Healing nerve damage
30 Natural Ways to Heal Nerve Damage and Spinal Cord Injuries
Some of these things (as you will read) have gotten real results. No general guarantees here, but I would say chronic spinal cord injuries and nerve damage cases are far away from being hopeless. I am actually very optimistic in general about the potential results. There would potentially be a lot of trial and error (and unfortunately money), but the main thing is, you can pretty much do most of these without risk of harm. It really just depends on how far a person is willing to go to potentially solve a problem. This article is for the more motivated types. Also, a lot of these things may be applicable to hearing and vision loss.
And in no particular order:
This is a supplement by a stem cell specialist named Dr. David Steenblock. It contains ingredients claimed to significantly increase the number and activity of circulating stem cells in the body. Perhaps the most notable ingredient in this formula is deer antler powder. Deer antler regeneration may be stem cell based. It also contains numerous growth factors, including IGF-1. which is associated with accelerating nerve regeneration
Here is their website .
(an alternative may be a commercially available IgF-1 Lipsomal Spray containing deer velvet antler)
This is another supplement that has some clinical studies that show it does in fact increase the number of circulating stem cells. Its main ingredient is a specific probiotic that triggers the release of bone marrow stem cells.
Here is their site.
I also dug up this coupon code for the product, though I do not know if it is still good. It is “DF503”.
Update: 2/18/11: There is another one I hard about called StemPlex. And another one (that has some questionable ethics) called StemEnhance. Perhaps taking a combination of these products that have totally different main ingredients would be synergistic.
3. Human Stem Cell therapies
This site has some info on human stem cell therapies.
This page has an anecdote of human stem cells being used to treat spinal cord injuries
This site quotes the following::
“Over 5,000 cord blood transfusions, frequently in children with leukemia, have been successfully performed throughout the world with little or no side effects since 1988…”
“…A normal placenta and umbilical cord contains about 300,000 stem cells…”
Off the top of my head, I have met 3 people who have done human stem cell treatments. None of them are dead yet. Of course, many more people than that have done human stem cell therapies. I have not looked extremely hard, but have not found a negative result yet.
Most doctors that do human stem cell therapies are extracting bone marrow from the patient’s hip with a needle. Then they feed the bone marrow (rich in stem cells) back to the patient intravenously. That is an entire treatment. I think it can cost like $4,000 a treatment, and multiple treatments are usually needed. It is legal to do as long as you are not actually manipulating the stem cells while they are outside of the body. If you just put them back into the body without manipulating them, it is legal.
Here is a 2 part video of a talk by Dr. Steenblock:
Update 1/5/2011. I was interested to learn today, that Dr. Hauser, who is the world leader in prolotherapy, is promoting bone marrow and stem cell prolotherapy. This is different from other doctors in that, he recommends getting the bone marrow from the tibia instead of the hip, and it is injected at a local site of injury instead of given intravenously. I wonder if this can perhaps be applied directly to a spinal cord injury.
4. Frequency Specific Microcurrent
In the 1930’s devices that delivered tiny amounts of current to injured parts of the body were claimed to be common. Then supposedly they were made illegal for a while, and by the time people seriously picked it up again in the 1990’s, no one had first-hand knowledge of where the specific frequencies used to treat different conditions came from. Listings of frequencies by condition were just faithfully taken up by a few doctors, and since then, there has been significant anecdotal success of a few hundred doctors with regards to healing all sorts of injuries and pain-related conditions using these frequencies. Published testimonials are hard to come by, but this therapy was suggested to me by an alternative physician as a good starting place if trying to heal nerve damage.
5. Insulin Potentiation Therapy
This therapy has some historical cases of reversing damage and paralysis due to stroke. Among other things. IPT is a therapy specifically used to increase cellular permeability, and increase CNS penetration of drugs simultaneously administered with insulin.
Chris Duffield speculates on the use of IPT for CNS injuries.
“And finally, consider insulin’s many roles that may be relevant here: stimulating and balancing immune function, stimulating revascularization, stimulating neuron and oligodendrocyte growth, reducing cell death, stimulating myelination and re-myelination of neurons, stimulating differentiation (and possibly proliferation) of neural stem cells, helping keep harvested organs alive for transplantation, increasing permeability and transport of nutrients and wastes across cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. These read like a wish list for CNS injury scientists!”
An incidental effect of IPT, is that even without a concurrent drug(s), insulin itself may have significant healing effects on the CNS. That, in conjunction with the potential to give numerous potentially healing agents at the same time, makes IPT a very promising option for spinal cord injuries and nerve damage.
This study says insulin heals wounds.
There is significant evidence that immediately receiving intravenous dimethylsulfoxide right after an injury can improve recovery. There is a case of a quadriplegic being completely cured when given IV DMSO soon after the injury. I don’t know of any DMSO successes for an injury that is not recent. However, the stuff is generally harmless to rub all over your body (as long as your skin is clean). You can get a gallon of 99% DMSO from any horse farm. I would try slowly increasing the amount of DMSO rubbed over an area of nerve damage. It may also have potential to carry nutrients transdermally to the spinal cord if you mix them in with the DMSO. Here are some studies that talk about how DMSO might help in acute spinal cord injuries:
I remember one anecdote somewhere of person who got uncomfortable tingling as a result of rubbing DMSO on a chronic spinal cord injury. He wasn’t sure if it was a good sign or a bad sign and gave it up. I can’t remember where I read that though.
7. Omental Transposition
This is an operational procedure that you can read about here.
“The omentum, an apron of fat that lies over the intestines in the lower abdomen, is a remnant of the embryonic membrane and yolk sac. It is extremely rich in nutrients, growth factors, and other substances that facilitate increased blood supply and stimulate growth and healing. This surgery has been demonstrated in animal studies to significantly increase blood flow to injured areas, as well as functional regeneration of the nerves.
Harry Goldsmith, M.D. has pioneered a surgical technique freeing the omentum from the abdominal cavity and, with its blood supply intact, laying it over injured areas in the spinal cord or brain. His results have been dramatic and certainly lay to rest the belief that after a spinal cord injury, no significant return of function is possible.”
8. Ozone Injections
There are some doctors that inject ozone gas into the spinal column. Many doctors however inject steroids into the spine, so the relative safety of getting a needle into the spine in that regard is surely acceptable. Few doctors use medical ozone, but it can be really great. The concentration of ozone is measured in a unit called “gammas” (micrograms of ozone per milliliter of oxygen). The most well known use of ozone is intravenously in “ozone autohemotherapy”. This treatment takes blood out of your body, mixes an ozone and oxygen mixture into the blood, then puts the blood back in through IV drip. A typical treatment may use perhaps 200cc of say a 30 gamma solution of ozone. This has many benefits, most notably for treating infectious and cardiovascular diseases.
I know of one person who was basically blind in one eye. He had said he previously could see only a 15 degree cone of light in that eye. Then he had an ozone injection underneath his eyeball. I believe it was 1cc of a 1 gamma solution of ozone if I remember right. After a week, he could make out shapes and recognize people within an 80 degree cone in that eye. I don’t know if he kept getting that treatment or not. I assume regeneration of nerves and/or blood vessels would be the probable causes of the improvement. Perhaps this could work similarly in the spine, as long as you know the right concentration and volume. Perhaps the oxygen (solvent) itself has healing activity. The stuff stings terribly for a minute when injected into soft tissue, so local anesthetic is required in those cases. This would need to be kept in mind when devising a treatment method for the spine.
Like prolotherapy. prolozone (prolotherapy injections using ozone as the proliferant) also has a record of regenerating meniscus, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Perhaps also platelet rich plasma (another form of prolotherapy) could also be directly applied to spinal cord injuries.
A study shows that chitosan (a modified form of chitin, one of the most common sugars that is found in crustacean shells) can rapidly heal spinal cord injuries in animal models
“Borgens is extremely excited by this discovery that chitosan is able to locate and repair damaged spinal cord tissue and is even more enthusiastic by the prospect that nanoparticles of chitosan could also target delivery of neuroprotective drugs directly to the site of injury ‘giving us a dual bang for our buck,’ says Borgens.”
It appears the chitosan is able to locate the site of injury. Chitosan is available as a supplement, and I would not hesitate to swallow these over-the-counter capsules.
10. Plant Stem Cells
Stem cells can also be harvested from plants. They are a relatively new therapy (at least in the US), but more and more alternative practitioners are starting to use them. PSC is one of the leading companies that sell plant stem cell supplements. They only sell their products with a referall from a health care professional. Aside from the wide ranging benefits of the stem cells themselves, plant stem cells also contain the same phytochemicals that are present in their respective adult plants, but in much higher concentrations. From what I have heard, plant stem cells work far more effectively than adult herbs. This is an apparently safe and noninvasive treatment that may provide similar benefits as human stem cell therapies (in addition to the respective benefits of each herb)…but only to a small degree. PSCs are not really an abundant source of stem cells, but more like “super herbs”.
11. Liposomal Resveratrol
Resveratrol has demonstrated pretreatment ability and acute treatment ability in spinal cord injuries. Though there is no proof it can treat chronic injuries, it is however safe, cheap, and good for just about every disease on the planet anyway. Here are some studies on resveratrol and spinal cord injuries:
Resveratrol is available in a liposomal form (see number 20).
And I will just dump astaxanthin in here also…it is another fat-soluble antioxidant that is believed to have good access to the CNS. And it is cheap. Get the kind extracted from algae and not the synthetic kind.
If the benefit from resveratrol is largely from its antioxidant capacity, then Seanol may be a better option. Some alternative physicians think it is one of the best overall antioxidant supplements available. It has application in reversing damage from a variety of diseases. It has a very long active life in the body, and is highly fat soluble, allowing a significant amount to cross the blood brain barrier.
There are some anecdotes involving coma, cerebral palsy, post-stroke syndrome, and multiple sclerosis that hint that octacosanol may play a role in the regeneration of nerves. It is derived from food sources, and is available as a nutritional supplement.
14. Liposomal Folate
A recent study shows that spinal cord injuries in rats can be healed with folate. The optimum dose was 80mcg/kg of body weight, which resulted in a tenfold increase in axonal regeneration.
I think liposomal folate is probably available as an ingredient in some combination liposomal B vitamin supplements (see number 20). Some people don’t respond well to folate due to genetic reasons. It this happens, Folapro may be a better option.
15. Lion’s Mane
“A class of compounds in the mushroom Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceum) can induce production of nerve growth factor (NGF). This protein has the ability to regrow neurons, maintain them, and organize them functionally.
Lion’s mane has non-polar compounds called erinacines. Non-polar molecules can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. And research shows that these molecules stimulate NGF in cultured astrocytes (non-neuronal brain cells).
Researchers did a study in Japan on 50 patients. All were elderly and suffered from various neurodegenerative diseases, diabetic neuropathy, spinal cord injury, etc. Seven of the patients also suffered from various dementias.
The researchers gave each patient five grams of dried Lion’s mane mushroom per day in their soup for six months. They evaluated them before and after the treatment period for their physical abilities for daily self-maintenance. Six of the seven demented patients had improvements in their perceptual capacities. All seven had improvements in
their ability to maintain themselves.
A more recent study followed 30 subjects between the ages of 50 and 80. All of them had mild cognitive impairment. Each of them took 1,000 mg of dry Lion’s mane powder in capsules three times daily for 16 weeks. During the intake period, their cognitive function increased! However, within four weeks after they stopped taking the supplement, they regressed. There were no adverse effects.”
Reference: Second Opinion Newsletter, Health Alert, April 30, 2010 .
16. Helichrysum Essential Oils
I was able to find at least 3 anecdotes of tinnitus cure. and 1 anecdote of improvement in hearing from this essential oil. This includes 1 case involving Meniere’s vertigo. Probable mechanisms may involve nerve regeneration. This oil could be applied over the site of the injury.
17. Silver Ionotophoresis
Dr. Robert Becker pioneered “silver ionotophoresis” for the regeneration of damaged tissue. Silver ionotophoresis involves running a current across a wounded area using a DC voltage and silver electrodes. The resultant silver ions are supposed to have several effects resulting in the generation of stem cells in the injured area, and subsequent healing of the wound. Take a look at the images in this patent. Perhaps most interesting are the before and after images of an amputated finger.
18. The ReBuilder
Update 3/29/2011: See the comment section with remarks from the actual inventor of the ReBuilder!
By sheer coincidence I learned about this product. Though it looks like a TENS device for the management of neuropathy, I think it may actually be a “silver ionotophoresis” device. They claim:
“The ReBuilder is different from other common TENS devices in that it analyzes in real time, the waveform that the nerves are responding with, and then creates a specific waveform to gently nudge the dysfunctional nerves back to full function. We have discovered in our research here in our own lab, that nerves communicate with each other like an FM radio. in an FM radio. Each station is looking for a specific frequency and waveform as a ‘carrier”. Then the data sent from the radio station is translated to music or voice. Similarly, your nerves expect to communicate with each other, your brain, and your muscles with specific frequencies and waveforms. The ReBuilder reads all this data from your nerves, determines the various deficiencies, creates a custom output signal, and does it all in real time, and it does this 7.83 times per second to give your nerves a chance to re-polarize and not become overloaded or go into fibrillation.”
What is very interesting is that:
“The ReBuilder was originally cleared by the FDA in 1987 and has been undergoing constant improvements ever since then. It was approved for Medicare and Insurance coverage in 2005. One such improvement was the addition of special circuitry to enable the ReBuilder to administer its healing signals via special, silver laced electrically conductive socks and gloves.”
And elsewhere they show that they at least know something about the medical uses of silver:
“ReBuilder Medical Technologies, Inc. (Pink Sheets: RBRM), announced that as a result of their success with silver ions in treating Molluscum Contagiosum it has expanded and reformulated those products specifically for the MRSA market.”
If I had to guess, I would say that this company sold their invention to the FDA and insurance companies as nothing more than a slightly different TENS device. Then, they immediately made the supposedly non-medical “improvement” of adding the silver laced socks and gloves. In other words, I would guess this is actually a commercial “silver ionotophoresis” device that they got covered by insurance without having to actually reveal the real method of action. If that is the case, then that is very clever. It is interesting to note that they claim the cumulative improvements are permanent. This indicates some actual type of healing.
Using this product as they suggest might be helpful. I wonder if using the electrical contacts (socks and gloves) across a damaged region of the spine would be useful (silver ionotophoresis). I also wonder how this therapy relates to FSM (see number 4).
19. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Dr. David Steenblock describes some of his cases using HBOT and “high altitude” simulation. They don’t involve spinal cords, but do indicate various cases of CNS healing.
“HBO increases the ATP levels in the mitochondria of the brain damaged tissues, followed by 30-60 minutes in a “high altitude simulator”. The change in barometric pressure then creates hypoxic stress. This stress “turns on” the body’s stress protection mechanisms, activating close to 700 different genes, which then produce many substances (e.g. hormones and enzymes) to repair the body. One substance produced has great potential as an anti-aging and detoxification remedy. This is called ubiquitin, pronounced- “you be quit in”. The name indicates that it is involved with the destruction or repair of abnormal and damaged cellular proteins of the type that result from aging, hypoxia (deficiency of oxygen) and toxins. Some of the other specific substances produced include – nerve growth factor, glial-derived growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and basic fibroblast growth factor – all of which regenerate tissue and thus facilitate healing.”
There are many articles on the use of HBOT mostly for acute spinal cord injuries. This article contains cases of using HBOT for chronic spinal cord injuries:
“In one case, a 39-year old male had sustained C6-7 injury from an auto accident and further developed a C6-T1 syringomyelia cyst. Several years after injury, he commenced daily HBO therapy and reported as a result the return of sensation in legs down to his toes, stomach, and back, as well as the return of knee reflexes.
The second case involved a 20-year-old female who had sustained a C5-6 injury from an auto accident. Before commencing HBO therapy, her improvement had been minimal. In addition to HBO treatment, she also received “assertive” physical therapy and electro-acupuncture, both of which have been shown to promote functional recovery. In a diary, she documented the incremental improvements she accrued over the course of 70 HBO pressurizations, which cumulatively were considerable, including improved bowel-and-bladder and respiratory function, circulation, pressure-sore healing, and sensation and motor control in extremities.”
This paper is a review of the literature on HBOT for spinal cord injuries
20. Liposomal Encapsulation
Like insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), liposomal encapsulation is a method of drug delivery. Drugs or supplements are coated in microscopic or nanoscopic spheres of phospholipids (fat). These spheres bypass the stomach acid, and are essentially 100% absorbed into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, cells exhaust the phospholipid material in order to use it as a building component for their cell walls. This results in the liberation of the encapsulated material either inside or very near cells. In other words, liposomal encapsulation gives oral supplements the ability to get excellent intracellular penetration and tissue penetration. It may very well be a general rule that liposomal encapsulation significantly potentiates the effect of any supplement.
Dr.Thomas Levy says :
“… taking the vitamin C on a regular basis, taking a liposome encapsulated form of the glutathione, taking the B complex liposome encapsulated. Again, you can take all of these things non-liposome encapsulated, but I guarantee they’re not going to have the clinical impact of the liposome encapsulated.”
Dr. Levy reports that 5 grams of vitamin C taken orally has the same clinical effectiveness at resolving infections as a whopping 50 grams given intravenously!
So in other words, liposomal encapsulation may help get higher concentrations of various substances into the spinal column where they may be needed to exert their potentially healing effects. In addition, the phospholipids themselves may potentially be used by the body as a component of myelin.
Liposomally encapsulated supplements can be made at home using an ultrasonic mixer, the desired supplements, distilled water, and either sunflower or non-GMO soy lecithin. Here is one starting point for learning how.
Update 1/13/2011: Similar to liposomes, micelles have demonstrated potential for carrying nutrients directly to the spinal cord injury, as well as healing the spinal cord injury themselves. I believe micelles can also be made at home using hydrophobically modified starch.
Update 3/26/2011: PEG (the ingredient in Miralax) or PEG-liposomes may also be useful in healing nerve damage and spinal cord injuries
21. Wei Labs Spinal Patches
Wei Labs is a company that has developed a number of products based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Some of these are patches of herbal combinations that you stick to your back over the troubled part of the spine. These patches infuse nutrients into the area that work to do things like reduce local inflammation, increase microcirculation, provide growth factors, relieve nerve impingement, and regenerate damaged discs. As I understand it, they are getting pretty good results.
22. Electromagnetic Therapy
Here are a few cases of magnets successfully treating spinal cord injuries.
And here are some research studies of EMF used successfully to treat SCI’s: Study1 and Study2 .
23. Liposomal curcumin
I just learned today (3/1/11) that a curcumin-based drug has shown potential to treat stroke and CNS injury. This reminded me that liposomal curcumin may provide similar benefit. Curcumin is normally not well absorbed, but if you liposomally encapsulate it (see #20), then it can be well absorbed and cross the blood-brain-barrier.
24. Liposomal Melatonin
Melatonin is available in a liposomal form.
This is a chemical that is said to naturally be found in the human body and doubles during exercise. Where it comes from I am not sure, since human beings cannot synthesize it. One study suggests it should be classified as a vitamin and is similar to vitamin C. It is used in skin products to make younger and healthier skin. It is believed to make the body regenerate cells more rapidly. It’s most famous source is the comfrey plant. The comfrey plant is also called “knitbone” because it is used to make bones heal faster by drinking a tea. It is also used as a mouth rinse to help naturally heal cavities and receding gums. There seems to be very little information available on its use, but it is believed to be non-toxic. One person reports on various self-experiments with allantoin. This person reports healed connective tissue, vertebrae, scars, skin discoloration, and possibly nerves. This is a totally experimental item that I cannot recommend anyone attempt, but could possibly be used to heal CNS injury. It is water soluble, so it could be liposomally encapsulated.
26. Liposomal Colostrum
It is said that research shows that supplementing with colostrum increases the release of adult bone marrow stem cells. As a long term therapy, this may have similar effects to expensive stem cells therapies, and may be much more convenient. In fact, here is at least one testimonial of an improvement from spinal cord injury.
Colostrum is said to be mostly destroyed during digestion, and that some people need to take many capsules to get results. There is however a commercially available liposomal colostrum. Absorption of intact components as well as improved CNS penetration make this product a very promising try.
Also, see this comment that has been posted on this article:
“I am the director of research for the Center of Nutritional Research. We have been working with colostrum research for over 20 years with incredible results. The growth factors in colostrum are capable of helping intiate new cellular growth due to damage from any cause. We had a premature baby with Spina Bifida that his parents (my friends) administered our Liposomal Delivery Colostrum by dipping his binkie in colostrum powder and letting him suckle it while in intensive care. His spine completely healed and this marvelous young man is now over 6 years old and has is completely normal. The application for burns, arthisitis, broken bones, head injuries have all shown incredible application for this high quality colostrum to help prevent and fight infection, accelerate healing and reduce inflamation and pain. Further information is available on our web site.”
27. Inclined Bed Therapy
Simply putting your bed on blocks to incline it by 5 degrees has resulted in anecdotes of improving a wide variety of diseases. This includes 3 anecdotes of improvement in chronic spinal cord injury. It is believed to have something to do with gravity’s beneficial effect on circulation and healing, which is not accessed when sleeping completely horizontal. Instructions for how to implement an inclined bed are here.
28. Liposomal Vitamin B12
Supplementing with B12 has helped some SCI patients who were known to be deficient. Many people are deficient anyway, so this should be tried. Methylcobalamin is the most effective form of B12.
29. Arginine and S-adenosylmethionine
A literature review concluded that arginine and s-adenosylmethionine are necessary for nerve regeneration.
30. Lithium Orotate
In vitro and animal studies suggest that lithium may be able to treat chronic SCI’s. Clinical trials in humans have been recently completed, but I do not believe the results have yet been published. The researchers hypothesized that the outcomes of the studies would show that “lithium improves neurological function in patients with chronic SCI”. Lithium is believed to increase levels of various growth factors and stimulate production of various types of stem cells. It would be interesting to see how many of the types of growth factors listed overlap with the growth factors in colostrum. These researchers used lithium carbonate, which has been shown elsewhere to be much less bioavailable than lithium orotate. Lithium orotate has been successfully used to treat mental disorders with elemental lithium doses from 5mg to 20mg. Lithium carbonate may require hundreds of milligrams of elemental lithium, and can be toxic at these levels. Lithium orotate is over-the-counter.