, vinpocetine and coenzyme Q10. Hypericum perforatum, a homeopathic form of St. John?s wort, has shown promise, as well as other herbs like willow bark, wintergreen, mustard, ginger and Chinese angelica. Stinging nettle, sciatica cress (peppergrass), red pepper (capsicum) and lavender have been used in various topical preparations with some success.

Understanding the cause of peripheral neuropathy can help lead to a more comprehensive wellness support program. In diabetic neuropathy, excessive blood sugar causes the nerve damage. Non-diabetic causes could be exposure to toxic compounds such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, formaldehyde, pesticides, aluminum, and numerous other compounds. The liver must break down these toxic compounds resulting in production of nerve damaging metabolites and free radicals. Supplementing with liver protecting herbals such as milk thistle, artichoke and antioxidants like grape seed extract and vitamin E may indirectly help in these cases.

Wellness Plan

  • Healthy well balanced diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid tobacco and other toxins, especially pesticides
  • Diabetics- manage blood sugar aggressively
  • Proper footware and high quality insoles when feet are involved
  • Regular exercise improves bloodflow to neuropathic areas
  • Pharmacist’s Supplement Recommendations:
    • Herbs and Phytonutrients - ginger, evening primrose oil, gingko biloba, quercetin, willowbark, wintergreen, mustard, Chinese angelica, milk thistle, artichoke, vinpocetine, hypericum perforatum, stinging nettle; Topically- red pepper (capsicum), lavender, peppermint and mountain mint
    • Vitamins, Minerals, and Trace Elements - All are important but the most imperative are vitamins C, E, B1, B3 (niacin, niacinamide), B6, B12, inositol and the minerals magnesium and zinc
    • Antioxidants - coenzyme Q10, grape seed extract, vitamins C and E
    • Essential fatty acids - omega 3 fatty acids, GLA (gamma linolenic acid) from either evening primrose oil or borage oil

Wellness Centers Related to Peripheral Neuropathy

Autoimmune Brain & Nervous System
Cholesterol Depression
Diabetes Energy and Vitality
Heart and Circulation Insomnia
Pain and Headaches Stress Control

Additional Information on Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Peripheral Neuropathy - Information sheets from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Diabetic Neuropathy - Information sheets from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke