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6 supplements for nerve health

Give your nerve-health plan a boost with these key supplements, which lend a variety of health benefits. 6 supplements for nerve health

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 cause nerve damage. 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 preventative dose for most people. Diabetics can benefit from up to 600 mg daily

Vitamin B12
What it is: Vitamin B12, found in animal products, is needed to produce neurotransmitters.

Natural lifestyle tips
Dealing with neuropathy or nerve pain? Whether it’s chronic or acute, try these tips:

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 rapid bone loss in women over age 64 and poor memory in older people with a predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease.

What you need: Most adults benefit from 2.4 mcg daily.

Vitamin B6
What it is: Known for its ability to help manage pain, 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 cancer and memory loss.

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 and cause neuropathy in some cases. 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.

Why they’re important: Antioxidants are credited with supporting healthy immune system and healthy aging. And, because they target nerve-damaging free radicals, they can minimize trauma.

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.

What they are: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are naturally found in cold water fish like salmon, as well as green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flaxseed oil and hemp seed oil.

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 managing nerve damage by improving 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.

Vitamin D
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.

Why it’s important: Vitamin D can support healthy bones and healthy blood pressure levels. It may also be beneficial for those dealing with diabetic nerve issues.

What you need: Most adults should aim for 600 IU daily; those over age 70 can boost their intake to 800 IU.