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Can Lack of Vitamin D Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?

by
author image Sarka-Jonae Miller
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.
Can Lack of Vitamin D Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?
Woman holding her arms up to the sunlight Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Vitamin D may have a protective effect against nerve damage. It may also help regrow nerves before damage becomes permanent. Low levels of vitamin are linked to conditions associated with nerve damage. Failing to correct a vitamin D deficiency with supplements puts you at a greater risk for developing permanent nerve damage.

Deficiency

Vitamin D can decrease pain in patients with diabetic neuropathy and promote nerve growth. Diabetic neuropathy is a condition in which high levels of glucose cause nerve damage. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning and throbbing. Patients suffering from this condition often have too little vitamin D. A research letter published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" journal in April 2008 reported that all participants in a study conducted in Australia had insufficient levels of vitamin D. Participants experienced an initial decrease of 48.5 percent in pain scores and an additional 39.4 percent after three months. Researchers reported that there is evidence that vitamin D promotes nerve growth. The mean dose participants received was 2,059 international units daily.

Protective Effect

Vitamin D supplements protect you from developing peripheral neuropathy, according to the Bay Area Medical Information website. Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to the nerves from a number of factors, such as nerve trauma and vitamin deficiencies. Without supplements to correct a vitamin D deficiency, you are at greater risk for developing peripheral neuropathy, which causes pain, tingling and numbness in your feet and hands.

Nerve Regrowth

Vitamin D-2, the plant-based form of vitamin D, may be therapeutic for people suffering nerve damage. Without this supplement, the nerve damage could become permanent. A study published in the "Journal of Neurotrauma" in October 2008 tested the effects of vitamin D-2 supplements on rats. Researchers cut out a 10-millimeter length of nerve in the lower hind leg of rats and treated one group with vitamin D-2. The rats who received supplements saw an increase in the diameter of axons, which are structures on the ends of nerve cells called neurons. Responses in the sensory neurons to metabolites, such as lactic acid, also improved.

More Beneficial Vitamins

Vitamin D is not the only beneficial vitamin for preventing permanent nerve damage. Vitamin deficiencies can damage nerve tissue throughout your body. Vitamin B-1, B-6 and B-12 are especially important for healthy nerves. A deficiency in B-1 can lead to neuropathy of the extremities. Vitamin E and niacin also play critical roles in nerve health.

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