Nerve pain also called neuropathic pain, is estimated to impact between 3% and 17% of the general population. Medications have a moderate impact on nerve pain, so therapeutic approaches are combined to provide relief for nerve pain. But the holistic community is finding that vitamins for nerve pain may be just as effective as their medicinal counterparts without the side effects.
Three key vitamins are being used for neuropathic pain:
Each vitamin offers its own key benefits that can aid in nerve pain relief.
Vitamin B12 for Nerve Pain
B12 is a vitamin that your body obtains through supplementation or diet. Typically found in animal livers, organ meats, clams, sardines, beef, fortified cereals, tuna, trout, and salmon, this key vitamin may also be effective at treating nerve pain.
In fact, a systematic review published in 2020 found that:
- B12 is effective for pain caused by peripheral polyneuropathy
- B12 is effective when treating entrapment neuropathies
- B12 is also effective when treating post-herpetic neuralgia
Researchers also found that the vitamin was effective on its own or when used in combination with other therapies for treating diabetic neuropathy and alcohol-related neuropathy.
Additional studies, found that B vitamins may promote nerve repair, reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Vitamin D3 for Nerve Pain
Vitamin D3 acts as a hormone, allowing all of the cells in your body to react to the vitamin. When you’re exposed to sunlight, your body will begin making vitamin D.
Studies indicate that vitamin D deficiency is at an all-time high, with over 1 billion people being deficient.
Fatty fish and fortified foods often contain this key vitamin.
Studies on Vitamin D3 and nerve pain are often lacking a high number of participants or longevity to determine the efficacy of D3 for nerve pain. But we’re finding more studies with promising results, such as a study from 2014.
The study included 143 participants, all suffering from diabetic neuropathy. Participants were given Vitamin D3 over a 20-week period. At the end of the study, participants noted a significant reduction in nerve pain and symptoms.
Vitamin E for Nerve Pain
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and nutrient that plays a major role in brain, skin, blood, vision, and reproductive health. This key vitamin is found in a variety of foods, including:
- Olive oil
- Leafy greens
- Fortified cereals
One study from 2006 found that high dose or daily injections of vitamin E was able to significantly reduce nerve pain by producing analgesia.
There's also some evidence that in mice, vitamin E plays a role in correcting nerve damage. While there is some evidence to back this claim, researchers do recommend that more research be done in this area.
Interestingly, studies show that being deficient in vitamin E can lead to peripheral neuropathy occurring.
If you’re suffering from nerve pain, vitamin E – along with the other vitamins on this list – may be able to provide the relief you’re seeking without the pesky side effects that come with medication.
How to use Vitamins for Nerve Pain
Vitamins offer long-term, natural relief for pain. You can incorporate vitamins into your diet with the proper dietary changes, or you can add supplements or creams into your daily routine. Usage will depend on the product, but general usage is as follows:
Oral supplements should be discussed with your physician prior to use if you’re on medications or suffering from other health-related problems. Supplementation offers a whole-body approach where overall pain is relieved rather than offering localized pain relief.
Every supplement is different, so it’s important to read the instructions to learn proper usage.
When taking supplements, it’s important to remember that it can take two weeks to start seeing results. Doctors often recommend three months of use for assessing a supplement's effectiveness.
Due to the long buildup time for supplements to work, it’s often best to mix supplements with other forms of treatment, such as:
- Including vitamin-rich foods into your diet
- Following conventional medicine recommendations
- Using creams for localized relief
If your pain is intense or impacting your life today, creams often offer faster relief.
Creams are a good option because they’re easy to apply and provide targeted relief. Apply the cream to the area experiencing pain, and the body will do the rest.
When using creams, it’s best to clean the area where you’ll be applying the cream with soap and water. Applications can be performed as per the cream’s instruction, which often starts with daily application and then as needed.
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