Know Your Personal Nutritional Needs:
A single deficiency – mineral, vitamin, antioxidant or amino acid – can set off a cascade of events where metabolic processes are disturbed. Conversely, repletion of such deficiencies can and often do resolve clinical neurological symptoms such as migraines and neuropathy.
Anyone who has experienced migraine headaches knows how debilitating they can be. Fortunately, nutritional intervention can be very successful in migraine prevention. Although the mechanism of action is not totally understood, several nutrients that facilitate energy production at the cellular level may also benefit the treatment of migraine headaches. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant that aids energy metabolism, may reduce both the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches. Similar results occur with magnesium and vitamin B2, since they also help mitochondria (energy-producing centers in our cells) function properly. “Mitochondrial dysfunction” is one possible trigger to migraine headaches.
The role of oxidative stress in causing migraines is not totally understood, but studies do show that low levels of specific antioxidants, such as glutathione and lipoic acid are associated with migraine occurrence. Correcting specific deficiencies specifically B3, B6, B12 and folic acid can produce dramatic results for reducing the pain and frequency of migraine headaches.
A Healthy Nervous System:
Antioxidant therapy has the potential to contribute to preventing or mitigating many neurologic disorders. SpectraCell Laboratories can measure a person’s total antioxidant function with their SPECTROX test, in addition to measuring the performance of individual antioxidants. Since nutrients play multiple roles, a comprehensive assessment of nutritional status is key. Minimizing Neuropathic Pain:
Damage to nerves in the limbs but outside the spinal cord causes the painful condition called peripheral neuropathy. Although potentially debilitating, there is overwhelming evidence that neuropathy responds well when specific nutrient deficiencies are corrected. In some studies, vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 significantly reduce neuropathic pain. High levels of oxidative stress increase neuropathic pain, which explains why the powerful antioxidants cysteine, vitamin E and lipoic acid may be successful in treating neuropathy. The pain reducing effects of carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids has been proven in several trials.
Keeping Our Nerves "Insulated":
Nerves are covered with a protective coating called myelin, much like the insulation that coats electronic wiring. If the myelin sheath deteriorates, neurological problems arise, which is what happens to people with multiple sclerosis (MS). A key enzyme needed to manufacture this protective coating contains serine, an important amino acid needed for neurological health, which is why serine deficiency may cause neurological problems. Research shows that patients with MS have lowered calcium levels and that symptoms of MS are more severe when blood levels of vitamin D are low. Copper deficiency can cause symptoms seen in MS patients as well.
Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's:
Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases. For example, research shows that over half of people with Parkinson’s disease are deficient in vitamin D. Research also shows that the administration of coenzyme Q10 slows the neurological deterioration seen in Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, a higher intake of vitamin C and vitamin E can slow the progression of dementia that is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Evidence confirms that copper deficiency contributes to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Share with us your experience with the role micronutrients have played in neurology disorders with your patient population! Do you have a particular success?