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Vitamin B Complex for Diabetic Nerve Damage?

Are B complex vitamins effective for remedies for diabetic nerve damage?

Nerve damage due to diabetes or diabetic polyneuropathy presents with different types and symptoms. It may be painful but often presents with numbness. This is common, occurring in as much as 50 percent of diabetics, and is usually associated with poor glucose control. Majority of patients are prescribed a regimen of Vitamin B complex preparations for long periods of time.

Many diabetics in our country do not receive enough dietary sources of Vitamin B, producing a significant deficiency especially in the elderly. Many are also taking other medications like antituberculosis drugs that compete with the absorption of and even deplete the body of this essential Vitamin B Complex. As a result there is worsening of the neuropathy primarily due _to the diabetes and aggravated by the B vitamin deficiency.

We doctors should however be careful when prescribing very high doses for a very long time. Also, patients should not self-medicate nor take this without supervision. Even if it is water soluble, toxicity does develop and can cause in itself a toxic polyneuropathy.

The primary cause of diabetic polyneuropathy is still not well-understood and a lot of experimental treatments like nerve growth factors are being studied. Vitamin B supplementation in modest doses help in preventing deficiency-induced neuropathies, but intensive and good glucose control has been proven to lower the incidence and severity of diabetic polyneuropathy.

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