Dear Pharmacist,

I have neuropathies all over my body, it feels like pins and needles. I take pain medications. Is there anything natural I can do or take?

—G.D. Seattle, Colorado

Answer: Neuropathy may cause more than the discomfort you describe. It can also cause pain, weakness, dizziness when standing up, burning sensations (even in the tongue), shooting pain, trigeminal neuralgia, tingling, numbness, cystitis, urinary urgency, and vibration/buzzing sensations. In men, erectile dysfunction is possible.

Recognizing that your neuropathy is related to another disorder is huge. If you treat the neuropathy as a disease in and of itself, then you miss the big picture, and the opportunity to cure yourself. Neuropathy is a symptom of post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles), high insulin, diabetes, gluten sensitivity or Celiac, heavy metal toxicity, autoimmune disorders, Lyme disease and medications. A little known fact is that medications can mug your body of nutrients that would otherwise protect your nerves, so neuropathy pain is a side effect. The list of drugs that can indirectly do this goes is in the hundreds and some classic 'offenders' include antacids, acid blockers, oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, corticosteroids, statin cholesterol reducers, breast cancer drugs and fluoroquinolone antibiotics. That last class of drugs, the fluoroquinolones (Cipro, Floxin, Avelox, Levaquin) have a fluoride backbone. Fluoride is known to harm the thyroid gland, reduce thyroid production and cause irreversible damage to the nervous system.

One solution for neuropathies is to reduce insulin and blood sugar. My book, Diabetes Without Drugs offers natural remedies to help. I'd get off medications that cause neuropathies (with physician approval) and simultaneously get on medications that support nerve growth. Thyroid medications, specifically "T3" and/or growth hormone shots can help.

If your doctor approves and supervises you, you could take a few of the following supplements. It's all trial and error, I don't know what's right for you:

Thiamine- A glass of wine every night can steal nerve-protective nutrients like vitamin B1 (thiamine). You can also try benfotiamine, a fat-soluble form of thiamine.

Probiotics- Sounds strange, but here's a connection: Probiotics allow you to make methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) which you need to produce myelin and protect the nerve cells.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website, SuzyCohen.com

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)