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Olympia Chiropractor | Olympia chiropractic care | WA | Nutritional Support for the Nerves

Logo_With_Color.jpgMark W. Bryan, D.C.

Diplomate, American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists 

2815 Yelm Highway, Southeast
Olympia, WA 98501


Nutritional Support for the Nerves

Nutritional Support for the Nerves:

By:  Dr. Lynn Toohey 

I am commonly asked about what specific nutrients offer the best support for the nerves and the nervous system.  There are many that can be helpful.  The combinations that I recommend have been compiled from the research in this area.  One particular area of focus is Resveratrol, the agent in red wine that has gotten so much press in the anti-aging arena, and yet, many scientists are discovering the potent properties that Resveratrol exhibits in other areas as well, especially when it comes to nutritional nerve support.


Referred to as a “good candidate for treatment of metabolic neuropathy” by researchers who published data in Neuroscience Letter (2010 Aug 16;480(2):117-21), resveratrol has made the news for neuronal support.  Additionally, resveratrol was called “neuroprotective” by Albani, D, et al., who published an article entitled, “Neuroprotective properties of resveratrol in different neurodegenerative disorders. Biofactors” (2010 Sep;36(5):370-6).


The natural phytocompound resveratrol has been considered for many years a potential anticancer drug, but recently it has come to the attention of neuroscientists too, as it displays neuroprotective actions and activates the sirtuins' family member SIRT?. SIRT? is involved in several physiologic and pathologic processes including apoptosis, autophagy, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegeneration.  Resveratrol has neuroprotective features both in vitro and in vivo in models of Alzheimer's disease, but it has proved to be beneficial also in ischemic stroke, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and epilepsy. Here, we summarize the in vitro and in vivo experimental results highlighting the possible role of resveratrol as a neuroprotective biofactor with a particular focus on Alzheimer's disease.”


Breaking News:

Quite recently, an exciting article in Medical Hypotheses appeared (September of this year), entitled, “Resveratrol may be beneficial in treatment of diabetic foot syndrome” (Bashmakov YK, et al. Med Hypotheses. 2011 Sep;77(3):364-7).  In this article, scientists hypothesize that “resveratrol treatment and subsequent activation of SIRT1 pathway might be highly beneficial for patients with diabetic foot syndrome, a late-stage complication of type 2 diabetes which originates from interplay among impaired tissue regeneration, vasculopathy, neuropathy and inflammation all on the background of insulin resistance.  This prediction is based on multiple lines of evidence implicating resveratrol and sirtuins in restoration of insulin sensitivity, microcirculation, and tissue regeneration, function of peripheral nerves and production of cytokines”.

Researchers then call for more clinical trials to be conducted in this highly promising area.

Fish Oil:

Fish oil is another consideration for nutritive support.  An amazing review article published just last month reported that the signaling influence of the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in fish oil has widespread effects on the nervous system.  The abstract summarizes key roles that omega 3’s play in the powerful support of various organ systems, especially where neurodegeneration is a concern.

(Bazan NG, et al. Docosahexaenoic Acid signalolipidomics in nutrition: significance in aging, neuroinflammation, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Annu Rev Nutr. 2011 Aug 21;31:321-51.)


Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are critical nutritional lipids that must be obtained from the diet to sustain homeostasis. Omega-3 and -6 PUFAs are key components of biomembranes and play important roles in cell integrity, development, maintenance, and function. The essential omega-3 fatty acid family member docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is avidly retained and uniquely concentrated in the nervous system, particularly in photoreceptors and synaptic membranes. DHA plays a key role in vision, neuroprotection, successful aging, memory, and other functions. In addition, DHA displays anti-inflammatory and inflammatory resolving properties in contrast to the proinflammatory actions of several members of the omega-6 PUFAs family. This review discusses DHA signalolipidomics, comprising the cellular/tissue organization of DHA uptake, its distribution among cellular compartments, the organization and function of membrane domains rich in DHA-containing phospholipids, and the cellular and molecular events revealed by the uncovering of signaling pathways regulated by DHA and docosanoids, the DHA-derived bioactive lipids, which include neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), a novel DHA-derived stereoselective mediator. NPD1 synthesis agonists include neurotrophins and oxidative stress; NPD1 elicits potent anti-inflammatory actions and prohomeostatic bioactivity, is anti-angiogenic, promotes corneal nerve regeneration, and induces cell survival. In the context of DHA signalolipidomics, this review highlights aging and the evolving studies on the significance of DHA in Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, Parkinson's disease, and other brain disorders”.


Another Case of Fish Oil Support:

Omura reports successful resolution in many cases, utilizing the powerful effects of the EPA and DHA fatty acids in fish oil.  He notes, in “Treatment of acute or chronic severe, intractable pain and other intractable medical problems associated with unrecognized viral or bacterial infection: Part I”, that when peripheral nerve fibers are hypersensitive from nerve injury due to viral infection, “use of Vitamin B1 25 mg., 2 times a day for an average adult often accelerates recovery time. As an anti-viral agent for the herpes virus family, the author found that EPA (Omega 3 fish oil, Eicosapentaenoic Acid, C20:5 omega 3), at doses between 180 mg. and 350 mg (depending upon body weight) 4 times a day for 2 to 6 weeks, without prescribing the common anti-viral agent Acyclovir, often eliminated the symptoms due to viral infection including all well-known types of the herpes virus, such as herpes simplex virus, Epstein-Barr virus, and cytomegalovirus. (Omura Y. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1990;15(1):51-69.)


Synergistic Support for the Nerves:

There are several other nutrients that have made the news for their support of the nervous system, and a few are presented here, for a synergistic effect that maximizes the various mechanisms by which they all work.

Curcumin’s overall effect on neuroglial cells has been described as “decreased astrocyte proliferation, improved myelogenesis (growth of new myelin sheaths around the nerve bundle), and increased activity and differentiation of oligodendrocytes”.

(Ambegaokar et al. Neuro Endocrinol Lett 2003;24:469-73.)

Sulforaphane is found in high concentration in broccoli sprouts.  The Journal of Neuroscience reported that it activated an antioxidant response and “conditions neurons against oxidative insult (Neurosci. 24 (2004) 1101–1112.) Several sources confirm that sulforaphane protects the brain and brain neurons. (Brain Res. 2010 Jul 9;1343:178-85).

Garlic is a potent antioxidant.  The Journal of Neuroscience reported that an ingredient in garlic enhances the antioxidant system responsible for protecting against neuronal loss.

(J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 21;27(47):12808-16. Methionine sulfoxide reductase A and a dietary supplement S-methyl-L-cysteine prevent Parkinson's-like symptoms. Wassef R, et al.)  

Ginkgo Biloba has been called a “neuroprotector”, and the action of protection is described as the ability of ginkgo to detoxify, act as an antioxidant, and normalize energy transfer in brain neurons. (Head KA, Altern Med Rev, 2006; 11(4): 294-329.)

Quercetin “contributes significantly to the protective effects on neuronal cells from oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity”. (Filomeni, G et al. Neurobiol Aging. 2010 Jun 29.)

Niacin is one of the nutrients that provides mitochondrial support and conserves growth factor receptors, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (made from niacin) has proven to be of clinical benefit in dementias and nerve disorders.

(Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management,” Kidd PM, Altern Med Rev., 2005; 10(4): 268-293).

Chromium supports nerve growth and has also been reported to beone of the most researched nutritional supplements in conjunction with peripheral neuropathy”

(Peripheral neuropathy: pathogenic mechanisms and alternative therapies," Head KA, Altern Med Rev, 2006; 11(4): 294-329.)

In summary, there are many nutrients that have been studied for nerve support, and exciting research is coming out all the time that supports their use.  The nutraceutical research in this area is proving to be a constant wonder.

By Dr. Lynn Toohey


Olympia Chiropractor | Nutritional Support for the Nerves. Dr. Mark Bryan is a Olympia Chiropractor.