Every day there are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of battles going on within your body. Your nerve cells face threats from germs, infections, viruses, nutritional deficiencies and more. One of the less obvious threats to your cells are free radicals. Free radicals are harmful compounds that scour the body – attacking and destroying cells. If left unhindered, free radicals can cause damage that can eventually result in chronic illness and other negative health outcomes.
To protect your cells from damage or destruction by free radicals – your body relies on antioxidants. Antioxidants seek out free radicals and neutralize the threat they present to your body. There are literally hundreds of antioxidants. Your body naturally produces some antioxidants while others come from food or supplements. No matter the source – they play an important role in defending your cells, including your nerve cells, from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Among the hundreds of antioxidants that protect your nerve cells from damage, there are three, in particular, that stands out as being especially effective for those with nerve pain. Let’s take a look:
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is often referred to as a “super antioxidant”, with good reason. It has the special ability to regenerate both itself and other antioxidants – which helps bring the fight to free radicals. It also helps increase oxygen and blood flow to the nerves and is effective at relieving some of the symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy.
Alpha lipoic acid can be found in foods like broccoli and spinach, but a more bio-available form of it is available in supplements. Patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy have reported significant reductions in pain, burning, and numbness in their arms and legs – typically after about 3-5 weeks of treatment with alpha lipoic acid supplements.
CoQ10 (CoEnzyme Q10)
CoQ10 is an antioxidant naturally produced by your body. However, as you age the production levels decrease, sometimes resulting in a deficiency of this important antioxidant. As it relates to your nerves, CoQ10 plays a role in correction mitochondrial dysfunction, a condition that can lead to a decline in nerve health and cause nerve related problems or pain.
In addition to its nerve protecting qualities, CoQ10 is an important antioxidant for energy and can be found in every cell in your body. Its primary function is to help the body convert food into energy by producing ATP, a molecule that serves as the primary fuel source for cells and cellular functions.
Though your body will likely produce enough C0Q10 on its own, as you age and your production levels decline you may consider taking a daily CoQ10 supplement – which you can find at your local pharmacy in the vitamins and supplements aisle.
Hydroxytyrosol is yet another superstar antioxidant. What makes this antioxidant so great is its incredible ability to absorb and neutralize free radicals. Research shows that it is 15 times more powerful than Green Tea and 3 times more powerful than CoQ10 at neutralizing free radicals!
Like CoQ10, hydroxytyrosol helps protect cells and promote healthy mitochondrial function – thereby protecting the health of your nerves. In a 2012 study on its effects on the progression of diabetic neuropathy, Italian researchers observed that it slowed its progression and possessed therapeutic qualities for the treatment of its symptoms.
In addition to its nerve boosting qualities, hydroxytyrosol is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce painful inflammation and ease irritating swelling and redness.
This powerful antioxidant is found in olive trees and can be extracted from the fruit and leaves of the tree. For those looking to get more of it, a Mediterranean-style diet will be rich in this antioxidant.
Getting more of these and other antioxidants, whether it is through diet or supplements, will help give your body the upper hand in fighting harmful free radicals that seek to wreak havoc on your cells. As noted above, consistent treatment can even result in a significant reduction in nerve related pain and provide much-needed relief.