HNPP · Medication · Physical Health

HNPP and Alternative Supplements

Fruits

It sounds like there are a lot of good tidbits of information as well as conflicting messages in terms of taking supplements, and other foodstuffs that are said to have wonderful healing properties.

From supporting nerve regrowth to reducing inflammation, there is a whole host of additional organic as well as synthetic tablets and herbs that can be taken with regular medication.

I personally take a selection of Vitamin B tablets and Folic Acid, which was recommended to me by a neurologist, but everyone’s body is different and reacts in different ways.

So is it necessary to take supplements? 

Regardless of the cause of your peripheral neuropathy, boosting the health of your nerves through proper diet and supplementation can help slow the spread of your symptoms. However, the sooner you and your doctor can pinpoint a cause, the quicker you can identify and begin the most effective treatment for your symptoms.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, these medicinal and herbal suggestions have definitely gotten a lot of praise.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor or practitioner before taking new medicines. Make sure you’re not allergic.

Magnesium 

Spinach magnesium intake for HNPP hereditary neuropathy

Magnesium is said to help maintain nerve function, mostly by reducing pain, calming overactive nerves and relaxing your muscles. This calming effect on nerves and muscles helps reduce pain and improve mobility. According to a 2010 study, a major mechanism of pain is the excessive stimulation of a brain chemical called “NMDA.” Magnesium seems to settle down this pain-carrying neurotransmitter without the toxins of other medications.

Low levels magnesium may result in fatigue, cramping and weakness – among other symptoms.

Alternatives to supplements: 

So from where else can you get your magnesium intake?

  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Beans and peas
  • Fresh fruits
  • Quinoa

Vitamin B

Salmon for Vitamin B12 intake HNPP neuropathy

One common cause of peripheral neuropathy is a deficiency of B vitamins, particularly B12. If a B12 deficiency isn’t treated in a timely fashion, the nerve damage can become permanent. It is the most important link in the chain of the various B vitamins.

However, without vitamin B2 and B6, your body’s ability to properly absorb and make use of these vitamins for the benefit of your nerves becomes significantly handicapped.

Alternatives to supplements:

The NHS website has laid out some of the foods that are high in B12:

  • Meat
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals

Folic Acid

Folic acid, known as folate in its natural form, helps the body form healthy red blood cells and reduce the risk of central neural tube defects. Folic acid is needed to activate the B12. B6, B9 (folic acid) and B2 are needed for B1 to be absorbed.

If you’re taking folic acid supplements, it’s important not to take too much, as this could be harmful.  Folic acid can actually be absorbed by having a healthy diet. Adults need 200mcg of folic acid a day. It can’t be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.

Alternative for supplements:

Folate is found in small amounts in many foods:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Liver (but avoid this during pregnancy)
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Potassium

Banana potassium hereditary neuropathy HNPP

Potassium helps generate energy so that the nerves can transmit messages. The way it does this is called the sodium-potassium pump. Essentially, there is more potassium inside your cells and more sodium outside. When the gate that allows one or the other to leave or enter the cell opens, potassium leaves and sodium enters. This “pump” generates the energy for your nerves to transmit messages.

Alternatives to supplements:

  • Sweet potato
  • White and kidney beans
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Certain fish – Wild salmon, tuna, halibut, flounder, and Pacific cod
  • Milk
  • Tomato sauces
  • Dried fruits -Apricots, peaches and figs

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a naturally occurring amino acid and is potentially effective at preventing peripheral neuropathy as well as lessening neuropathic symptoms once they have developed. ALC has been shown to influence neurotransmitters (NTs), including acetylcholine (organic chemical that works as a neurotransmitter) and dopamine.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor or practitioner before taking new medicines. Make sure you’re not allergic and it doesn’t interact with other medications.

Turmeric

Turmeric for hereditary neuropathy HNPP

Turmeric is an ancient spice commonly used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines to treat digestive issues, inflammation, skin conditions, and wounds. Turmeric is also known as an anti-ischemic agent, which helps in regulating blood supply to peripheral nerves. Lack of blood supply to nerves is of the key reason for these nerves not working properly.

Although there is not currently much research to support its standing as an effective anti-inflammatory or that it can benefit nerve issues, there is much anecdotal evidence that it has its advantages.

For more information on how to consume it, visit TheKitchn.com.

Hemp Oil

A slightly more controversial product is Hemp Oil or Cannabidiol (CBD). For many HNPP sufferers, this is harder to come by depending on the laws of your country. However, it is said to benefit users. Two major cannabinoids found in cannabis, activate the two main cannabinoid receptors, which is said to regulate the release of neurotransmitter and central nervous system immune cells to manage pain levels. There are foods and liquids containing hemp that can also be consumed.

Some of the most popular forms of hemp foods include:
  • Whole hemp seeds
  • Shelled hemp seed (hemp hearts)
  • Hemp oil
  • Hemp protein
  • Hemp milk

Omega 3 Oils

Walnuts omega 3 peripheral neuropathyResearch from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have the potential to protect nerves from injury and help them to regenerate.

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for the body’s normal growth and development because the body cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore it has to be consumed in foods such as oily fish.

Foods that include Omega 3 include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Fatty / oily fish – wild salmon, halibut, mackerel, tuna
  • Walnuts

Coq 10

CoQ10 (CoEnzyme Q10) is an antioxidant naturally produced by your body. As it relates to your nerves, CoQ10 plays a role in correction mitochondrial dysfunction, a condition that can lead to a decline in nerve health and cause nerve related problems or pain. Long-term low dose CoQ-10 inhibited neuropathy induced pain, according to a study.

Coq10 can be found in:

  • Fish- Sardines, Mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring
  • Beef, Lamb, Pork- organs like heart, liver, kidneys
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Wheat-germ
  • Peanuts, Pistachio, sesame seeds
  • Soyabean oil, Canola oil

Zinc

Dark chocolate for zinc neuropathy HNPP

Don’t go crazy with zinc supplementation because it can cause a secondary copper metabolic problem, however, there are plenty of foods that are naturally high in zinc.

Why do you need zinc for peripheral neuropathy? It turns out that zinc plays a part in modulating the brain and body’s response to stress all along the way. The highest amount of zinc in the body is found in our brains, particularly in a part of our brains called the hippocampus, and it is critical to cell signalling. But you don’t need a huge amount to fulfil your daily quota which can be done quite simply.

Foods that are high in zinc:

  • Oysters
  • Crab and lobster
  • Meat and poultry as well as eggs
  • Legumes – hummus, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, and black beans
  • Vegetables – mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Milk and dairy foods
  • Dark chocolate

If there are any more supplements you would like to add, please feel free to comment below! Do these particular products work for you?

Dark chocolate as a medical aid makes me very happy indeed.

UPDATE: Since writing the initial post, a few other supplements including Coq 10 and Omega 3 Oils has been suggested and added above.

3 thoughts on “HNPP and Alternative Supplements

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