Paper #1 – By John N Moreno, ND, PhD
Although not an “aging” issue specifically, neuropathy does seem to be generally an issue seen in older individuals.
The term neuropathy refers to damage to the peripheral (arms, legs, hands & feet) nerves which cause malfunction and results in weakness, burning, prickling, and pain in the extremities. Common causes of neuropathy include diabetes, injuries, infections, and exposure to toxins (including chemotherapy) – the two most common being diabetes and trauma.
Traditional medical treatments include anticonvulsants, nerve pain medication, analgesics, local anesthetics, and narcotics. Each of these approaches has side effects that could require additional medications.
An alternative approach would look at the patient, determine the cause and approach the repair of the cause. Once the cause is gone, the neuropathy should resolve. However, there are those neuropathies that you can’t resolve the cause: some diabetics, the toxic exposure, etc.
The Mayo Clinic posted an article titled Diabetic neuropathy: Can dietary supplements help? “Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in many foods. Antioxidants are substances that the body can use to prevent or manage a tissue-damaging process (oxidative stress). Oxidative stress is a part of the diabetic neuropathy disease process. Alpha-lipoic acid also has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.
In a few small studies, people who had diabetic neuropathy experienced less pain and improved performance on nerve performance function tests, and improvements in other signs and symptoms. Larger studies are needed.
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements are generally considered safe when taken as recommended. However, if you take this supplement when you have a significant thiamin (vitamin B-1) deficiency, alpha-lipoic acid toxicity might occur. Don’t use alpha-lipoic acid if you’re a heavy alcohol user.”
Have had several patients in the Village that have already found benefit from working with me and getting benefit from neuropathy pain using Alpha Lipoic Acid. Benefits usually begin within weeks.
Is there a downside? Yes. Only about 50% find permanent relief. The other 50% must continue supplementing. As stated in the Mayo Clinic article, it can also help diabetics control blood sugar.
A second supplement program to investigate is the Nitric Oxide (NO) pathway to correcting neuropathy. Nitric oxide (NO) is implicated in the cause (etiology) of neuropathy and neuropathy-linked complications in at least two ways:
- Impaired blood flow
- NO is a neurotransmitter in some autonomic fibers. (In English, NO sends nerve signals between nerves.)
Let me stop for a second and tell you that I don’t know of a function in the body that doesn’t depend, in some way, on NO. It is that important and I will be discussing other areas that NO is used in later articles. As we age, our natural production of NO drops off and by the time we are 60, we don’t make 20% of what we need.
There are two ways to increase our production of NO (called pathways). First, there is the enzyme pathway utilizing the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. The second is the nitrate to nitrite to NO reduction pathway (food pathway).
Both have their benefits, but the amino acid pathway is more suited to the younger generation (younger than 50) for many reasons. So we will look at the nitrite to nitrate to NO pathway for this paper.
Since NO is implicated in the cause of neuropathy, low levels of NO directly contribute to neuropathy. (As my granddaughter would say – DUH!) NO increases delivery of the essential oxygen, nutrients and glucose to the cells by increasing the vasodilation (diameter of the blood vessels). Normalizing NO levels can improve the nerve membrane permeability to potassium ions. Increased NO levels can mitigate pain because NO mediates the analgesic effects of opioids (both natural and prescription).
Is there a downside? Yes and no! Yes, since NO is used in all of our body’s functions, if you were unaware of other issues, the NO would go there first, thereby not giving you the relief of the neuropathy in a timely manner. And no, because the body knows the order of importance of the healing process. In other words, your unknown (to you) issue is more important to your body to heal than the neuropathy; thus, it gets started on that function, hopefully eliminating the issue and then off to the neuropathy.
There are four NO supplements that I recommend. The first two are for individuals 50 or younger, as they are the L-Arginine/L- Citrulline pathway. ProArgi9 powder and M3. ProArgi9 I a network marketing product that I took for 20 years. I have an account but no longer receive compensation from sales. If you are interested, let me know and I will give you contact information. M3 is a retail product. It too, is a powder. Available on Amazon. The Nitrate to Nitrite to NO pathway products are Neo40, a tablet and Nitric Oxide Foundation, a capsule. Neo40 is a retail product and Nitric Oxide Foundation is only sold through physicians’ offices. Both these products also offer test strips showing if the products work. I recommend that you
purchase the test strips so you can verify that the product is working for you.
If you have diabetes or neuropathy, highly recommend you consider looking at Alpha Lipoic Acid supplementation. (Also called Lipoic Acid, ALA, or thioctic acid.) or Nitric Oxide supplementation. Suggest that you consult your physician before beginning any new program.
This paper is not meant to be used for diagnostic purposes nor as a replacement for your medical team. I am not a medical doctor and cannot diagnose, treat or cure any disease.