Question: I am scheduled for surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome in March. Is there anything natural that can help between now and then?
Answer: Carpal tunnel syndrome is irritation of the median nerve in the arm where it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and results in numbness, tingling, pain and weakness. It typically affects the thumb, index and middle finger.
I have found that sufferers have lower levels of pyridoxal-5-phosphate in their red blood cells. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate is the active form of pyridoxine hydrochloride or vitamin B6. Supplementing with this active form of B6 is capable of improving carpal tunnel syndrome even to the point of avoiding surgery. It is not expensive and harmless at the prescribed dose. It is an important nutrient for the nervous system for other types of neuropathy, cognition and mood. P5P is also used in energy production, hormone metabolism and immune function so a person gets added value.
Question: I have MS, which is pretty well controlled so far. But I am only 38 so I want to do all I can. Is there anything naturopathic that you advise taking?
Answer: For those who don’t know, MS or multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord where the myelin or fatty sheath or myelin around the nerve is damaged affecting communication between nerve cells causing a range of neurological symptoms with varying degree of severity.
Yes, there are several things to look into with an ND and MD. But I will mention the most important in my experience.
High doses of vitamin D (4000 iu) can be helpful and maybe higher, depending on what blood levels reveal as you want to be around 150 for vitamin D.
High doses of methyl B12, (30-60 times higher than normal supplementation but should be done with supervision even though no adverse effects have been reported) have shown impressive potential, including improvements in symptoms and on MRI.
Some people are familiar with and receive B12 injections. Methylcobalamin or methyl B12 is superior to cyano- or hydroxycobalamin because it is already methylated by the liver into a more active form. Vitamin B12 is water soluble so it would be next to impossible for the body to produce such high levels of methyl B12. This is relevant to standard B12 deficiency discovered with a simple blood test, so make sure you are tested.
Dosing with methyl B12 can be done orally or with frequent injections under the supervision of an ND. Methyl B12 has also shown effectiveness in treating peripheral neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, post herpetic neuralgia, Bell’s Palsy and Guillan-Barre syndrome.
For MS, I would also suggest being screened for heavy metal toxicity via urine and hair analysis. Mercury in particular can cause demyelination
Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practices in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of your healthcare professional. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org