Stabbing, burning, pinching—nerve pain can be unbearable, especially when it’s chronic and unremitting. If you’ve dealt with sciatica or diabetic neuropathy, you know the agony of nerve pain. Certain herbs and vitamins can help ease nerve pain while also helping to relax muscles and quiet the mind. These work to soothe pain by inhibiting inflammation, which calms the nervous system. As a side note, ice is beneficial for nerve inflammation.
One of the most effect natural compounds for alleviating nerve pain is L-Tetrahydropalmatine, an alkaloid found in the herb corydalis and an important remedy for pain in Traditional Chinese Medicine. “The pharmacological profile of L-Tetrahydropalmatine includes an effect on nerve receptors, which may reduce the sensation of pain ” explains Robin Rogosin, VP of Product Development for LifeSeasons.
Another powerful natural agent for nerve pain is L-Theanine. This amino acid is found naturally in tea leaves, and it has been shown to calm stress and boost mood and cognitive performance. “L-Theanine supports soothing alpha brain waves and the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, says Rogosin.
White Willow Bark is rich in salicin, a compound that is chemically similar to aspirin. This pain-reducing herb also contains flavonoids, which can help reduce inflammation and pain. “In contrast to synthetic aspirin, willow bark does not damage the gastrointestinal mucosa,” says Rogosin.
Benfotiamine, a fat-soluble derivative of vitamin B1 (thiamine), is known as one of the best vitamins for treating nerve pain. According to Rogosin, studies have shown that benfotiamine inhibits three major pathways that lead to the formation of toxic metabolites. You can find benfotiamine as a single supplement or in combination formulas for pain.
Like corydalis, Angelica, which comes from the root of the Angelica plant, has been used traditionally in Asian herbalism to ease pain for years. It works by inhibiting the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), which causes inflammation.
As people spend more time indoors, deficiencies of Vitamin D3 have become more common. And pain, muscle weakness, and certain degenerative conditions are strongly associated with low levels of vitamin D. Studies have shown that inadequate levels of vitamin D are linked to chronic pain.
B-complex vitamins are natural nerve-healing agents, particularly Vitamin B12. This key vitamin is particularly effective when it comes to treating peripheral neuropathy, says Rogosin. Also especially important is Vitamin B6. The active form of B6, Pyridoxyl 5’ Phosphate, is important for nerve function and nervous system health
Acetyl L-Carnitine is an antioxidant that is produced naturally in the body. In one study, this nutrient was shown to reduce pain and improve nerve regeneration in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy. One of Acetyl L-Carnitine’s key functions is to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, the energy-producing part of cells. Acetyl L-Carnitine is also vital for health and brain function, muscle movement, and other body processes.
Caffeine (from green coffee bean) is a mild stimulant for the central nervous system (CNS). According to Rogosin, when caffeine is used in combination with the other ingredients mentioned above, it acts as a catalyst for pain relief.
Diet-wise, consider reducing your intake of animal products and increasing your consumption of fatty fish and eggs. Avoid sugar. Get plenty of turmeric, leafy greens, and water. One last note: acupuncture can be effective for nerve pain.
Note: Do not combine the nutrients mentioned here with narcotic drugs.
Editor’s Product Picks: To try a combination of the ingredients mentioned here, try LifeSeasons Pain Bloc-R.