Thursday, October 8, 2009

B-Complex Vitamins Improve Neuropathy

Neuropathy is the poor functioning of nerves and can lead to significant abnormalities in the feet and legs including: 

- My feet are numb and may even feel dead.
- I don't feel pain in my feet, even when I have an injury.
- I can't feel my feet when I'm walking, and may trip periodically.
- I have trouble feeling heat or cold in my feet or hands.
- My feet are usually tingling.
- I feel "pins and needles" in my feet, like they are trying to wake up.
- I have burning, stabbing, shooting or electrical shock pains in my feet.
- My feet are very sensitive to touch.  It hurts to have the feet touched, even from a bed sheet.
- Sometimes I feel like I have leather on my foot, or like I have gloves or socks on when I don't.
- My feet hurt significantly at night and keep me awake.

Although diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy in the United States, neuropathy can present in many individuals without diabetes.  In both cases, nerve functioning may be damaged by decreased blood flow to the nerves or even damaging of the nerves.  As with many natural conditions, there is a natural substance that can improve these symptoms and improve nerve fuctioning.  No longer is neuropathy (diabetic or not) a condition that you need to continue with.

The most common natural substances to improve neuropathy is B complex vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B6, B12 and folic acid.  Many of the over-the-counter vitamins that contain these products, however, are in a form that are not as easily absorbed or utilized by the body.  In our research, we have found two products that provide the vitamins in a form that are beneficial and easily utilized by the body.

1. Metanx - A prescription item that contains L-methoylfolate, Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate and Methylcobalamin (all natural forms of folic acid, B6 and B12 respectively).  These products work together to produce increased blood flow to the nerves and assist in nerve repair.  Many people are finding not just decreased symptoms but improvment of the neuropathy over time.  It should be utilized, however, for at least 4-6 months to ensure it has time to repair the nerves.

2. Neuremedy - A over-the-counter item that contains a form of B1 (benfotiamine) that is absorbed and modified by the body to the active form of B1 (thiamine).  Most forms of this vitamin fail to be absorbed in the body, but the benfotiamine of Neuremedy is easily absorbed and utilized by the body.  It has been shown to nourish dysfunctional nerves and allow them to conduct impulses more normally.  It has been utilized since the early 1960s in Europe and Asia on thousands of patients. 

So, neuropathy although a common problem doesn't need to continue to cause problems in your life.  It can be treated often very effectively through the use of one of these two options.

Dr Brandt R Gibson
Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute
36 North 1100 East, Suite B
American Fork, UT 84003


  1. iam currently on metanx. i was actually in a mall walking with no pain. iam on my computer with no pain. from your blog i had learned about this and to my surprise, my endo put me on it once it was confimed that i had per. neuropathy. thank you doc

  2. I am curious if my neuro would prescribe Metanx for idiopathic PN?

    I currently use the New Chapter B Complex which is cultured as opposed to synthesized. I am curious of your thoughts on that, doctor!

  3. The key to whether B Complex vitamins work are how well they are absorbed into the body. One of the advantages of Metanx over some other B Complex formulations is the ease at which the body absorbs it. In fact, the B12, B6 and Folic Acid are formulated to work together to improve the nerves. This may not be possible in other other vitamin formulations.

    This is definitely becoming a more commmonly prescribed "medical food" for peripheral neuropathy.

  4. I was recently told by my neu that I have idopathic neuropathy...feet are on fire a few hours a day...mostly the afternoon and early evening..this happens wheather I am on my feet or sitting at my desk...Tomorrow I go back to my foot doc and hope to be put on Metanx...had two plugs from my feet pulled last week and get the results tomorrow and hope to get some medication..

    Can anyone tell me about their results from Metanx for idiopathtic neurophaty...

    I know I cant spell these words so dont think to bad of me...

    Terry T.

  5. Many pharmacies are automatically substituting other products for Metanx (previously Folast and now Neurpath-B), touting them as being generically equivalent to Metanx, which is causing problems for many patients. Metanx is manufactured by Pamlab. The touted substitutes are manufactured by Acella Pharmaceuticals. Pamlab has already brought lawsuit against Acella Pharmaceuticals to try and stop these substitutions. The Metanx website (as confirmed by various other medical sources) contains information regarding serious concerns with the integrity, stability, and safety of the active ingredient XOLAFIN-B (L-methylfolate calcium) found in Acella Pharmaceuticals products (Folast AND Neurpath-B). The word out there is that there is NO truly generic equivalent for Metanx.

    As a Type II diabetic, with neuropathy problems, my husband has been prescribed Metanx for his condition. Starting a couple of years ago, his prescription initiated with Metanx in brand name form because that was the only form available at that time. He experienced improvements during the time he used Metanx and had no problems with the brand name form. Some months ago, when it came time to reorder his prescription, our pharmacy automatically substituted "Folast" which we were certainly willing to try as a cost-cutting measure. However, my husband did NOT find Folast to be as effective for his condition as the Metanx was, and he developed a severe skin rash (allergic reaction) that surfaced concurrently with his last refill of Folast. We cannot know for sure if there was any direct correlation between Folast and the allergic reaction, but there have been enough valid questions raised about the integrity of BOTH Folast and Neurpath-B, that my husband and his doctor have concluded it is NOT in his best interest to take either of those products as substitutes for Metanx. The doctor is now noting my husband's Metanx prescriptions as "Name Brand ONLY; dispense as written."