Numbness? Tingling and pin prick sensations? Insensitivity to pain and temperature? Sharp pains and cramps?
Are you struggling with the discomforts above or you know of someone enduring them? These symptoms are commonly grouped as the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in which neuropathy simply means damaged nerves that are not functioning properly i.e. interfered nerve signal transmission. Generally divided into two, the human nervous system includes the central nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord; and the peripheral nervous system which includes all other nerves that are attached to the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral neuropathy is defined as the damage of nerves that usually affects the hands and feet where symptoms become worse at night.
Among the known causes of peripheral neuropathy, diabetes is one of the most notorious ones in which it has been reported that around 60% of those suffering from diabetes will have some form of nerve damage. Numbness at the hands and feet can be dangerous for diabetes patients as wounds and sores might go unnoticed causing minor wounds to advance into a serious state.
Nutritional deficiency and alcoholism cause peripheral neuropathy by limiting the body’s ability to make use of nutrients involved in the maintenance of nerve cell health. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 can be seen in strict vegetarians who do not supplement with Vitamin B complexes or in cases of pernicious anaemia in which the individual is unable to absorb Vitamin B12 properly.
Physical injury or trauma is also known to cause peripheral neuropathy. Trauma such as accidents or a sport-related injury can be so forceful that they sometimes cause peripheral nerves to be partially or fully detached from the spinal cord causing damage to the nerve. Idiopathic neuropathy occurs for no particular reason, mainly in those above 60 years of age.
What is Methylcobalamin?
Vitamin B12 is an important member of the B vitamins that only occurs in animal products and is important in DNA production, red blood cells production (prevents anaemia) and the maintenance of healthy nerve cells. Because our body do not make vitamin B12, it must be obtained from exogenous sources such as food and supplements.
Occurring in several forms, traditional B12 supplements gives cyanocobalamin which is also made from synthetic sources. In order for cyanocobalamin to be utilized by the body, it must first be absorbed in the small intestine, then absorbed into the blood stream and finally converted to methylcobalamin. Thus, methylcobalamin is the biologically active form of Vitamin B12 that can be readily absorbed into the blood stream.
In the nervous system, vitamin B12 initiates a series of reactions that will eventually lead to the maintenance of the myelin sheath that is present on every nerve cell and also in the production of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, associated with learning and memory. A deficiency in vitamin B12 will lead to a diminished ability of our bodies to regenerate nerve cells that are damaged.
Benefits of Vitamin B12
Methylcobalamin is commonly used to relieve symptoms of peripheral nerve damage for its analgesic properties. Benefits include:
- Promotes healthy nerves
- Helps regeneration of damaged nerves
- Protects against degeneration processes of the nervous system
- Reduces nerve pain & neuropathy symptoms caused by diabetes
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) in Managing Peripheral Neuropathy
Also known as thioctic acid, ALA is produced by plants, animals and humans and is found in every cell, an important mediator in several mitochondrial enzymatic reactions. While most antioxidants work solely in fat tissue or water, ALA is potent in both fat- and water-soluble mediums, aiding in cell energy production and protecting cells from free radical damage. ALA can be obtained exogenously from foods such as organ meat (heart, kidneys and liver) and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
When taken orally, ALA is easily absorbed and reduced to dihyrolipoic acid (DHLA). Both its oxidized (ALA) and reduced form (DHLA) is capable of neutralizing free radicals leading to lower oxidative stress well known to be the contributor of various diseases. It also helps regenerates other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and glutathione; and chelates free metal ions.
In Germany, ALA is extensively used to treat diabetic neuropathy. It is generally well tolerated even at high oral dosages.
Benefits of ALA
- Reduces peripheral neuropathy symptoms of pain, numbness and etc.
- Helps diabetic patients improve cell glucose uptake
- Improves cognitive function – easily crosses the blood-brain barrier to prevent degeneration of brain cells affected by free radicals thus improving memory and cognitive functions
The combination of Vitamin B12 in methylcobalamin form with ALA is indeed a unique formulation and effective way to reduce the symptoms of nerve damage and promote nerve health. Last but not least, an alternative way to keep your nerve healthy is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Walk with ease and enjoy every step forward start from today!