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Best Supplements for Nerve Health

How Your Nervous System Works

The nervous system is one of the most important and complex systems in our body. Electrical signals run to and from the brain facilitating communication that allows us to control our body with respect to the environment, circumstance and our internal status.

The nervous system can be broken down into two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord while the peripheral nervous system includes all other nerves. The peripheral functions as a communication highway between all the parts of your body and brain. Neurons are the brains nerve cells that communicate these electrical signals. The myelin sheath is high fat content protective coating around the neurons that allows these signals to travel fast and efficiently. With so many interacting components, it is vital to provide all the essential nutrients and vitamins to maintain a healthy nervous system.

What are the best supplements for nerve health?

Vitamins are important for not only maintaining the structure of myelin but are also important for many essential processes including transporting oxygen, regulating energy, producing neurotransmitters and hormones and overall protection of the brain and its processes. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids are also recommended for ideal nervous system functioning.  

Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B-6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is not stored in the body but excreted in our waste every day, therefore, it is essential to include daily sources to replenish. B-6 helps metabolize protein and glucose, which makes it beneficial for people who have problems regulating blood sugar. B-6 aids in the production of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body and to the brain. This vitamin is particularly important in the synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters such as serotonin to regulate mood and norepinephrine to regulate stress. It also regulates melatonin, the hormone responsible for keeping our sleep/wake cycles on track. Since it is water-soluble, it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier for immediate absorption and use.

In addition to benefitting the nervous system, some studies have shown that B-6 helps regulate pain and may support heart health by lowering the levels of a key amino acid in the blood. B-6 deficiency has been linked to various health concerns including certain types of cancer and memory loss.

Most people get an adequate amount of vitamin B6 from food or multivitamins alone. But, in this case, you can get too much of a good thing: taken in doses exceeding 250 mg daily, vitamin B6 can actually have a toxic effect on the nervous system and cause neuropathy in some cases. Stick to doses under 100 mg daily to be safe.

Vitamin B-6 is found naturally in many foods such as meats (beef, poultry, fish), whole grains, nuts, potatoes, starchy-vegetables and bananas.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 also a water-soluble vitamin essential for proper development, maintenance and functioning of the brain and nerve cells. It helps synthesize and maintain the protective myelin sheaths covering the nerves to ensure efficient and fast electrical signals. B-12 also aids in the production of red blood cells and regulates energy production. One of the most important B-12 contributions to nervous system health includes the formation of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are involved with regulating mood, sleep, appetite, digestion, attention and learning. Since vitamin B-12 is water-soluble, it can cross the blood-brain barrier easily making it an ideal vitamin for nervous system health. Other research links low levels of B12 with rapid bone loss in women over age 64 and poor memory in older people with a predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease. Most adults can greatly benefit from 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 daily.

Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in many foods including beef, poultry, fortified cereal, certain seafood (tuna, salmon, clams – to name a few), eggs and milk products.

Vitamin D

It is known that the fat-soluble vitamin D plays an important role in bone, joint and muscle health, absorption of calcium and other essential minerals, regulating the cell cycle and facilitating normal immune system function. Recent research suggests that vitamin D also enhances electrical signal communication, provides antioxidant protection and helps facilitate learning and creating memories. Vitamin D may also be beneficial to those dealing with diabetic nerve issues by supporting healthy blood pressure levels.

Most adults should aim for 600 IU daily; those over age 70 can boost their intake to 800 IU. Foods that are a good source of vitamin D include: fish high in essential fatty acids (tuna, salmon and sardines), certain dairy products (soy milk and different cereals), beef, oatmeal, cheese and egg yolks.

Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA)

Alpha-lipoic Acid is a powerful fat- and water-soluble antioxidant that can help prevent/delay damage to the body’s cells by neutralizing free radicals. Unlike other antioxidants, which target free radicals in either the blood or the tissue, ALA is effective in both and because it is fat- and water-soluble, it is one of the only antioxidants that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Spikes in blood sugar can generate free radicals and cause nerve damage. Supplementing with ALA not only battles free radicals and helps repair damaged nerve cells, but it also supports healthy blood sugar levels by helping cells recognize and respond to insulin.

50-100 mg is the recommended preventative dose for most people however, diabetics can benefit from up to 600 mg daily. Natural sources of ALA include: leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli and brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots, beets, rice bran and certain types of red meat.


Whether it’s air pollutants, UV light, pesticides, tobacco smoke, alcohol, fried foods or normal metabolic processes, our bodies obtain potentially harmful chemicals (free radicals) that damage our cells and their functioning.  Antioxidant mechanisms work to neutralize these free radicals and prevent/delay/repair damage to our cells. They are also credited with supporting healthy immune system functioning and healthy aging. Most people could benefit by finding a consuming antioxidant formula that includes 400 IU natural vitamin E, 200 mcg selenium and at least 500 to 1,000 mg vitamin C. Natural sources of antioxidants include: onions, garlic, orange vegetables, broccoli, kale, grapes, berries, seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.


Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are significant building blocks of all cells in the brain. They are essential because your body doesn’t product them naturally therefore, we must obtain them through our diet. Omega-3s influence blood sugar levels, blood flow in the brain, levels of neurotransmitters, gene expression and the production of new neurons especially in regions of the brain that involve memory. DHA is essential to the structure of the nervous system, functioning of cell membranes and preventing degradation of brain tissues. EPA helps reduce inflammation in the brain and balances out metabolic pathways. Overall, these fatty acids ensure healthy brain cell and neurotransmitter functioning while supporting healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and mechanisms that manage nerve damage.

Most women will benefit from 250–500 mg EPA and 500–1,000 mg DHA; men should aim for 360–800 mg EPA and 100–500 mg DHA daily. Natural sources of Omega-3s include: fish (especially sockeye salmon), green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flaxseed oil and hemp seed oil.