Neuropathy -- Causes and Top 10
Natural Remedies
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Last updated December 22, 2017, originally published July 27, 2012
By Louise Carr,  Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Your hands and feet are alternately numb then painful, you
can’t feel a cut on your foot that causes infection, and you
find it difficult to walk upstairs and to keep your balance.
How do you cope with the collection of disorders that
makes up neuropathy? Neuropathy, often referred to as
"peripheral neuropathy", happens when the nerves within
your nervous system that are outside of the brain and
spine are damaged. This damage results in a variety of
uncomfortable symptoms.

Neuropathy is not often discussed and many people are
unaware it is a problem  - according to the Neuropathy
Association only 7 percent of us in the U.S. knows about
the disease. However, upwards of 20 million people in
America suffer from the condition. Many people suffer in
silence, unsure how to deal with a condition that not
everyone recognizes. The disease causes anxiety and stress
as well as physical pain, and sufferers are often unsure
where to turn for help. Is it true that certain natural
remedies can assist people with neuropathy? Are there any
cures for this condition?

What Causes Neuropathy?

Neuropathy can be divided into a number of different
categories. Mononeuropathy involves one single nerve and
examples include carpal tunnel syndrome. Multiple
mononeuropathy  affects two or more nerves, and
polyneuropathy involves all the peripheral nerves (diabetic
neuropathy is included in this category.)

While there are many different causes of neuropathy,
around 30 percent of all cases (Neuropathy Association
data) have an unknown cause which is even more
distressing for sufferers.

Another 30 percent of neuropathy cases are caused by
diabetes. People with diabetes who fail to control their
blood sugar levels are more likely to suffer from the
condition. Other causes for neuropathy include tumors,
repetitive strain injuries, infections, autoimmune disorders,
nutritional imbalances, alcoholism and toxins.

Neuropathy also can be a lingering side effect of a bout of

What Are the Symptoms of Neuropathy?

Neuropathy can be difficult to deal with. Common pain
symptoms of neuropathy include a tingling or burning pain
in the affected areas, or the sensation of wearing an
invisible sock or stocking on a bare limb. The condition may
affect nerves that control muscle movement or nerves that
allow you to tell the difference between hot and cold.

You may stumble when you walk and lose your balance, or
feel like your legs are too heavy to lift. You could suffer
from spasms and muscle weakness. The condition can even
affect internal organs such as your heart and bladder,
constipation, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction and
abnormal blood pressure. Is there anything you can do if
you suffer from neuropathy, or will you have to struggle
through it?

If you are suffering these symptoms, see a health
professional. Unfortunately there is no definitive cure for
neuropathy. But all is not lost - natural remedies can help
you if you suffer from neuropathy.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 natural solutions that
may not be able to cure neuropathy but can help ease the
pain and discomfort the condition causes.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Neuropathy

1. Vitamin D Is Useful for Treating Neuropathy

According to many experts, a dose of summer sun can do
more that brighten your mood. If you suffer from
neuropathy, vitamin D may also ease your symptoms.

A 2012 study from The Zabludowicz Center for
Autoimmune Diseases, Tel-Hashomer, Israel showed people
with primary
Sjögren's syndrome, a chronic autoimmune
disease, were also likely to suffer from neuropathy and this
was linked with lower vitamin D levels. And according to a
2012 study from Kuwait University Department of Medicine,
vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor
for diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Experts suggest that vitamin D supplementation could be
useful in the fight against neuropathy, although further
studies are needed to ascertain dosage and length of

For those studies which have looked at Vitamin D
supplementation, dosage of between 600 to 80 mg per day
appears effective. You should also consider taking Vitamin
K2 when you take Vitamin D, according to many studies,
including a 2015 study from International Science and
Health Foundation in Krakow, Poland. Taken alone, Vitamin
D can increase calcium deposits throughout your bod,
including in your arterial walls. Vitamin K2, in contrast, "is
associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and
arterial stiffening", the study notes.)

Capsaicin to Fight Against Peripheral Neuropathy

Seems counterproductive, but rubbing the chemical that
makes peppers hot onto your skin may treat neuropathic
pain. How can this be? The chemical in hot peppers,
capsaicin, eases pain without side effects, according to
experts. A 1995 study by Valley Endocrine Associates,
Mesa, Arizona showed that 76 percent of patients using the
capsaicin cream experienced less pain and fewer
interferences with daily living activities including sleeping
and walking.

Acetyl-L-carnitine To Treat Neuropathy

The supplement acetyl-L-carnitine helps get rid of pain
caused by peripheral neuropathy, according to a 2005
study from Wayne State University School of Medicine,
Detroit. This trial tested people with diabetes who suffered
from neuropathy over 52 weeks and found that 1,000 mg
of the supplement every day resulted in less pain and an
improvement in sensory perception. This beneficial remedy
has also shown promise for treating cardiac autonomic

Vitamin E for Neuropathy?

Taking 600 mg of vitamin E a day could help you ward off
the painful symptoms of neuropathy, according to a 2001
study by the Second University of Naples, Italy. Vitamin E
and selenium have shown promise in a number of other
trials as a pain killer, and some experts claim vitamin E can
help protect people with diabetes from developing eye and
kidney damage.

Is Fish Oil a Neuropathy Remedy?

Fish oil may help reduce the pain of neuropathy. The trials
have been preliminary but there is still some evidence that
shows fish oil can help stop diabetic neuropathy in its
tracks. This evidence includes a 1999 study from the
Diabetology Department, CHU Timone, France which
suggests fish oil therapy may be effective in the prevention
of diabetic neuropathy, however, human trials weren’t
performed. (Read more about the
health benefits of fish
oil.  Is krill oil even better than fish oil for your health?)

Use Lipoic Acid to Remedy Neuropathy

Lipoic acid is said to be a beneficial treatment for the pain
of diabetic neuropathy, although it is not completely clear
whether the lipoic acid can be taken orally or must be
administered intravenously.

According to a 1999 study by Diabetes-Forschungsinstitut
an der Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany 503
people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy were helped
with intravenous lipoic acid over a 3-week period, but they
didn’t see the benefits when the supplement was
administered orally.

Some studies, however, do show benefits after patients
take lipoic acid by mouth, including one 2006 study from
the same university. Lipoic acid may be even more effective
if it is combined with gamma-linolenic acid (evening
primrose oil).

Use Gamma-linolenic Acid to Treat Neuropathic Pain

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid or

The most common way to get your GLA is by taking
evening primrose oil supplements although borage oil and
blackcurrant oil also contain high levels of gamma-linolenic

A 1993 study by UMDS, London, UK looked at 111 people
suffering from diabetes-caused neuropathy and found
symptoms of pain and numbness were improved and nerve
injury was lessened when taking evening primrose oil.
Those people who controlled their blood sugar showed
better results. (Read more about
foods that help you
control your blood sugar levels.)

Magnets to Treat Painful Peripheral Neuropathy

Some people swear by magnet therapy to treat the
symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and one 1999 study by
Weintraub entitled “Magnetic bio-stimulation in painful
diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a novel intervention-a
randomized, double-placebo crossover study” discovered
magnetic insoles were promising as a treatment for diabetic
peripheral neuropathy. The special insoles reduced pain
and symptoms of numbness, tingling and burning.

Does Biotin Help Treat Neuropathy?

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps us metabolize
the energy we receive from our food. Biotin helps four
essential enzymes break down fat, carbohydrates, and
proteins. A 1990 study from the University of Athens,
Aretaieon University Hospital, Greece demonstrated that
biotin also helped reduce the severity of neuropathy
symptoms, although more extensive trials are needed.

Another B Vitamin as a Neuropathy Treatment?

Unofficially known as vitamin B8, inositol is found in all
animal tissues and helps play a part in fat processing and
the correct functioning of nerves and muscles. Nuts, seeds,
beans, cantaloupe melon, and citrus fruits produce phytic
acid (inositol hexaphosphate), which releases inositol when
bacteria get to it in the digestive tract.

There is limited evidence that inositol helps treat diabetic
neuropathy, mainly from two studies in the 1970s and
1980's by Salway JG, Finnegan JA, Barnett D, et al (“Effect
of myo-inositol on peripheral-nerve function in diabetes”)
(1978) and by Gregersen G, Bertelsen B, Harbo H, et al
“Oral supplementation of myoinositol”(1983).

At this point, since there is no established downside to
using Vitamin B8 for neuropathy, adding foods high in
Vitamin B such as nuts and canteloupe to your diet is worth


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Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon can help
ease the pain of neuropathy.
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