Diabetic neuropathy—nerve pain—is one of the hardest conditions to treat.1 There’s no cure and doctors can only try to manage the symptoms.
And based on the feedback we received from our issue on it last week, it’s a common concern for our Health Watch readers. So it’s one we decided to address again…
Neuropathy can cause serious damage to your nerves before you know what’s happening. And it’s not just painful. It can be fatal.
If you have diabetes, including type 2, you can practically count on developing it. Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes develop neuropathy.2
What is this double-duty supplement?
It’s curcumin. That’s the substance that gives the spice turmeric its sunny yellow color. But it doesn’t just add a cheerful hue to curries and other dishes…
On top of its cancer and Alzheimer’s fighting properties, this compound is a potent pain reliever. It could even keep nerve pain from striking.
Earlier this year, researchers figured out one way it works to decrease nerve pain. It acts on certain markers of inflammation. Reducing these markers reduces pain.3
This yellow wonder is a superstar when it comes to fighting inflammation. Thousands of studies have shown that it can lower inflammation in more than 97 mechanisms in the body.4
This most recent study echoes the results of several others. One showed a decrease in inflammation markers and pain in mice in four weeks. The researchers said that the supplement can be used as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy.5
Another study showed that it helps improve the blood-sugar-lowering effect of insulin. This can protect against onset of nerve pain.6 Why? One of the risk factors is poor blood sugar control.
There aren’t many human studies. And we hope to soon see more. But from what we’ve seen, the results are promising. In one, the supplement improved the function of the lining of the blood vessels. It also reduced markers of oxidative stress and inflammation. Its effects were comparable to those of a common drug.7 But unlike most drugs, there aren’t any serious dangers. In human studies, side effects have mostly related to stomach upset.8
A typical dose ranges from 500 to 1,000 mg. Look for a supplement that is standardized to a high percentage of curcuminoids.
And if you really want to kick its effects into high gear… Curcumin is better absorbed when taken with black pepper (piperine). Cook both together or take the supplements at the same time.
4 Rakel, D. (2012). Integrative medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.