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Alpha-Lipoic Acid May Help Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

This potent antioxidant, also called thioctic acid, clears so-called free radicals from the body, potentially reducing nerve damage. In Germany it is used to treat nerve pain and damage from diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid given orally or intravenously (600-1,200 milligrams per day) seems to be effective at reducing nerve pain in people with diabetes. For some people, it may help reduce the symptoms of burning, numbness, and prickling in the feet.  

"Studies are mixed as to whether alpha-lipoic actually reverses any nerve damage," McLaughlin says.  

No major diabetes treatment group has yet endorsed alpha-lipoic acid.

The Most Effective Treatment for Nerve Pain: Keep at It

Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to provide solid guidance on some of the alternative treatments for diabetic neuropathy pain. But don't let that make you avoid self-care altogether.

"Most people with painful diabetic neuropathy need a combination of both medicines and self-care strategies," says Kinsella. Try low-risk, low-cost options for home care first. And if you're considering supplements, remember that all supplements can have side effects, so tell your doctor about any new treatment you want to try.

Understanding Nerve Pain

See the common causes, symptoms, and treatments.
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