Nutrient supplementation helps symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

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Diabetes is a condition characterised by raised levels of glucose in the bloodstream. In time, diabetes can lead to damage to tissues that can result in complications such as visual deterioration and blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage. One manifestation of nerve damage is ‘peripheral neuropathy’. This usually affects the feet and lower legs, and can result in numbness (this can lead to diabetics damaging their feet without knowing) and/or abnormal sensations such as feelings of heat, pain and pins and needles.

One approach to reducing the risk of diabetic complications is to get good blood sugar control. A key strategy here is to limit the consumption of foods that tend to disrupt blood sugar levels. In short, a low-carbohydrate diet usually does the trick here. There is evidence the low-carbohydrate are generally very effective in helping individuals establish better blood sugar control and perhaps do with less (or possibly no) medication.

However, I was interested to read about a recent study in which individuals with diabetic neuropathy were treated with micronutrients (vitamin and minerals) [1]. In this study, 67 individuals with diabetic neuropathy were treated with one of three regimes:


20mg zinc
250 mg magnesium
200 mg vitamin C
100 mg vitamin E


20mg zinc
250 mg magnesium
200 mg vitamin C
100 mg vitamin E
10 mg vitamin B1
10 mg vitamin B2
200 micrograms biotin
10 micrograms vitamin B12
1 mg folic acid



After four months, individuals in groups 1. and 2. dad seen very significant reductions in neuropathic symptoms (while those taking placebo did not).  This was in contrast to medical testing of neuropathy which showed no improvement. Neither blood sugar control nor nerve function were improved either.

As the authors of this study concluded, these results suggest that micronutrient supplementation might help diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Nutrient supplementation represents a low-cost, low-risk and relatively hassle-free way to perhaps combat this common and troublesome diabetic complication.


1. Farvid MS, et al. Improving neuropathy scores in type 2 diabetic patients using micronutrients supplementation. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2011 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]

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