Nutrient supplementation helps symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes is a condition characterised by raised levels of glucose in the bloodstream. In time, diabetes can lead to damage to tissues that can result in complications such as visual deterioration and blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage. One manifestation of nerve damage is ‘peripheral neuropathy’. This usually affects the feet and lower legs, and can result in numbness (this can lead to diabetics damaging their feet without knowing) and/or abnormal sensations such as feelings of heat, pain and pins and needles.

One approach to reducing the risk of diabetic complications is to get good blood sugar control. A key strategy here is to limit the consumption of foods that tend to disrupt blood sugar levels. In short, a low-carbohydrate diet usually does the trick here. There is evidence the low-carbohydrate are generally very effective in helping individuals establish better blood sugar control and perhaps do with less (or possibly no) medication.

However, I was interested to read about a recent study in which individuals with diabetic neuropathy were treated with micronutrients (vitamin and minerals) [1]. In this study, 67 individuals with diabetic neuropathy were treated with one of three regimes:

1.

20mg zinc
250 mg magnesium
200 mg vitamin C
100 mg vitamin E

2.

20mg zinc
250 mg magnesium
200 mg vitamin C
100 mg vitamin E
10 mg vitamin B1
10 mg vitamin B2
200 micrograms biotin
10 micrograms vitamin B12
1 mg folic acid

3.

Placebo

After four months, individuals in groups 1. and 2. dad seen very significant reductions in neuropathic symptoms (while those taking placebo did not).  This was in contrast to medical testing of neuropathy which showed no improvement. Neither blood sugar control nor nerve function were improved either.

As the authors of this study concluded, these results suggest that micronutrient supplementation might help diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Nutrient supplementation represents a low-cost, low-risk and relatively hassle-free way to perhaps combat this common and troublesome diabetic complication.

References:

1. Farvid MS, et al. Improving neuropathy scores in type 2 diabetic patients using micronutrients supplementation. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2011 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]

8 Responses to Nutrient supplementation helps symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

  1. Terry (Type 2 since 1999) 22 April 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Did the results show any worsening of neuropathy in the placebo group ?

    If the supplementation has a holding effect on neuropathy then it is well worth considering.

    Personally I include a mixture of raw nuts daily in my diet, these provide plenty of zinc and magnesium plus vitamins.

  2. harry 22 April 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    I use 1600 IU non soy vitamin E, my neuropathy went away and hasn’t returned.

  3. Terry (Type 1 since 1969) 22 April 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    This treatment is something the NHS should be using:-
    http://www.rapidhealing.com.au/images/stories/pdfs/CE11_Improved_Foot_Sensitivity_Harklessetal.pdf

  4. Jackie 22 April 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    Was there a difference between groups 1 & 2?

  5. michael 22 April 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Don’t forget cinnamon! Add about a quarter of a level teaspoon to cereal or similar every day.
    Also stumbled across this fascinating Indian blogger who believes he has a cure for diabetes…
    http://diabetescured090909.blogspot.com/

  6. Jan 24 April 2011 at 8:21 am #

    The most impressive supplement is the body own compound and anti-pain supplement Normast. Normast is a analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound and patients suffering from diabetic pain find important pain relief taking this supplement. Since 2000 800.000 patients have been treated with this compound and many scientific papers support its use. See http://normast.wordpress.com/about/
    and
    http://www.justdiabetesinfo.com/diabetes-videos/diabetes-painful-neuropathy-and-treatment-with-normast-m4v.html

  7. David 2 July 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I’ve used the simpler of these two preparations to good effect on my DPN. Zinc is a tricky thing to get in a volume of 20mg. I finally settled for tablets of 15mg.

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