Nerve damage due to diabetes is known as diabetic neuropathy. In most cases, diabetic neuropathy affects the nerves in the legs. Untreated diabetes may also damage the autonomic nervous system that controls the functions of the urinary tract, digestive system and heart.
Diabetic neuropathy develops gradually. Diabetics who cannot keep their blood sugar levels under control for a prolonged period have a higher risk of developing diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes damages nerves by weakening the small blood vessels that supply nourishment to the nerves and by impairing transmission of nerve signals.
Vitamins that help to maintain the health and function of the nervous system can be used for treating and slowing down progression of diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamins for Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is beneficial for diabetes neuropathy patients. It is especially effective for diabetics suffering from type 1 diabetes. As people with type 1 diabetes develop this condition during childhood, they have a significantly higher risk of experiencing nerve damage.
Niacinamide can slow down the progression of type 1 diabetes by preventing destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Moreover, vitamin B3 helps to maintain the health and function of the nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is an important nutrient for the nervous system. Studies suggest that people suffering from diabetic neuropathy usually suffer from vitamin B6 deficiency. Vitamin B6 prevents diabetes-related complications including diabetic neuropathy by preventing glycosylation of protein.
Glycosylation of protein occurs when glucose attaches to protein. The glycosylated proteins undergo several changes to produce advanced glycosylation end products that are linked to diabetes complications.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can aggravate the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Among the different form of vitamin B12, studies suggest that methylcobalamin is most effective for treating diabetic neuropathy. It can reduce neuropathy pain.
Biotin, a member of the vitamin B complex group, can benefit diabetic neuropathy patients. It helps to maintain the function of the nervous system. In diabetics, supplementation with biotin helps to lower the elevated blood glucose level. The beneficial effect of biotin on the nerves and blood sugar control helps to reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
By protecting the nerve cells from the destructive activities of free radicals, vitamin C prevents nerve damage. Oxidative stress increases the risk of nerve dysfunction in diabetics. Hence, vitamin C can be used for alleviating the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
The antioxidant property of vitamin E can reduce the risk of nerve damage in diabetics. Diabetics suffering from vitamin E deficiency need vitamin E supplementation for improving glycemic control. Moreover, vitamin E also stimulates regeneration of nerves and helps to maintain the function of the nerves.
Vitamin D plays a role in sustaining normal function of the nervous system. It also helps to maintain the blood glucose level in the normal range. It stimulates insulin secretion, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation that causes resistance to insulin.
By maintaining the normal functioning of the immune system, vitamin D reduces the risk of type 1 diabetes that occurs when the immune cells mistakenly attack the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.
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