B Vitamins For Peripheral Neuropathy
Neuropathy is damage or dysfunction of one or more nerves that typically results in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and pain in the affected area.
Neuropathies frequently start in your hands and feet, but other parts of your body can be affected too.
Neuropathy, often called peripheral neuropathy, indicates a problem within the peripheral nervous system.
Your peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves outside your brain and spinal cord.
Your brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system.
Think of the two systems working together this way:
Your central nervous system is the central station. It is the control centre, the hub from which all trains come and go. Your peripheral nervous system are the tracks that connect to the central station. The tracks (the network of nerves) allow the trains (information signals) to travel to and from the central station (your brain and spinal cord).
Neuropathy results when nerve cells, called neurons, are damaged or destroyed.
This disrupts the way the neurons communicate with each other and with the brain.
Neuropathy can affect one nerve (mononeuropathy) or nerve type, a combination of nerves in a limited area (multifocal neuropathy) or many peripheral nerves throughout the body (polyneuropathy).
Some peripheral neuropathies develop slowly – over months to years – while others develop more rapidly and continue to get worse.
There are over 100 types of neuropathies and each type can develop differently. The way your condition progresses and how quickly your symptoms start can differ depending on the type of nerve or nerves damaged, and the underlying cause of the condition.
B vitamins are useful in treating neuropathy since they support healthy nervous system function.
Supplementation should include vitamin B1 (thiamine and benfotiamine), B6, and B12. You may choose to take these separately instead of as a B complex.
Benfotiamine is like vitamin B1, which is also known as thiamine. It’s thought to lower pain and inflammation levels and prevent cellular damage.
Vitamin B6 may help to maintain the covering on nerve endings. But it’s important that you don’t take more than 200 milligrams of B6 per day.
Research from 2021 shows that taking higher amounts can lead to nerve damage and cause symptoms of neuropathy.
Foods rich in B vitamins include:
- meat, poultry, and fish
- low fat dairy products
A 2017 review indicates that supplementing with B vitamins has the potential to promote nerve repair. This may be because B vitamins can speed up nerve tissue regeneration and improve nerve function. B vitamins may also be useful in relieving pain and inflammation associated with peripheral neuropathies.
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