Saturday, 30 April 2016

Using Supplements To Relieve Neuropathy Symptoms

Today's post from (see link below) is the sort of post that often leaves you with more questions than answers. It's aimed at cancer patients who have suffered nerve damage as a result of the treatment but in principle applies to all neuropathy patients with the same symptoms. It suggests (rather half-heartedly) a few supplement options, as well as acupuncture as means of relieving the discomfort and pain but concentrating on vitamin B6 is not really helpful because B12 can be just as effective in helping nerve damage symptoms. However, this is generally only because the cause of the neuropathy has reduced the body's vitamin B levels to very low levels and that needs to be checked first. After checking your vitamin levels (including vitamins D and E) you should consult your doctor before your dietitian and do your own research to see what else may be added to the armoury. The references to glutamine and alpha lipoic acid are useful but by no means exclusive. There is more evidence to suggest that alpha lipoic acid should be taken in combination with acetyl L-carnitine to provide the necessary co-enzyme balance to work and other supplements such as Q-10 may help. Apart from that, recent studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid may actually increase tumour growth in certain cancer patients (esp. breast cancer) In short, there's nothing wrong with this post but it gives too little information for what it's trying to achieve. It is so important to consult the specialists (including dietitians) and do more of your own research (hundreds of articles here on this blog) before committing to self-help treatments but it may well be worth your while doing so (if your budget can take it!).

Alleviating Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
Posted in: Coping with Cancer, Health and Wellness

Ask the Nutritionist

Q: I have been told that B vitamins may help with peripheral neuropathy resulting from chemotherapy. What dose of these vitamins is safe and are there other nutritional supplements that can help?

J.M., Richmond, California

A: Peripheral neuropathy, a side effect of certain chemotherapy drugs, causes numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. The exact mechanism of this chemotherapy-induced neuropathy is unknown. Supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of neuropathy.

Vitamin B6 is known to help diabetic neuropathy and may help manage chemotherapy-induced neuropathy symptoms when taken in a safe dose. Taking 50 to 100 mg of B6 daily is safe and may be effective. If you are taking a multivitamin and/or B Complex, check the amount of B6 so that you do not go above 100 mg total per day.

Glutamine has been suggested to help chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, especially from Taxol. Taking 30g/day, as 15 grams twice daily, of Pure L-Glutamine Powder is considered safe for cancer patients. Try to find a powder without other "fillers" in the ingredient list.

Alpha-Lipoic-Acid (ALA) seems to reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in diabetic patients, and may help with symptoms of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Taking 300 mg twice daily or 600 mg daily is considered a safe dose. Symptom improvement is seen within 3-5 weeks. ALA is an antioxidant, and when used in combination with radiation treatment, may reduce effectiveness of the cancer therapy. ALA can be used for up to 4 weeks safely. For long-term use, speak with your physician and dietitian.

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy to oral supplementation. Emerging evidence supports acupuncture as effective in reducing chronic pain associated with cancer.

When considering supplementation, it is important to meet with a Registered Dietitian for an individualized dietary supplement plan.

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