fifty-pills-a-day-cure
Neuropathy, Supplements

The fifty-pills-a-day neuropathy cure

You read the title correctly. I have nearly cured myself of peripheral neuropathy, and this is my secret formula:

  1. No DrugsStrenuous exercise for one hour each day
  2. A strict diet (no cheating!)
  3. Fifty pills a day
    And I should add…
  4. No drugs. None. Zero.

The punchline

After six months of self-treatment:

  • My fingers have recovered 100 percent of their feeling and dexterity.
  • My feet have recovered by 90 percent.

Plus unexpected side benefits:

  • I’ve shed 20 pounds of excess belly fat and am close to my ideal body weight.
  • My LDL cholesterol levels have dropped from “borderline dangerous” to right-in-the-middle “normal” (after throwing my statin drugs—the likely cause of my PN—in the garbage).
  • I have more energy and a clearer mind than I’ve felt in years.
  • My wife says: “You’re better looking these days.” (She would say that).

It works for me. Please note that I said for me. I hope you’ll be inspired by my findings and find a cure for you.

Search for a cure

My family doctor told me it was untreatable. The hospital neurologist said there’s no cure. Doom-and-gloom neuropathy support forums spoke of nothing but pain and drugs, pain and drugs, assuring me my condition would only get worse and worse until I was reduced to a throbbing crippled lump of flesh mainlining six-syllable painkillers.

“Cure Neuropathy” books told me nothing I hadn’t learned after a day of web browsing. Curiously, three such books, under three different author names, published in three different years, have the identical content. Are we being scammed? Various neuropathy clinics boasted impressive results in convincing YouTube infomercials, but the nearest one to me was 8000 miles/13,000 kilometers away. No one in my hemisphere seemed to know a thing about this terrifying disease. I was on my own.

To make a long story short, I did the research. Not just hopping onto the first robot-voice YouTube video touting this or that miracle remedy. I set aside my work—I couldn’t concentrate anyway—and did deep research for three months straight. One nutrient at a time, I followed the information trail and read every study, report, and anecdote I could find. My sources were scientists, doctors, naturopaths, homeopaths, Chinese medical practitioners, and people like you and me, obsessed with finding a cure. I cross-checked and verified, and compared notes. Sadly, there is a lot of lazy reporting on “Doctor Google”. Someone heard something somewhere, then someone else quotes it and it somehow becomes established fact. Weeding out the nonsense took up 90 percent of my time.

I came up with a list of natural supplements. Then, cautiously, one substance at a time, I became my own lab rat, feeling my body’s reactions—good and bad. Based on my own observations, I’ve tweaked, added to, and deleted from my list over the past many months. I consulted a naturopathic doctor, who studied my course of supplements, told me I’d pretty much gotten it right, except for a few suggested tweaks. I felt vindicated.

Maybe I’m overdoing it. Many of these may be unnecessary, but they haven’t done me any harm. Six months since starting this course, my neuropathy is almost gone.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

  • I am not a medical professional. This article is not medical advice. I am not responsible for any unwanted reactions you may experience by consuming any of these supplements.
  • THIS COURSE OF SUPPLEMENTS WORKS FOR ME. In no way do I imply that the same will cure or improve your condition.
  • I am not taking any painkillers or other medications. Therefore I have done no investigation as to interactions between any of these substances and any medications not on my list. Many of the substances on this list may have interactions with your own medications. For example, several have blood-thinning properties or will lower blood sugar levels.
  • Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research. Consult a naturopath or other open-minded health care provider you trust.

My fifty pills (and other stuff) a day

My supplements

Upon waking up (thirty minutes before breakfast) (7:30 am)

  • R-Lipoic Acid (sodium stabilized) · 4 x 150 mg
  • Biotin · 1 x 300 mg
  • L-Arginine + L-Citrulline · 2 x 250 mg / 250 mg
  • Hawthorn Extract · 1 x 300 mg
  • Quercetin + Bromelain · 2 x 800 mg / 165 mg

Before breakfast (7:45 am)

  • Folate (Vitamin B9) (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) · 1 x 400 mcg
  • Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) + Rutin · 1 x 1000 mg
  • Zinc + Copper · 1 x 15 mg / 1.5 mg
  • Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) · 2 x 1000 mcg

Add to breakfast smoothie (8:00 am)

  • Acetyl L-Carnitine · 2 x 500 mg
  • Sulfur (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane) · 1 x 1000 mg
  • Turmeric · ¼ teaspoon

Taken with or shortly after breakfast (8:00 am)

  • Vitamin D3 · 1 x 2000 iu
  • Vitamin E (D-Alpha-Tocopherol + D-Tocotrienols) · 1 x 50 mg
  • Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol) · 2 x 100 mg
  • Evening Primrose Oil · 1 x 500 mg
  • Omega-3 + Astaxanthin (Krill Oil) · 1 x 1000 mg
  • Black Pepper Extract (Piperine) · 1 x 10 mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea · 1 x 500 mg

After lunch (12:30 pm)

  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1) (Benfotiamine) · 1 x 250 mg
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3) (Nicotinamide) · 1 x 500 mg
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) · 1 x 500 mg

Thirty minutes before dinner (7:00 pm)

  • R-Lipoic Acid (sodium stabilized) · 4 x 150 mg
  • Biotin · 1 x 300 mg
  • L-Arginine + L-Citrulline · 2 x 250 mg / 250 mg
  • Hawthorn Extract · 1 x 300 mg
  • Quercetin + Bromelain · 2 x 800 mg / 165 mg

After dinner (8:00 pm)

  • Vitamin E (D-Alpha-Tocopherol + D-Tocotrienols) · 1 x 50 mg
  • Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol) · 2 x 100 mg
  • Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone-7) · 200 mcg (2 x 100 mcg)
  • Omega-3 + Astaxanthin (Krill Oil) · 1 x 1000 mg
  • Black Pepper Extract (Piperine) · 1 x 10 mg
  • Turmeric · ¼ teaspoon

Before bed (10:30 pm)

  • Folate (Vitamin B9) (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) · 1 x 400 mcg
  • Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) + Rutin · 1 x 1000 mg
  • Magnesium Malate · 1 x 425 mg
  • Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) · 2 x 1000 mcg
  • Ashwagandha · 1 x 670 mg
  • Bacopa Monnieri · 1 x 750 mg

See below for descriptions of each of these substances. But first, to answer your question:

Isn’t that kind of…um…overdoing it?

Perhaps. But a drastic illness calls for drastic measures. I’m sure that some of these supplements are essential, while some may be unnecessary. But I don’t know which is which. All I know is that it’s working.

Travel with pills
AirBnB closet on a recent trip to Portugal

It does make travel a bit of a nuisance. I need extra luggage just for all my pills (by the way, the photo at the top of this page is my post-breakfast meal during a recent extended stay in central Portugal; and that’s water, not wine).

I don’t consider this to be long-term therapy. I am concerned about the effect on my liver. That’s why, at some point soon, I’ll gradually cut down, while listening to my body. But there is no question in my mind that this aggressive therapy has given my health the drastic boost it desperately needs.

Isn’t a daily multivitamin good enough?

No. No. No. Absolutely not!

Vitamin skeptics often remark that taking vitamins and supplements results in little more than expensive urine. And they have a point! Many vitamins are not well absorbed by our bodies; they might be destroyed by stomach acids or simply not pass the various cellular barriers to get into our blood or nerves. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to which form of supplements we take, when to take them, what to combine them with, and what not to combine them with.

In later posts I’ll write in detail about many of the supplements on my list. But for now, here’s a brief summary of each, which explains which form of each nutrient is least likely to become expensive urine.

I’ve grouped them as follows in terms of importance (to me):
· Absolutely essential
· Important

· Helpful (this does not mean ‘optional’; it only means these are the first ones I will experiment with lowering doses or removing from the list. For now, every item on my list is essential to me.)

Absolutely Essential

Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
Essential supplementsOf all the supplements that help treat neuropathy, B12 is at the top of the list. It is required for building and maintaining the coating around our nerves called the myelin sheath—which is exactly what our immune systems are attacking when we have neuropathy. It has been well-documented that B12 deficiency is a leading factor in causing neuropathy. Vegetarians and vegans are highly prone to B12 deficiency, as are most people as we get older. Thus, B12 supplementation is crucial. The trouble is, B12 is not well absorbed in supplement form. This is why high megadoses are recommended (it’s water soluble, so it won’t endanger your liver). Important: Most B12 on the market is cyanocobalamin, which is hardly absorbed at all into the bloodstream, and is really not worth taking. There is a more potent form of B12 called methylcobalamin, which is far better assimilated into the bloodstream, but is of course more expensive. Yet even with methylcobalamin, absorption is weak when swallowed as a pill, as some of it is destroyed by stomach acids on the way down. The best way to take B12 is through injection. However, sublingual ingestion is second-best: this means holding it under your tongue and letting it get absorbed through the mucus membranes while it slowly dissolves in your mouth. Caution: one study indicates that high doses of B12 may increase lung cancer risk in older male smokers. The same study found no increased risk for females. If you have or had cancer, please do your own research about B12. Should be taken with Folate, preferably on an empty stomach.

R-Lipoic Acid (sodium stabilized)
The other superstar supplement for neuropathy treatment, and the most expensive. One study after another has linked significant improvements in neuropathy symptoms with the use of Lipoic Acid. Specifically, it repairs nerves by enhancing the delivery of blood, oxygen, and glucose into nerve fibers, and eases neuropathic numbness and pain. Countless doctors and patients testify that Lipoic Acid works miracles.

There are four types of Lipoic Acid: S-Lipoic Acid (S-LA), a synthetic form; R-Lipoic Acid (R-LA; the R stands for Racemic), a natural form derived from plants; Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), which is a 50:50 blend of S-LA and R-LA; and Stabilized R-Lipoic Acid (Na-R-LA or Na-R-ALA; the Na means sodium), which is R-LA combined with sodium salts. The synthetic form alone has little effect on the nerves, while R-Lipoic Acid performs the miracles. Trouble is, R-LA is highly unstable and can deteriorate so rapidly at anything above room temperature, that it can lose all potency between your mouth and your gut. Stability is greatly improved by combining R-LA and S-LA into Alpha Lipoic Acid, the most common form on the market. However, the newer process of sodium-stabilized pure R-LA is much better at maintaining potency all the way through the gut and into the bloodstream. Manufacturers of stabilized, or “bio-enhanced”, Na-R-Lipoic Acid, claim ten times greater bioavailablity than Alpha Lipoic Acid. One nutritionist suggests that Evening Primrose Oil enhances absorption even further. Caution: Possible side effects include lowered blood sugar levels, upset stomach, or temporary skin rash. Also note that Lipoic Acid in all forms depletes Biotin (Vitamin B7), which supports cell energy, hair, and bones. Therefore you should consider adding Biotin to your supplements. Must be taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before or after eating, with Hawthorn and Biotin, and possibly with Evening Primrose Oil.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) (Benfotiamine)
More pillsAn effective weapon for reducing inflammation and neuropathy symptoms, and to increase nerve conduction. Again, not all Thiamines are alike. Benfotiamine is nearly four times more bioavailable than other forms. Caution: Thiamine is poorly absorbed in the presence of high glucose levels; therefore, diabetics are sometimes recommended to pair it with Pyroxidine (Vitamin B6), which regulates glucose. See below for my reasons for not including Pyroxidine on my supplement list.

Niacin (Vitamin B3) (Nicotinamide / Niacinamide)
Niacin plays a big role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and just plain gives a boost to the nervous system. Niacin comes in three forms: Nicotinic Acid, usually labeled as plain Niacin, the one which makes your face tingle; Inosotol Hexanicotinate, marketed as “No-Flush Niacin”; and Nicotinamide (also called Niacinamide). Of the three, only Nicotinamide repairs nerves. Not only that, but it energizes the whole nervous system. Various sub-forms include Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) and Nicotinamide Riboside, both of which are jaw-dropping expensive, so I stick to an inexpensive product labeled as Niacinimide, which our bodies convert to NAD anyway. Caution: Niacin in high doses (3000 mg+) can spike blood sugar levels. Taken long-term in such high doses, niacin can be toxic to the liver. The dosage I’m on is a bit on the high side. I may halve it soon.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
A shortage of this B vitamin will cause “pins and needles” in fingers and feet, and is a listed cause of neuropathy. Pantothenic Acid is involved in many important body functions, including formation and support of nerve endings and small blood vessels. While it is available in a number of foods, Pantothenic Acid, like B12, is water soluble, so safe to supplement in higher doses.

Folate (Vitamin B9) (5-methyltetrahydrofolate)
Folate deficiency is linked to B12 and iron deficiency, and is also a contributing cause of neuropathy. Because of Folate’s complex interactions with other nutrients, deficiency can be caused by other factors than simply not getting enough from food. Folate therapy has been shown to improve nerve conductivity. Again, not all Folates are alike, so it’s best to find biologically active versions rather than cheap folic acid. Should be taken with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C.

Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) + Rutin
Along with its well-known benefits as an antioxidant and immune booster, Vitamin C, when combined with Rutin, promotes repair to the myelin sheathing of nerves. Vitamin C is also essential for the absorption of many other nutrients. Although cheap Vitamin C as ascorbic acid is helpful, other forms such as calcium ascorbate are more powerful. Combining with Rutin and bioflavinoids (another good partner to Vitamin C) is essential for neuropathy treatment. Fortunately, many of the better Vitamin C supplements include both Rutin and bioflavinoids. Should be taken with Folate, B12, and Zinc.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol)
This essential enzyme boosts cell energy and protects mitochondria throughout our bodies, enabling damaged cells to more easily repair themselves. That especially goes for nerve cells. In a study on neuropathic rats CoQ10 treatment completely restored nerve conduction to the same levels as healthy rats. If it’s good enough for rodents…well, it may not be good enough for me. As with nearly everything on this list, there are different types of CoQ10: Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol. Both are good. The former converts in the body to the latter, so taking Ubiquinol is more direct and efficient. Must be taken during or after a meal containing healthy oils or fats, and with pepper or Piperine for proper absorption.

Acetyl L-Carnitine
An amino acid often used by bodybuilders to supercharge mental focus and fat loss, and for pain relief. For us, it’s a powerful neuroprotector, which shields nerves from further damage. Most promising of all, studies suggest it works to actually regenerate nerves. I buy it in bulk powder form, which is significantly less expensive than pills, though it has a very sour taste.

Turmeric
Among its other benefits as a “super food”, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune booster, which has been shown to reduce neuropathy symptoms. Many articles recommend taking a concentrated extract of Curcumin, one of the major beneficial substances in turmeric, but I disagree. There are at least 34 other essential oils contained in turmeric. Recent studies in India indicate that several of these are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream than Curcumin and have similar or supplementary effects. Therefore, ‘full-spectrum’ turmeric (meaning: the whole root, not an extract) is most effective for treating neuropathy. That means, the cheap turmeric powder you can buy at Asian groceries is better for you than an expensive extract. Must be taken with pepper or Piperine for proper absorption.

Omega-3 + Astaxanthin (Krill Oil)
There may be some recent controversy over whether Omega-3 supplements are actually beneficial for cardiovascular health, but there is clinical proof that Omega-3 revitalizes damaged nerves. Not all Omega-3 fatty acids are alike. Yes, flax seeds and most nuts contain an Omega-3 called ALA, but ALA has little effect on nerve health. Sorry vegetarians, but we want EPA and DHA, which are found in oily fish like salmon, cod, and sardines. Recent evidence points to Krill oil as a superior source. Krill are tiny crustaceans which live in every ocean (blue whales subsist on a diet of Krill, and you don’t hear them complaining of numb fingers). EPA and DHA from Krill are better assimilated into our bodies, have lower chance of heavy metal pollution found in many fish, and are more sustainably harvested. Krill oil also naturally contains Asaxanthin, an antioxidant which makes Omega-3 oils more effective. If taking Omega-3 from non-Krill sources, then Asaxanthin supplementation is a good idea.

Black Pepper Extract (Piperine)
Piperine is the substance in pepper that makes it spicy. It also protects certain nutrients on their journey through the acid swamp in our stomachs. It therefore increases the absorption rate for such things as Coenzyme Q10 and Turmeric, making them up to ten times as potent. Without pepper or Piperine, you’re wasting most of the therapeutic effect of these other nutrients. You can take a small amount of pepper (black, chili, or cayenne are all fine) with your other supplements, or get inexpensive Piperine in extract form. Typically with turmeric and fresh pepper you take them in 4:1 ratio: that is, 1 unit of turmeric plus 1/4 unit of pepper. In my case, I take 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric twice a day, which means I need a few shakes of black pepper or half a small red chili in my food at the same time. Note: you need to use freshly ground black pepper or fresh chili pepper. The Piperine component deteriorates fairly quickly from old, dried, ground pepper that’s been sitting on your shelf. Must be taken with Coenzyme Q10 and Turmeric.

Important

Vitamin D3
Vitamin D deficiency is a common contributing factor to neuropathy. Our bodies synthesize their own Vitamin D from sunlight on our skin, and as more of us lead entirely indoor lifestyles, D deficiency is a rising problem. Thus, the best therapy is to go outdoors with some exposed skin for at least half an hour every day. But a hospital study concluded that high doses of D3 over a limited period actually help to repair nerve damage caused by neuropathy. Should be taken with Vitamin E. Should also be taken with Vitamin K2, either at the same time or (as some nutritionists believe) eight hours apart.

Vitamin E (D-Alpha-Tocopherol + D-Tocotrienols)
Vitamin E supplementation can reduce neuropathy symptoms, including pain and numbness, by protecting nerve cell membranes and mitochondria. It also promotes nerve regeneration. Start by eating Vitamin E rich foods such as sunflower seeds and wheat germ. As for supplements, be careful to get one from natural (preferably non-soy) sources. There are two main kinds of Vitamin E, Tocopherol and Tocotrienol, and each comes in Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma forms, all of which are good for nerves in different ways. Cheap Vitamin E supplements are synthetic Tocopherols, sometimes labeled DL-Alpha-Tocopherol. Better to get the natural form, D-Alpha-Tocopheral (without the L). You can also find Tocotrienol capsules. A supplement which combines both (and preferably contains all four of the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma forms of either Tocopherol or Tocotrienol) will be the most effective. Must be taken with Evening Primrose Oil.

Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone-7)
Vitamin K2 is directly involved in the health, growth, and repair of nerve cells. A human trial indicated that neuropathy patients tend to have low K2, and that K2 supplements noticeably improved their neuropathy symptoms. The most effective form of K2 is Menaquinone-7, also called K2-7. Don’t confuse Vitamin K1 and K2, since their properties are completely different. Vitamins K2 and D3 are considered a “dynamic duo”, enhancing each other’s effect on the nerves, bones, and arteries. The duo is often packaged together. However, some nutritionists suggest that taking them eight hours apart is the proper timing, so that’s what I’m trying for now.

Magnesium Malate
Magnesium is on every health practitioner’s must-have list for treating neuropathy. So why did it make me feel worse? This is a case of “listen to your body”! My naturopath originally prescribed 850 mg twice daily. Whenever I took it my fingers flared up like icy fire within minutes. I cut it out entirely for a month, then tried 425 mg once daily, and have had no adverse reaction. Why is it so strongly recommended? Many people with neuropathy have a Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplementation helps to improve recovery and regeneration of nerves, as well as reduce pain in general. As with so many supplements, there is a confusing variety of Magnesium supplements. What little guidance I found points to Magnesium Malate as the preferred source for nerve treatment. Note: Magnesium can have a relaxing effect, which is why it’s often an ingredient in natural sleep remedies. This is why I only take it at night.

Zinc + Copper
Zinc is a tricky one. It is absolutely necessary to protect against nerve damage. Zinc deficiency has been linked to neuropathy
, yet too much zinc can be mildly toxic. While many foods such as beans, oats, and nuts are rich in zinc, short-to-medium-term zinc supplementation is often used for stimulating nerve healing and improving nerve conductivity. Warning: excess zinc can deplete copper in your body. Any zinc supplement should include copper at a 10:1 ratio. I prefer a supplement containing both, made from fermented vegetables and herbs. Should be taken with Vitamin C.

More pillsHawthorn Extract
Hawthorn berries contain a powerful antioxidant, which also promotes blood circulation into the smallest blood vessels. Many naturopaths consider Hawthorn to be a synergistic herb to be taken with Lipoic Acid in order to enhance its effect. Caution: Can reduce blood pressure. Should not be taken if you are using any heart medications. Must be taken with Lipoic Acid (ALA, R-LA, or R-ALA).

Quercetin + Bromelain
Quercetin is a wonderful natural antihistamine, derived from onion skins, which alleviates (among other allergic symptoms) itchy, swollen ankles, commonly associated with neuropathy. For years, long before my neuropathy, I’ve used Quercetin any time I had itchy skin that wouldn’t let me sleep. Within 20 minutes the itch would subside. Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory effects also reduce neuropathic pain. Best of all, it has neuroprotective qualities that shield nerves from further damage, and has been shown to help regrow damaged nerves. In two separate studies, neuropathic rats were completely cured of neuropathy with Quercetin treatment! Bromelain, derived from pineapples, has similar antihistamine effects. Note: To maintain effectiveness, Quercetain should be taken for 4 weeks, then pause for 2 weeks, then continue to repeat the cycle. For a detailed discussion of Quercetin, see my post, The Onion Skin Cure.

Evening Primrose Oil
Not just for women! Evening Primrose Oil has been found to improve nerve function and to relieve neuropathic pain. It’s a potent source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid. GLA coats and strengthens neural membranes, promotes peripheral nerve growth, and increases nerve conduction. One diabetes specialist claims that it also enhances the effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid (or Na-R-Lipoic Acid). Must be taken with Vitamin E. Should possibly be taken with Alpha Lipoic Acid or Na-R-Lipoic Acid.

Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea, an Arctic flowering plant, has been popular for centuries in northern Europe as a natural mood stabilizer and antidepressant (as well as anti-diabetic, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties). In recent studies, extracts of Rhodiola tested positively in aiding nerve regeneration. So, two benefits in one supplement. Should not be taken in combination with antidepressant drugs.

Helpful (does not mean optional)

L-Arginine + L-Citrulline
These amino acids are two sides of one coin. Our bodies convert L-Citrulline into L-Arginine. Taking both together extends the supplement’s effect. L-Arginine activates Nitric Oxide, which helps to dilate and maintain the flexibility of small blood vessels and increase blood flow into the tiniest capillaries. The more blood in those extremities, the more nourishment is delivered to the tiny nerve endings. Although acknowledged as good for cardiovascular health, opinion is divided as to whether L-Arginine is truly beneficial for neuropathy patients. Caution: These can reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Diabetics may require an adjustment in insulin treatment. Should not be taken with blood pressure medications or Saw Palmetto.

Potent powders

Sulfur (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane)
This one is an educated guess on my part. MSM is a powerful anti-inflammatory which generally accelerates healing and flushing of toxins. What makes it special is that MSM helps to normalize collagen, which not only makes your skin look nicer, but collagen strengthens the epidermis layers where the tiniest nerve endings reside. Low levels of collagen expose and weaken those tiny nerve extremities, whereas a mild boost in collagen promotes healing of impaired nerves and increases tactile sense in the fingertips. So, putting two and two together, my guess is that MSM may benefit my neuropathy. Should be taken with Vitamin C.

Ayurvedic curesAshwagandha
Derived from a flowering shrub, Aswagandha is used as a wonder cure for many ailments in Ayurvedic medicine. Three separate scientific studies showed that Ashwagandha helps to rebuild damaged nerve synapses and heal diseased nerve cells. It’s being hailed as a possible preventative for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, though no specific study has been done on neuropathy. Seems promising, though. Must be taken with Bacopa Monnieri.

Bacopa Monnieri
Another Ayurvedic herbal cure, otherwise known as Water Hyssop, is mainly prescribed for memory and intelligence, by boosting communication between neurons
. It does so by promoting the growth of peripheral nerve endings, called dendrites. Again, no study has been done for its effects on neuropathy, but it sounds good to me! It is also considered a synergistic herb, often prescribed with Ashwagandha. It can have a mild sedative effect, which is why I schedule it for bedtime. Must be taken with Ashwagandha.

Supplements I don’t use

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Vitamin B6 is often listed beside B12 as beneficial for alleviating neuropathy symptoms. Many sources recommend pairing Benfotiamine with Vitamin B6, especially for diabetics. But beware: B6 is tricky, in that either a deficiency or an excess can actually cause peripheral neuropathy. Since B6 is available in a large variety of common foods, B6 deficiency is rare in most people. I won’t risk overdosing myself with B6 supplements. If I were diabetic, I might consider B6. Note that many multi and B-complex vitamins contain shockingly massive overdoses of B6.

Ginkgo Biloba
Often recommended for neuropathy because of its effectiveness in increasing blood flow into the tiniest blood capillaries, which of course feed the tiniest nerves. But this function is also served by Hawthorn and L-Citrulline. The trouble with Ginkgo Biloba is that it also lowers blood pressure. There are enough blood pressure-lowering items on my list, that taking too many could be dangerous.

Pill substitutes

Vitamin D3
On days when I spend at least thirty minutes outdoors in direct sunlight, I will often skip D3 supplements.

Quercetin
As explained in The Onion Skin Cure, onion skins are such a good natural source of Quercetin that I only take the pills if I haven’t saved up enough skins. A small amount of 200 mg (a teaspoon or so) tossed in a smoothie or other meal is enough. They’re practically tasteless.

Turmeric
I don’t advocate taking Turmeric in pill form. I only use high quality organic turmeric powder.

Black Pepper (Piperine)
Best to simply sprinkle a liberal amount black pepper on a morning omelet, or toss some chilis or cayenne pepper in a dinner stew, within 30 minutes of taking turmeric and Coenzyme Q10. I only take Piperine tablets on those occasions when I don’t eat a spicy meal.

How much does all this cost???

It isn’t cheap. I calculated what I spend per month (30-day supply) for all of the above, using today’s exchange rate (14 November 2018):

US$320.33 = $10.68/day
CA$423.91 = $14.13/day
£246.29 = £8.21/day
€283.35 = €9.45/day
AU$443.41 = $14.78/day
NZ$473.21 = $15.77/day
HK$2508.94 = $83.63/day

Prices range from highly expensive Na-R-Lipoic Acid (US$96/month) to incredibly cheap MSM Sulfur powder (US$0.08/month).

That’s a lot of money, to be sure.

I faced a choice: do I want to hang on to my money or reclaim my health? My neuropathy was affecting my work as a writer and artist. I couldn’t feel a brush or a keyboard! I fell three months behind on a major project. I had more to lose financially by not spending eleven bucks a day on pills.

How much are you spending on those prescription drugs that aren’t curing you? How much were (or are) you spending on junk food, soda pop, corn chips, candy, biscuits, ice cream, and alcohol, that you gave up (or should have) due to neuropathy? If you cut out one Starbucks coffee a day, there’s nearly half the supplement budget.

As a reminder: No, a budget multivitamin won’t do you much good. Those don’t contain the right forms or the correct portions of of the nutrients you need.

Remember that the above supplement course is mine alone. Your condition, and your own research, will likely result in a different course. You may still spend a lot on pills, but at the end of six months you might end up like me, “feeling like a million bucks”. How much is that worth?

How long does it take to work?

For the first two months I felt little effect. In fact, I got worse. I fell down in the middle of a lunchtime crowd on a pedestrian bridge in the central business district because my feet hurt so much, that I almost—almost—crawled to the doctor to beg for a painkiller, knowing that becoming drug dependent would screw up my head, ending my ability to think and write clearly, the end of my career. Instead I stood up and kept walking, and increased the doses of some of my supplements.

For the next two months, my condition stabilized. Whenever I took a set of pills, my numbness would subside temporarily, then return after an hour. It was promising, but I felt no lasting effect.

Then in month four, feeling gradually returned to the little finger of each hand. It was a breakthrough. I felt like howling at the moon. A couple weeks later the numbness and chill in my ring fingers came and went in slow waves, then the numbness subsided for good. My feet felt less like they were treading on balloons; I sensed the coolness of our tile floors for the first time.

In the fifth month, things started to improve rapidly. By the time I left for an extended writing sojourn abroad, most of the feeling had returned to both hands, and the numb spots on my feet had contracted to my toes and the balls of my feet. I was elated!

It’s too soon to stop, of course. I expect to continue this treatment for at least one year, probably two years, adjusting, evaluating, feeling my body’s responses, and adjusting some more along the way.

Are they really all necessary?

Many of these supplements appear to do the same thing: dilate small blood vessels, repair nerve endings. I presume they all do so at a small pace, using different biochemical mechanisms. By stacking them, I may have sped up the process.

As for their cumulative effect on the rest of my body, I look at it this way: many of the human trials of individual substances lasted for six months, and I’m not there yet. Many anecdotal reports about neuropathy recovery mention time frames of six months just to start with, ranging to two years. So for now, it’s too early to worry. I did have a full medical examination just a few weeks ago, and my liver function was very slightly raised, but far below any warning levels. I don’t sense any physical issues. Other than residual numbness in my feet, I actually feel healthier than in many years. I will continue to monitor and adjust.

What brands are best?

I put a massive effort into comparing supplement products for their ingredients, reputations, reviews, and of course value for money. In many cases I have tried and switched products. The link just below contains the latest list of all the supplements I am actually using for myself. You can see which brands and products I use, examine the ingredients, read other users’ reviews, and compare with competing products.

Peripheral Art Neuropathy Supplement List

Please be aware that this is an affiliate link for iHerb. My purpose for this blog, and this post, is not to sell you anything; my motivation is to share with you my hard work and my joy in finding a cure for my own neuropathy, in the hope that you’ll be inspired by my experience. But yes, I do get some small pocket change if you buy anything from the list. You also get a discount by using this link. I’m perfectly happy if you only use the list as a reference.

Pills are not the whole cure

Finally, I emphasize again: supplements alone haven’t cured me. I attribute my remarkable recovery in equal parts to:

  • Strenuous exercise for one hour a day;
  • Dietary choices and restrictions, which I strictly adhere to, plus a lot of water;
  • The supplements on this list.

In future posts I’ll describe my exercise and diet regimens. For now I’ve taken enough of your time.

Comments?

I’m still learning! If you have any corrections, disagreements, experiences with these or other supplements you wish to share, or additional information about any of the above, please please please tell me in the comments below. Be aware: as a writer and sometimes editor, I reserve the right to correct any errors in spelling or punctuation in your message. Please no advertisements or insults.

I wish you a speedy recovery from the torment of peripheral neuropathy.

Sunset over Evoramonte
Gorgeous sunset seen from my room in Evoramonte, Portugal, where most of this post was written.
15 Comments
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15 Comments

  1. Diane Overfield
    5 November 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Dear Larry, I’m so happy for your results. I know I can’t afford all those medications. I only take Gabapentin 1500 mg for my neuropathy. I have tried several meds per my dr. Nothing has been able to help me. I have neuropathy in my right hand and right foot. I have terrible lower back pain and hip pain, which I put Salon Pa’s on both sections. This helps me with both of these problems. So one night after my shower I decided to put the patches on my foot and a patch on my right hand. As I’m watching tv 2hrs later I wondered what was going on. I did not have any pain at all, I slept all night with no pain. When I woke up and no pain. I thanked our Lord for that one night’s sleep. I forgot to tell you I have been wearing a carpel tunnel brace on my right hand for 3 years because of the pins and needles, numbness and sharp jabs. Also I had carpel tunnel surgery 2 1/2 yrs, ago. I went for my checkup 1 month later and I told the dr. the surgery didn’t take. He said you’re the first person who has said that to me. So then he gave me a shot in my wrist (I want to tell you that shot was the worst pain I’ve had since child birth) the neuropathy was back after 2 weeks. My dr. said there was nothing else he could do. Now I don’t have to wear my brace. Yesterday in church everyone was asking me where’s your brace. Gone, Gone and Gone. I still wear a Salon Pa on my hand when needed. I still use 3-4 patches on my foot. I have since started taking vitamin B’s pills. Thank you for reading my letter, like I said before I’m so glad you’re doing so much better.

    Thank you, Diane

  2. Larry
    6 November 2018 at 3:00 am

    Hi Diane, thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear how much pain you’ve gone through, but it seems like things are getting better. I strongly urge you to keep going with the Vitamin B supplements. You may not notice an effect right away, but in the long term they will benefit you greatly. Bless you!

    Larry

  3. Chris southern
    10 November 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Fantastic advice!!! God bless you sir! I have been searching for something… anything… to help.

  4. Chris southern
    15 November 2018 at 1:21 am

    Hello! I see you mention a strict diet… can you explain further?

  5. Larry
    15 November 2018 at 2:55 am

    I’ll write a post about my neuropathy diet sometime soon. Essentially it means cutting out all foods which are inflammatory and/or contribute to neuropathy, or are just plain poison to your body. This includes: all forms of sugar or sweeteners, all wheat products, all dairy products, fruit juices, potatoes, eggplants/aubergines, all alcohol, any and all artificial ingredients such as flavorings and preservatives and artificial sweeteners, certain Asian mushrooms (for me), and a host of other things. And I am absolutely strict about it! No cheating, no exceptions.

    Also, I drink at least 2 liters of plain water a day–not tea or juice, but water. I also drink lots of herbal and green teas. But I notice that on days when I forget to drink my full 2 liters of water I can feel it in my fingertips.

    Makes for a very limited and kind of boring diet, and it drives my family crazy. But the reward in return for a bland diet is getting my fingers and feet back. I’ve read enough comments from people who say, “But I need my doughnuts and fries and caramel macchiatos as comfort foods to soothe my soul because of my neuropathy.” Er…no you don’t. You need to treat your illness, and your “comfort food” will only make you feel more uncomfortable. Diet is at least as important as supplements. You can’t concentrate on one without the other. Without being hyper-aware of your diet, your chance of recovery, or at least of reducing the symptoms of neuropathy, will be quite limited.

  6. Jim
    14 December 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Great news, Larry! I wish you all the best in your continued recovery! I always get a hearty laugh from your cartoons! Thanks so much for the fun times, and keep them coming! You bring a lot of happiness!

  7. Vivian Wiser
    8 February 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Larry, Thank you so much for sharing your healing path! I really want to start on some of the supplements you listed but I was unable to access the supplement list as it’s posted. I clicked on it but it didn’t do anything. Is there another way to see the list? It would be very helpful to know which brands you recommend. Thanks and wishes for your continued success in healing,

    Vivian

    • BaixaHomem
      9 February 2019 at 1:23 am

      I’m sorry you’re unable to access the list. I have tested it in numerous browsers on computers and mobile devices, with no problem. Here is a direct link to the list: https://secure.iherb.com/tr/list?id=23631540&rcode=VAP034

      I am also sending you a private e-mail. Please look for it.

      Larry

  8. Mark
    6 August 2019 at 3:00 am

    Hi Larry,
    A very inspiring post! I have very recently (three months) developed symptoms–numb and tingling feet–for which I am awaiting a diagnosis. If it comes back as what I fear, I will definitely use this page as a resource. I don’t do pharmaceutical drugs, and the possibility of succumbing to them scares me. I am very interested in your diet and exercise regimes; perhaps you can answer some questions at a later date.
    I recently cured myself of a rather debilitating and lifelong condition–acid reflux–which a slew of doctors told me had no cure, and was advised to ‘just take the drugs.’ Many of the supplements I tried in my quest to solve the issue are listed on this page, supplements I continue to take today. I am convinced that diet and supplements saved me from further pain and damage, and I refuse to believe there is no cure for difficult illnesses. The cure just hasn’t been found yet.
    Thanks again for all your hard work–this post is absolutely a godsend–hope doesn’t seem to be a large quantity when dealing with PN, but your success should certainly inspire hope.
    Cheers!

    • Larry
      6 August 2019 at 8:29 am

      Your story is inspiring as well, curing acid reflux without medicating yourself. But, hmmm… if you’re using many of the supplements from my list and still possibly developing neuropathy, then you need to both experiment with your own stacks of supplements, and implement a broader cure. I realize I’ve been lax about sharing my diet and exercise regimens, but that’s partly because in the past few months I’m starting to shift my thinking. I absolutely stand by my supplement cure–for myself–but it has been dawning on me that diet and exercise are primary in healing our bodies. Pills alone, whether pharmaceuticals, or herbs and amino acids in capsules, can never be the whole treatment. I’ll be posting something fairly soon about this.

  9. Mark
    7 August 2019 at 3:57 am

    I agree–supplements are not the whole treatment. But they are significant and healthier than that offered up by Western medicine. My “list” parallels yours, but not completely. I’m only at twenty pills a day! And the doses you have been taking are quite higher than what I am used to, but perhaps that’s why my symptoms so far have been quite mild (aside from the anxiety!) compared to what other folks have experienced. But with my self-treatment as lab rat for my reflux, diet turned out to be the key. Supplements, with some exceptions, were secondary. That’s why I am most interested in your diet and exercise regimens. I’ll look forward to your future posts, and thanks.

  10. Tom Jordan
    29 August 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Larry, You and I preach the same sermon. I hope we can be friends. I reversed my neuropathy symptoms through diet – not smoothies – and I know it can be done. Most of the same basics as you, no carbs, starches, sugars, no cheating. I appreciate what you discovered for yourself. I didn’t find your writing until after I had fixed my own – but you are on point.

  11. Richard
    23 September 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Larry, what an inspiring story. Interestingly, there are some other groups that seem to have discovered a list of supplements similar to yours. There’s even one Facebook group that has dedicated regimen of supplements they take.

    I’m tremendously interested in the dietary aspect of this. I’ve done the exercise part for years before this came on, but my diet could be better.

    Do you have any issues with overdoing exercise? Before this I cycled several days a week for up to 100kms per day. I haven’t tried anything much beyond 50k as I’ve read that it can cause flares.

    Thank for you sharing! I look forward to your posts.

    • Larry
      24 September 2019 at 12:17 am

      Yes, there is a Facebook and member-only group which shares its own list of supplements for neuropathy, which seems quite good. I became aware of them after I was already several months into my research and experimentation. So, while my approach is not based on theirs, the fact that there is some overlap is both interesting and reinforcing to everyone. I don’t claim that my approach is “better”, only that it has worked incredibly well for me.

      Regarding diet and exercise, my apologies for not posting anything about those yet. I have been overwhelmed by a major writing project for the past year, and I try to slip these blog posts in between, but they do take a lot of thought and effort to write. I promise that such articles are at the top of my to-do list.

      About exercise: I too am an avid cyclist, but cycling isn’t enough, since it doesn’t target the blockages in our limbs. I strongly believe that resistance training–meaning using weights such as kettlebells–as well as specific stretches are essential for defeating neuropathy. And yes, I overdid it. My gym trainer called me insane, because I took his workout program and tripled it. That is, I repeated it three times daily six days a week for months in my eagerness to overcome neuropathy and because it apparently works. And it was cool, at age 63, for the first time in my life, to actually have a physique I wasn’t ashamed of. But of course I inevitably sprained a tendon, which forced me to scale back. I’m now “only” doubling his program, three or four days a week. When I stop the workouts, such as during a recent three-week holiday, I definitely feel the not-so-positive effects.

  12. Richard
    27 September 2019 at 3:09 pm

    There have been a few studies now on diabetic neuropathy and exercise which showed it actually cause nerve regrowth so I’m not surprised that exercise can help hold back symptoms or improve them.

    I am following the closed Facebook group’s protocol and also exploring yours. Hopefully treating this early, will help.

    There is one exciting topical drug in the pipeline from a tiny startup of four people that actually seems to reverse neuropathy. They have interesting story and their research is worth reading too. It’s all crowd funded because big pharma doesn’t see the need for something like this. (I’m in no way affiliated with them). https://winsantor.com.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s an inspiration to me and I’m sure to others.

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