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Diabetic neuropathy: Can dietary supplements help?

A balanced diet is an essential factor to control blood sugar levels, which is crucial in controlling diabetes and slowing the development of complications related to diabetes, such as diabetic neuropathy. Supplements to your diet can also contribute to the treatment.

Diabetic neuropathy can be a kind of nerve damage that could be caused by diabetes. This condition may cause tingling or pain in the feet and hands as well as digestive issues and sexual issues. Neuropathy in the feet that is severe could lead to:

  • The loss of feeling
  • Ulcers that won't heal
  • It is necessary to take off (amputate) the toe or foot

Healthy eating is essential to controlling your diabetes, and it can help to prevent diabetic neuropathy and related complications. Maintaining your blood sugar levels under control could help in slowing down the development of damage to your nerves.

Dietary supplements could help to reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy however, it is necessary to conduct more research. Discuss with your doctor prior to you taking a dietary supplement. Certain kinds of supplements can interfere with diabetic medications, and some could increase the chance of having kidney problems.


Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is found in certain foods and aids in the proper functioning of nerves and the production of red blood cells. If you don't have enough vitamin B12 could be at an increased risk of developing neuropathy as well as another nerve system (neurological) issues.

Certain medications can cause B-12 deficiencies, such as:

  • Metformin (Glumetza, Riomet, other) is a medicine that is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes
  • Proton pump inhibitors for stomach acid that lower pH (Prevacid 24HR, Prilosec OTC, others)
  • Histamine-reducing stomach acid (H-2) blockers (Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC, others)

It's unclear if supplementing vitamin B-12 with vitamins can aid in treating diabetic neuropathy. A few studies have demonstrated the reduction of pain and other unusual sensations. For those who do not suffer from a vitamin B-12 deficiency taking B-12 supplements to treat diabetic neuropathy hasn't proven to improve.

Vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered to be safely provided it is taken according to the directions. The most natural sources of vitamin B12 that you can incorporate into your diet include fish as well as lean red meat, and breakfast cereals that are vitamin-fortified.


Alpha-lipoic acid

It is an antioxidant that can be found in a variety of foods. Antioxidants are substances that can be used by the body to stop or control an injury to tissues (oxidative stress). Oxidative stress is an aspect of diabetic neuropathy process. Alpha-lipoic acid has also been proven to reduce blood sugar levels.

In a small number of research studies, those with diabetic neuropathy had less pain, higher results on tests of nerve function, and also improved other indicators and symptoms. The need for larger studies is urgently needed.

Supplements with alpha-lipoic acid are typically thought to be safe when used as directed. However, if taking this supplement if you suffer from an extensive Thiamin (vitamin B-1) deficiency and alpha-lipoic toxicities could occur. Avoid taking alpha-lipoic acid when you're a frequent drinker.

Alpha-lipoic acid is a natural ingredient found in many plants. include broccoli, spinach, and yeast.



Acetyl-L-carnitine is one of the chemical compounds naturally made by the liver and kidneys. Acetyl-L-carnitine aids in reducing the stress of oxidative. It is believed to play a role the function of nerve cells and their regeneration.

In a couple of clinical studies, those with diabetic neuropathy experienced less pain, improved other sensory issues, and improvement in the tests for nerve function. A few of these studies indicated that the effect of treatment is stronger when initiated earlier in the course of the disease. More research is required.

Acetyl-L-carnitine supplements are generally thought to be safe when used as directed. The side effects could be nausea, vomiting, or an increase in agitation.

Don't take acetyl L-carnitine if are taking warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), an anti-blood-thinning medication, as the combination can increase the effect of warfarin and could increase the risk of bleeding. If you suffer from hyperthyroidism or have a history of seizures, acetyl L-carnitine can cause these conditions to worsen.


A healthy diet is essential

Although research into the link between diet supplementation and diabetes neuropathy continues eating a balanced and healthy diet is generally recognized as an essential part in managing blood sugar levels and complications from diabetes like diabetic neuropathy.

Try to stick with a diet that is naturally rich in nutrients, and is low in calories and fat. The most nutritious meal plans concentrate on:

  • Fruits, vegetable beans, whole grains, legumes, and whole grains
  • Low-fat and fat-free dairy products
  • Lean fish, lean meats, and even poultry that is skin-free


Physical activity plays a crucial part, too.

Exercise is crucial to managing blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor prior to embarking on a new activity in particular when you're taking medication that lower blood sugar. Diabetes sufferers must aim for at least 150 hours of moderate or vigorous exercise per week. For instance, try to walk briskly walk for 30 minutes every day during the workweek.

Drink plenty of fluids before and after exercise, as well as during the time to avoid dehydration. Make sure you wear supportive, comfortable shoes.


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