6 Supplements for Nerve Health
November 27, 2019
You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your nervous system, but without it your body parts would be unable to communicate with each other, whether that’s eating, walking, or notifying you of pain in some part of your body.
The nervous system at a glance
There are two components to the nervous system: 1) the brain and spinal cord, called the central nervous system and; 2) nerves that go from the skin, muscle and organs to the spinal cord and later, the brain. This part is called the peripheral nervous system.
As you can imagine with this level of complexity, things can go haywire, especially if peripheral nerves become damaged due to a variety of factors.
The good news is that there are vitamins and supplements that benefit nerve health. Here are the top six.
Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA)
What it is: ALA is a powerful fat- and water-soluble antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. Unlike other antioxidants, which target free radicals in either the blood or the tissue, ALA is effective in both.
Why it’s important: Spikes in blood sugar can generate free radicals and can harm nerves. Supplementing with ALA not only battles free radicals, but it also supports healthy blood sugar levels by helping cells recognize and respond to insulin.
What you need: 50–100 mg is the recommended dose for most people. Individuals with blood sugar concerns can benefit from up to 600 mg daily
What it is: Vitamin B12, found in animal products, is needed to produce neurotransmitters.
Why it’s important: Because it’s critical for serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to mood, appetite, sleep, learning, and more), some studies show that B12 can support your mood. Other research links low levels of B12 with bone health in women over age 64 and memory in mature individuals.
What you need: Most adults benefit from 2.4 mcg daily.
What it is: Known for its ability to promote overall comfort, vitamin B6 is found naturally in many foods like meats, potatoes and starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruit.
Why it’s important: In addition to benefitting nerve function and synthesizing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, some studies have shown that B6 may support heart health by lowering the levels of a key amino acid in the blood. Low B6 has also been linked to certain types of health concerns.
What you need: 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. Stick to doses under 100 mg daily to be safe.
What they are: From beta-carotene to vitamin C, antioxidants are a supercharged group of compounds that battle free radicals. Antioxidants are commonly found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, as well as spices like cloves and beverages like tea.
What you need: Find a balanced antioxidant formula that includes 400 IU natural vitamin E, 200 mcg selenium, and at least 500 to 1,000 mg vitamin C.
Why they’re important: Omega-3s play a role in healthy brain cell and neurotransmitter function. They’re credited with supporting healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and brain health, plus support nerve density and signal transmission.
What you need: 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.
What it is: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the digestive system absorb and regulate calcium and phosphorus. Most people know that we get vitamin D through sunlight, but it’s also present in fatty fish and egg yolk.
What you need: Most adults should aim for 600 IU daily; those over age 70 can boost their intake to 800 IU.
By keeping your nerves healthy, you increase your chances of maintaining a long, active life over the years. Be sure to check these nutrients out today.