Supplements for Nerve Damage

The pain associated with nerve damage ranges from mild to severe. However, the pain and symptoms related to this disorder can seriously affect your quality of life. Though prescription medication may provide relief, there are natural vitamins and supplements currently available to help combat the pain, fatigue and weakness that typically accompany this ailment.

Causes of Nerve Damage

Nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, occurs when the protective covering around the nerve cells begins to degenerate. When the outer sheath surrounding your nerve cells begins its disintegration, your nerves lose their ability to transmit information from the brain. The symptoms of nerve damage can vary; however, common symptoms include numbness, pain and tingling in your extremities, which will eventually lead to weakness in your muscles as the condition worsens.

Vitamin B12

The pain associated with nerve damage may be controlled by medication prescribed by your doctor. However, symptoms may also be controlled by implementing certain health supplements into your diet. A deficiency of vitamin B12 may contribute to the symptoms of nerve damage. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, including Vitamin B12 as a daily supplement may minimise symptoms of fatigue, muscle weakness and the tingling sensations associated with nerve damage. The Office of Dietary Supplements also advises that vitamin B12 has the potential to adversely interact with certain medications. Consult with your physician before implementing this supplement into your diet.

Primrose Oil

According to Dr. Richard Podell, one of the nation's leading experts on nutritional, alternative medicine, there are additional supplements that can help decrease pain specifically associated with nerve damage caused by diabetes. In addition to vitamin B12, Dr. Podell recommends primrose oil, which is a source of the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linolenic acid). Dr. Podell states that 480mg of primrose oil showed a reduction of nerve damage in a one-year double-blind study of 111 diabetics.


Dr. Podell also recommends capsaicin, a substance found in the jalapeño pepper. Capsaicin is shown to reduce nerve pain associated with diabetes when rubbed on the painful area several times per day over an extended period. Capsaicin is available as an over-the-counter supplement known as Zostrix. It is also available in a less expensive generic brand.

Jamaica Dogwood

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Jamaica dogwood is another powerful remedy for the pain and treatment of nerve damage. UMMC emphasises that Jamaica dogwood is a highly potent herb and may have potential toxic effects if used in large amounts. However, UMMC also states that studies have shown that the herb has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that are effective in reducing the pain associated with nerve damage. The supplement can be taken as a tea or fluid extract. UMMC strongly advises you to consult with your physician prior to taking Jamaica dogwood due to the possibility of adverse interactions with prescription medication.

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About the Author

Debbie Lamedman is a published playwright and author/editor of eight books for Smith & Kraus Publishers. Her play "Phat Girls," included in "New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2003," has been produced across the country. Lamedman holds an M.F.A. from Brandeis University and is a proud member of The Dramatist Guild. The majority of her articles for Demand Studios can be found on eHow.