Nerve pain (neuropathy) can be excruciating, and the medications doctors prescribe to alleviate the pain don’t always help a great deal. However, alternative medications such as alpha-lipoic acid can sometimes be helpful. One reader relates a client’s experience.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid for Neuropathy in Feet:
Q. One of my massage clients had terrible pain and sensitivity in his feet after playing a lot of volleyball. His doctor prescribed Neurontin for neuropathy. After he took hundreds of Neurontin pills without results, I suggested alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and a chiropractor to check the alignment of bones in his feet. His physician said that ALA was a good idea since he takes 300 mg daily himself.
My client was outraged that the doctor never recommended ALA for him. Instead, his massage therapist had to recommend it. He was to take 200 mg per day to start. In addition to the chiropractic treatments, this led to improvement. When I remember that giant bottle of Neurontin, I just cringe.
Treating Neuropathy with Alpha-Lipoic Acid:
A. Neuropathy (nerve pain) is notoriously difficult to treat. Physicians frequently prescribe gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica) for this condition with mixed results.
Alpha-lipoic acid has been studied and found beneficial for alleviating diabetic neuropathy (European Journal of Endocrinology, Oct. 2012; Current Medical Research and Opinion, Aug. 17, 2018). Researchers hypothesize that its pain-relieving effects are related to its antioxidant activity (Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Apr. 10, 2018).
A review of medical research found that nutraceuticals including vitamin B complex, alpha-lipoic acid, L-acetylcarnitine, vitamin E and Coenzyme Q may alleviate the pain of neuropathy (Current Drug Metabolism, 2018). The supplements should be taken half an hour before meals to ensure good absorption.