Neuropathy is depressingly common- whether autonomic, motor and/or sensory nerve dysfunction , -positive (eg pain) or negative (loss eg numbness or weakness). “According to the most widely accepted definition, neuropathic pain is initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system. As much as 3% of the population is affected. Neuropathic pain may result from disorders of the peripheral nervous system or the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The definition now includes fibromyalgia.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropathy. But as diabetes, malnutrition and alcoholism increase, so will neuropathy.
In 2007 O’Connor ea. University Rochester NY compared treatment with different first-line postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) medications; finding that an antidepressant (desipramine) was more effective and less expensive than an anticonvulsant (gabapentin)- which was more effective than the newer wannabe substitute pregabalin. www.medscape.com/viewarticle/561745
The Mayo Clinic simply lists the many designer (ie prescription) treatments tried, from topical therapies to systemic- pain relievers, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131
Wikipedia lists dozens of relatively common causes; but, curiously, the only specific treatment it lists (apart from “symptomatic therapies” ) is the new drug pregabalin. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripheral_neuropathy
Whereas in 2006 Head from Dover, ID USA www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17176168 noted that “peripheral neuropathy (PN) associated with diabetes, neurotoxic chemotherapy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/antiretroviral drugs, alcoholism, nutrient deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity, and other etiologies, results in significant morbidity. Conventional pain medications primarily mask symptoms and have significant side effects and addiction profiles. However, widening research indicates alternative ie natural medicine may offer significant benefit to this patient population. Alpha-lipoic acid ALA , acetyl-L-carnitine, benfotiamine, methylcobalamin, and topical capsaicin are among the most well-researched alternative options for the treatment of PN. Other potential nutrient therapies include vitamins (pyridoxine B6, biotin B7, folate B9, E), myo-inositol, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, glutathione, L-arginine, L-glutamine, taurine, N-acetylcysteine, zinc, magnesium, chromium, and St. John’s wort. In the realm of physical medicine, acupuncture, magnetic therapy, and yoga have been found to provide benefit”.
Also in 2006, Peters ea at Kings College London showed significant improvement relative to placebo with vitamin BCo (B1 250mg, B2 10mg, vitamin B6 250mg and B12 0.02mg with or without B9; p<0.001) in alcoholic neuropathy. alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/41/6/636
Alpha lipoic (thioctic) acid ALA (Gunsalus 1948) is first listed on Medline as major benefit for hepatitis in 1958 and for diabetic neuropathy in 1961. It is an important human biological anti-oxidant, insulin-sensitizing enzyme cofactor in aerobic metabolism, and a heavy metal chelator. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoic_acid
Now Ruessmann ea in Germany (Diabetes Complications. 2008 Apr 8) show that after 5years treatment with ALA 600mg /day for diabetic neuropathy, “when ALA was stopped, neuropathy relapsed within 2 weeks in 73%; but in those swopped from ALA to gabapentin 1200mg/d, only 42% responded – the other 55% did not respond to gabapentin up to 3600mg/day; on which 45% developed intolerable symptoms.. They found that ALA not only relieves neuropathic symptoms but also neuropathic deficits eg impaired sensory function; with trivial side-effects compared to symptomatic therapies.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18403218.
Hence there are plenty of natural micronutrient supplements – the chief of which is ALA, in a powder combination (with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, myo-inositol, glutathione, L-arginine, L-glutamine, taurine, N-acetylcysteine, GABA, 5HTP, zinc, magnesium, chromium, and herbs eg galega, gymnema and St. John’s wort), and fish oil- that will reverse/ lessen both the neuropathy and the underlying causes(s) including type 2 diabetes.