Reprinted with permission of Life Extension®.
The majority of diabetics will eventually develop some degree of neuropathy. Conventional medicine offers little in the prevention or treatment of diabetic neuropathy, yet there is a great deal of published information showing that the proper use of dietary supplements can be of significant benefit.
Diabetes is associated with a fatty acid imbalance. In experimental models, essential fatty acid desaturation contributes to reductions in peripheral nerve conduction velocity and blood flow. This fatty acid imbalance may be corrected by dietary supplements that contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), such as borage oil. In animal studies, significant improvements in blood flow and nerve-conduction velocity were observed in response to GLA supplementation.
Nerve conduction and perfusion deficits in diabetic rats have been corrected by a combination of antioxidant and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) supplements. A deficit in sciatic nutritive endoneural blood flow was corrected by 34.8% with GLA therapy, and by 24.8% with free radical scavenger therapy. When both treatments were combined, a flow improvement of 72.5% was observed. This study showed a synergistic effect of antioxidant and omega-6 essential fatty acid (GLA) when used in combination against diabetic neuropathy.
Deficient and toxic neuropathies can be alleviated by improving lifestyle and dietary factors. The following combinations of nutritional supplements might be particularly effective:
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), fish oil concentrate, and ascorbyl palmitate offer a potential synergistic approach to correcting a fatty acid imbalance by enhancing blood flow to the nerves, and protecting against free radicals. A suggested regimen would be to take 3 capsules of Mega GLA (gamma-linolenic acid supplement), along with 3 capsules of Mega EPA (fish oil concentrate), and 500 mg of Ascorbyl Palmitate twice a day. If symptoms alleviate or disappear, the dose of GLA and EPA could be reduced to 2 capsules twice a day.
- Vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin in the dose of 5 to 40 mg a day, taken in lozenge form under the tongue, along with 2000 to 5000 mcg of folic acid has been shown to correct many neurological diseases, including neuropathy.
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- Taking a broad-spectrum multinutrient formula can help suppress free radical injury to the nerves, while supplying supplemental amounts of folic acid and vitamin B12. Life Extension Mix (3 tablets 3 times a day) is a 67 ingredient multivitamin, mineral, herbal, and amino acid supplement that provides a concentrated dose of nutrients. Life Extension Mix also has a high level of pantothenic acid, which has a synergistic benefit when used with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) common in diabetic protocols.
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