Your nerves are essential in carrying electrical signals from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles, organs, and other tissues. Nerves can become damaged due to injury or disease, which may result in temporary or permanent loss of nerve function, depending on the severity of damage to the nerve. Some nutritional compounds can promote proper nerve function and health, and may help repair damaged nerve tissues. Talk with your doctor if you have suffered nerve damage to see what treatment is right for you.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your nervous system relies on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for normal function and repair. According to a 2007 study published in the journal of "Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids," omega-3 fatty acids can help regenerate nervous system tissue following a neurological injury and can have neuro-protective effects against spinal cord injury. Oils from fish, plants, and nuts are the primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but you can also consume them in nutritional supplements containing oils extracted from plant or animal sources.
Vitamin E plays a central role in the health and maintenance of your central nervous system, and a deficiency in vitamin E can affect nerve regeneration, according to a study published in the "Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology." In that study, researchers concluded that vitamin E is important in the re-growth of damaged nerve tissue following nerve damage. Vitamin E is found naturally in many types of nuts, oils, fruits and vegetables, and can also be used as a nutritional supplement either by itself or combined with other vitamins and minerals.
You need vitamin B-6 for the production of brain neurotransmitters, hormone-like compounds that are involved in nervous system function. Consuming too much or too little vitamin B-6 can cause neuropathy due to an interruption of normal nerve cell communication. Vitamin B-6 supplementation can reduce the symptoms of neuropathy, including numbness and nerve pain, associated with type I and type II diabetes. Vitamin B-6 is found in many different foods, including meat, fish, beans, cereals, fruits and vegetables, as well as in nutritional supplements.
Vitamin B-12 is involved in the maintenance of normal central nervous system function and plays a significant role in nerve regeneration and repair. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, a deficiency in vitamin B-12 can cause numbness, tingling, difficulty walking, memory loss, disorientation and dementia. A chronic deficiency in B-12 can also damage the protective covering of your nerves, called the myelin sheath. Vitamin B-12 is in most animal products, such as meat, fish, and poultry; you can also obtain it through the use of nutritional supplements.
- "Human Anatomy and Physiology"; Elaine N. Marieb; 2004
- "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs"; Nicola Reavley; 1999
- "Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids"; Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Neurological Injury; A.T. Michael-Titus; November-December 2007
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Omega-3 Fatty Acids; June 2009
- "Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology"; Effect of Vitamin E Deficiency on Regeneration of the Sciatic Nerve; T. Cecchini et al.; April-June 1990
- Office of Dietary Supplements; Vitamin B-6; August 2007
- Linus Pauling Institute; Vitamin B-12; J. Higdon and V. Drake; August 2007