If you have a pinched nerve, then you most likely feel it. The decreased nerve function brought on by a pinched nerve can result in pain, tingling and numbness and can even impair function or result in further injury. A pinched nerve can happen due to decreased blood supply to that area, from your muscles compressing on that region, from the fallout of osteoarthritis or other reasons.
Fortunately, nutrition can offer some relief from pinched nerves. Here are some nutrients to consider:
Omega-3 fatty acids: A study published in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia indicates that, in an animal study, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids decreased sciatic pain more effectively than a diet containing much lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. That makes sense, too, since omega-3s are known for supporting healthy inflammation levels. The study results pointed towards the conclusion that the type of oil in your diet may either help or hinder your progress from a pinched nerve, although further research needs to be done.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is essential for proper nervous system function, and may help to protect and rejuvenate nerve endings in the skin, brain and other areas of the body. Vitamin B6 also supports healthy inflammation levels in the body. Maintaining adequate amounts of vitamin B6 may combat nerve pain by its positive effects on unhealthy inflammation. Interestingly, when the body has unhealthy inflammation, the need for vitamin B6 is increased—and since B vitamins are water soluble, it’s important to replenish their stores daily.
Vitamin B12: Similar to vitamin B6’s functions, vitamin B12 is also essential for maintaining proper nervous system health, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin B12 is thought to halt nerve damage and to restore nerve health. It also is involved in the production of acetylcholine, which aids in the transmission of information from nerve endings to the brain.
Vitamin B1: Another B vitamin, vitamin B1, is not only necessary for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, the forming of red blood cells and for proper digestion, but it’s also needed for the repair of nerve damage and for protecting nerve endings from free radical damage and toxins.
Minerals and other alkalizing nutrients: The Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology published a study saying that using supplements that increase alkalinity in the body may help the pain from a pinched nerve. Participants in the study took 30 grams a day of a multimineral supplements and had a 49 percent decrease in low-back pain resulting from pinched nerves in the spine or lower-back area. That same mulitmineral supplement also increased blood alkalinity and magnesium levels in tissues. The researchers determined that an improper acid/alkaline balance can lead to the feelings of low-back pain and that, for some people, mineral supplements are safe and effective methods for combating the effects of low-back nerve pain.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA): The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid and the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) help to curb nerve pain that is associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, says a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. Study participants took 600mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid combined with 360mg per day of GLA for 90 days—with results showing significant reduction in pain as well as improved function.
So, if you’re feeling the pinch, then you may want to give these nutrients a try.