What Supplements Should I Take for Nerve Damage?

Damage to the sensory, motor or autonomic nerves can cause pain, stinging, swelling, burning, loss of sensation and hypersensitivity, among other things, and occurs when there is "damage to one or more of the myriad nerves outside the brain and spinal cord," according to "The New York Times." The feeling of nerve damage is explained as the pins and needles or dead feeling you experience when having slept on an arm. The many causes of nerve damage include medical conditions, exposure to toxic substances and trauma to the actual nerve, reports the "Times." There are specific treatments for each type and condition of nerve damage. Supplements may be able to help certain conditions, but if you are experiencing nerve damage, you should check with your doctor before starting any course of treatment.

Black currants in a basket on a wooden table. (Image: dankadanka/iStock/Getty Images)

B-12

Merck.com reports vitamin B-12 is essential for proper nerve function, and a deficiency can lead to nerve damage. Most B vitamins are water-soluble, but B-12 is actually stored in the body, mostly the liver, and it can take three to five years for your body to exhaust its reserve. Deficiencies tend to occur when the reserve is depleted and adequate amounts are not restored or if your body has difficulty absorbing or storing the vitamin. Merck.com reports the causes of the latter are usually due to overgrown bacteria in the small intestine, inflammatory bowel disease, fish tapeworm infection and use of antacids, among others. Your doctor can test your B-12 levels and advise if any treatment is necessary.

Chromium

For people with diabetes, high blood-glucose levels can lead to nerve damage. LEF.org reports a lack of chromium has been linked to insulin resistance. It is therefore often recommended diabetics take chromium supplements in order to help the body use insulin more efficiently and help avoid any nerve damage that may occur otherwise. LEF.org reports the most common food sources containing chromium include brewer's yeast, whole grain cereals, broccoli, prunes, mushrooms and beer. Check with your doctor before starting a chromium supplement regimen.

Gamma-Linolenic Acid

Gamma-linolenic acid is an omega-6 essential fatty acid. As with omega-3s, omega-6 fatty acids help to promote brain function, normal growth, skin, hair and bone health and to regulate metabolism and the reproductive system. The University of Maryland reports GLA has been shown to reduce the nerve pain in people who suffer from neuropathy due to diabetes. The University of Maryland says GLA can be found in evening primrose, black currants, borage and fungal oils. A doctor can help you determine if you are deficient in GLA.

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