Some natural remedies may have potential to help people manage diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Options include vitamins, capsaicin, acupuncture, and meditation.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. It affects nerves and can cause symptoms such as pain, tingling, and numbness in the extremities. Neuropathy arises due to prolonged high blood sugar levels, which can damage nerves throughout the body.

Treatment for diabetic neuropathy can include medications and blood sugar management. However, some evidence suggests that natural remedies may also be beneficial for some people.

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Vitamin supplements may help prevent peripheral neuropathy. Some vitamins may also help relieve symptoms in people who are already living with the condition. The following vitamins may be able to help:

Vitamin B

Vitamin B complex, which includes vitamins B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin), plays a crucial role in nerve health. There is a link between B vitamin deficiency and the occurrence of peripheral neuropathy.

A 2022 research review suggests that B vitamin supplements may help improve symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. A person can also consider increasing the vitamin B in their diet by consuming whole grains, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.

Learn more about B-complex vitamins.

Vitamin D

As with vitamin B, researchers have identified a link between vitamin D deficiency and peripheral neuropathy. Vitamin D supplements may help relieve pain that can occur with neuropathy. Sun exposure also helps the body naturally produce vitamin D.

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and is the compound responsible for their heat. Some evidence suggests that capsaicin may relieve neuropathic pain. Capsaicin is available as a topical cream that a person can apply to the affected area.

Capsaicin creams work by reducing levels of substance P, a neurotransmitter involved in pain perception.

It is important to start with a low concentration to avoid irritation. A person may also need to use capsaicin products regularly to obtain maximum effectiveness.

Another possible way to relieve the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy is to take a warm bath.

Soaking in warm water may help improve blood circulation and relax the muscles, which can provide relief from pain and discomfort. Adding Epsom salts to the bath may enhance the therapeutic effects.

However, people with diabetes should be cautious about water temperature to prevent burns. Reduced sensitivity to heat is a common issue in neuropathy.

Learn more about Epsom salts and diabetes.

There is limited research to support the use of essential oils in managing neuropathic pain.

Nonetheless, some people find that massaging the affected areas with diluted oils such as lavender, chamomile, and peppermint oil can promote relaxation and help relieve pain.

Learn more about essential oils for diabetes and neuropathy.

Mind-body practices such as meditation may help manage the stress and anxiety that people may experience when living with diabetic neuropathy.

Older research suggests that stress and anxiety can worsen symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Meditation techniques, such as mindfulness and deep breathing, can promote relaxation and improve overall well-being.

A 2020 study also suggests that meditation can help relieve neuropathic pain and that progressive muscle relaxation may reduce fatigue in people with type 2 diabetes.

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese healing practice, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow.

A 2021 review suggests that acupuncture may help reduce neuropathic pain by influencing the nervous system and promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers.

While more research is necessary, some people with diabetic neuropathy may gain positive outcomes from acupuncture treatments.

Learn more about acupuncture for diabetes.

In addition to natural remedies, a person living with neuropathy may need various medications to manage their condition. These may include pain relievers for the physical aspects of neuropathy and other medications for nausea and vomiting.

Learn more about medications for diabetic neuropathy.

In some cases, a person living with diabetic neuropathy may need surgery. For example, a 2023 study suggests that decompression microsurgery may provide pain relief.

Diabetic neuropathy results from extended periods of high blood sugar, which can damage the blood vessels that supply the nerves in the body. Tips to help prevent diabetic neuropathy include:

  • Managing blood sugar levels: A person should try to keep their blood sugar levels as close as possible to their target range. Regular glucose monitoring, consistent medication use, and a healthy lifestyle can contribute to stable blood sugar levels.
  • Managing blood pressure: High blood pressure can worsen nerve damage. Regular blood pressure monitoring, healthy lifestyle habits, and medication can help a person manage their blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications.
  • Managing blood fat levels: Elevated levels of fats in the blood — particularly triglycerides — can contribute to nerve damage. A 2021 review suggests a correlation between increased triglycerides and the progression of diabetic neuropathy.
  • Regular exercise: Physical activity is crucial for overall health and can improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Suitable dietary pattern: Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet is fundamental in managing diabetes and preventing neuropathy.
  • Limiting alcoholic drinks: Females should consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day, and males should consume no more than two per day.
  • Quitting smoking, if applicable: Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing diabetic neuropathy.

Natural remedies may offer an alternative or complementary way to relieve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

Taking vitamins, using capsaicin topical cream, and taking warm baths are just a few of the natural methods a person may consider for pain relief. Additionally, practicing meditation may help improve mental well-being in those living with diabetic neuropathy.

A person should work closely with healthcare professionals when considering whether and how to incorporate natural remedies into their treatment plan.