Diabetic peripheral neuropathy involves the progressive damage of the body’s peripheral nervous system, resulting in recurring bouts of pain, tingling, weakness, soreness, and a host of other symptoms—some of them severe enough to cause persistent mobility issues.
Neuropathic patients have difficulty getting around on a day-to-day basis, and they must always have a mind for pain management; the nerve pain involved in peripheral neuropathy can be quite severe. It is commonly medicated with over-the-counter painkillers, prescription-strength painkillers, anticonvulsants and antidepressants, with that last being widely regarded by the medical community as the go-to option for severe nerve pain relief (regardless of its cause).
However, antidepressants have severe side effects. They are progressively coming under scrutiny as being behind everything from lethargy and wild mood swings to symptoms as severe as organ damage and failure following legitimately prescribed long-term use.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Millions of people across the United States suffer from conditions which can lead directly to neuropathy. The most common of these is type 2 diabetes, with nearly a million and a half Americans diagnosed every year. The condition is particularly prevalent among the elderly, with more than 1 in 4 elderly Americans now recognized as being diabetic—and numbers across the board are rising at an alarming rate.
Diabetes leaches your system of vital nutrients. This is particularly true if its symptoms are not effectively managed, or if basic lifestyle changes meant to help manage diabetes are not adhered to. There are any number of reasons why this can happen: many people don’t know that they are diabetic, as the condition can remain devoid of apparent symptoms for years—or even decades. Healthy lifestyle changes can be strenuous and difficult to adapt to, a fact made all the more compelling by the complexities of eating healthy in modern society.
Sugar, and other foods whose intake requires tight constraint, is hidden in just about everything; it’s a frequent joke among diabetics that their condition allows them to eat “as much lettuce as they want.”
Among the nutrients frequently leached from the human body by diabetes are the B-Complex vitamins. In addition, the symptoms of diabetes require elevated amounts of these vitamins, in order to maintain vital levels and help manage symptoms. This is particularly true of vitamin B12.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
As with its frequent “parent condition,” diabetic peripheral neuropathy may be present for years without a person’s knowledge, working progressive damage on their nervous system unknown to them. As its name suggests, peripheral neuropathy involves the peripheral nervous system—the nerves, outside of your brain and spinal cord (the “central nervous system”) which convey signals to and from your body’s extremities. Your skin, muscles, and internal organs all require the peripheral nervous system in order to function properly.
Neuropathy sufferers who do display symptoms frequently have to deal with the following issues:
- Recurring nerve pain. Nerve pain usually takes the form of a sensation that combines mild burning with pins and needles. It may be sharper, and some patients experience more severe forms of pain, which is often medicated through powerful antidepressants and pain-relieving drugs.
- Tingling, pins and needles, and numbness. These sensations can be particularly infuriating when they seem to come internally—such as a tingle in the center of the forward half of the foot, between the toes, or just behind the big toe.
- Muscle weakness and “foot drop.” Muscle weakness can occur, separately from other sensations, in recurring bouts within specific areas of effect. While the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy is more likely to be confined to the lower body, muscle weakness can also affect the hands and arms. “Foot drop” is the common term for a symptom whereby there is no range of motion to the toes, and the neuropathy sufferer can’t raise the front of their foot up.
- Skin sensitivity and hypersensitivity. Increased sensitivity in parts of the skin, as per burning nerve pain when the skin is brushed or bumped accidentally, may be a symptom of neuropathy. This is usually confined to one or more specific locations. In lieu of affecting the skin, sensitivity may also occur when certain parts of the body are bumped or pushed, apparently manifesting as internal pain.
What is Methyl B12?
The human body requires a list of B-Complex vitamins in order to remain healthy; this is true of everybody. B-vitamins, like benfotiamine are needed for many vital functions. They help us to derive energy from the food we eat, contribute to healthy bones and eyesight, and maintain good mental health and clarity.
Vitamin B12 is essential, not only for the healthy function of your nervous system, but also for the production of healthy blood cells. A B12 deficiency can itself lead to peripheral neuropathy. It is particularly prone to manifesting itself through constipation (and other digestive symptoms), weakness, a sense of ongoing fatigue and exhaustion, and anemia. A B12 deficiency does lead directly to nerve damage.
Like “Vitamin B,” which actually refers to a host of different vitamins—including B12—the designation “vitamin B12” is in itself an umbrella term. It refers to a family of closely related vitamins, each of which has its own functions, while displaying significant overlap. Methyl B12 is a B12 vitamin which supports a healthy metabolism.
It is a “coenzyme,” which means it works with other enzymes to produce different substances in the body. Methyl B12 is critical to the production of healthy red blood cells. It is also responsible for producing the “myelin sheath,” the substance which insulates your nerves. This widely applicable vitamin even plays a role in cardiovascular health, as it helps to create substances which protect your arteries.
How to Get It in You
Nutritional supplements exist to provide you with your required daily dose of methyl B12. This is particularly true of supplements like Nerve Renew which is designed to help alleviate nerve pain using vitamins from all-natural sources.
Food sources of methyl B12 include animal products; the vitamin is noticeably lacking in plant-based products, but some products—such as certain cereals—are fortified with B12. Generally speaking, anyone with a healthy B12 intake has enough methyl B12 in their system; one way to help compensate for a potential methyl B12 deficit is to simply incorporate additional B12-rich foods into your diet.
TIP: Side Effects of Methyl B12
Methyl B12 supplementation can have certain side effects. Side effects of methyl B12 taken as a supplement commonly include itching, headaches, swelling, anxiety, and involuntary twitching. Rarer, more serious side effects may include congestive heart failure, anaphylaxis, fluid buildup in the lungs, and potassium deficiency.
These are usually the result of an underlying condition, such as a B12 allergy. If you suspect an allergic reaction or other side effect from B12, you should immediately contact poison control or the local ER. The most common and effective treatment for a B12 allergy is to incorporate more foods which contain the vitamin, as the allergy is to the supplement form of the vitamin—not to B12 itself (you wouldn’t be alive if you couldn’t tolerate B12 at all).