Another Cause of Nerve Damage
Nerve Damage from Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN)
What is CIPN?
How to get relief
Cancer treatment drugs are called chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs are toxic chemicals (poisons) that attack fast growing cells (rapidly dividing cells). The theory behind using these toxins is that it will destroy the fast growing cancer cells before it does too much damage to normal cells.
Hair is a quickly dividing, fast growing cell and this is the reason that hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy.
Bone marrow produces fast growing cells. Normally, when blood cells wear out in the body, they are replaced by new ones from the bone marrow. When the chemotherapy drugs damage these fast growing cells, it can cause a low blood count, which can result in other side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and chills. It is sometimes even necessary to do a blood transfusion.
Nerve damage from chemotherapy drugs
"Chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy can be a disabling side effect of cancer treatment. It’s caused by some of the chemo drugs used to treat cancer." From the website of theAmerican Cancer Society
Chemotherapy is hardest on the nervous system due to the fact that nerve cells are more sensitive than other cells.
The nervous system transmits information between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body. It is designed to transmit feeling such as touch and temperature. It delivers messages from sight; it delivers messages to the muscles to get them to move.
Because nerve cells are more sensitive to these toxins then other cells, they are often affected and can be damaged easily. This may also be the reason for cognitive problems following chemotherapy, also known as "chemo fog" or "chemo-brain".
After exposure to the chemotherapy drugs, the cells that responsible for producing myelin, the fatty substance that helps insulate and protect nerve conducting fibers, can become damaged.
Nervous system changes in chemotherapy patients can develop months or years after treatment. The onset of these symptoms is variable. Some drugs may cause symptoms during or immediately after the first dose, and some have a delayed onset of symptoms, up to several weeks, months, or even years after the last dose.
The severity of these symptoms is related to the amount of chemotherapy drug given. The higher or more frequent the dose of the drug the greater the chance that it will damage the coverings of the nerve and cause nerve damage (neuropathy).
Additionally, someone with pre-existing neuropathy (no matter what the cause) may be at risk for more severe and long lasting neuropathy.
Symptoms of Post Chemotherapy Neuropathy
Chemo (chemotherapy drugs) travels through the whole body, thus can damage different nerves. Symptoms tend to start farthest away from the head, but move in closer over time.
Chemotherapy drugs often strip the coverings from the nerves, damaging the nerves, particularly those of the hands, feet, arms and legs.
Loss of feeling in the hands and feet can make it hard to pick up small objects and cause clumsiness and difficulty walking. Some people with nerve damage first notice a "pins and needles" feeling, not unlike when an arm or leg "falls asleep". Foot nerve damage after chemo is very common which results in stabbing pain and numbness.
As motor nerves are the most sensitive to toxins, this nerve damage may make you feel clumsy and cause difficulty in daily activities such as opening jars, fastening buttons, or even squeezing toothpaste tubes. Loss of balance and coordination is also due to this damage.
Per the American Cancer Society, "Chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is caused by the chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment." (Neuropathy is also sometimes called paraesthesia or even myalgia.)
"The symptoms or signs of CIPN depend mostly on which nerves are involved. The most common symptoms are:
tingling (or a "pins and needles" feeling)
trouble with tripping and stumbling while walking
loss of feeling (numbness)
decreased or no reflexes
increased sensitivity to temperature (usually cold) or pressure, so that things hurt more than usual
trouble passing urine
blood pressure changes
"CIPN often affects both sides of the body the same way; for example, the toes of both feet. It can cause severe pain and can affect your ability to do everyday things like walk, write, button your shirt, or pick up a coin. If it gets very bad it can cause very serious problems like changes in your heart rate, trouble breathing, paralysis, or organ failure"
This is the reason that medical doctors have to keep close watch over their patients when receiving chemotherapy.
Are these long-term side effects of chemotherapy?
When a person develops neuropathy due to chemotherapy, the oncologist will prescribe drugs to cover up the symptoms and the patient will get a pamphlet entitled “Living with Neuropathy”. There is hope that it will get better after the chemo is finished. However, quite often, the damaged cell will continue to deteriorate and the symptoms will get worse. The only way to correctly manage this chronic neuropathy is to address the real causes, not the symptoms.
Is CIPN permanent?
Can this be Reversed?
There are many different treatments for Neuropathy. Making sure that anything might be contributing to the neuropathy needs to be addressed.
CIPN Treatments - most have to do with pain management
You've probably read or heard about lots of different remedies for the relief of the symptoms of nerve damage (neuropathy).
You just need to search on the internet under neuropathy to get pages and pages of recommended remedies. The search will reveal many different view points about what will help you get relief. I've talked to many people who have tried remedy after remedy. You can go to Neuropathy Treatments to get the pros and cons.
There are many herbs that attempt to cover up the symptoms and there are many drugs that try to cover up the symptoms.
There are many different anti-oxidants and formulas that will bring some relief. I know the things that will help - essential fatty acids, vitamin c, combination of acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid - etc. etc.
The real cause of all these problems however is the unhealthy nerves.
Restoring Health to the Nerves: *
We always recommend you take the approach of building health and nerves are no different.
Nerves need to be healthy to function properly.
Pros: Healthy sensory nerves mean that they are not painful. Healthy nerves mean that they communicate and don't send wrong signals such as burning, hot and cold, tingling when there is no reason for it. Healthy motor nerves mean that they relay messages from the brain to the muscle so that they move correctly without weakness.
The body needs specific nutrients (vitamins) to be able to build healthy nerves. Getting bio-available special forms of B1 and B12 along with the other Bs that activate them, will promote and support healthy nerves.
Cons: It may not give immediate relief as the vitamins are working at a cellular level, it may take longer, but it does address the actual problem and builds healthy nerves.
Building Healthy Nerves: Find out what is needed to restore health to the nerves.
The body needs the correct tools to restore health and build healthy nerves. These tools are specific nutrition (vitamins).
What are they? Read on.
It has been known for some time that B1 (thiamine) is very effective. It is needed by the body to create healthy nerves.
Unfortunately, the oral intake of vitamin B1 does not greatly increase the levels of B1 in the blood stream.
The reason for this is that Thiamine, like all of the B vitamins, is water-soluble. Thiamine cannot be stored in the body and flushes out within 4 to 5 hours.
Additionally, it has been found the symptoms are made worse by insufficient amounts of B12 in the body.
Vitamin B12 supports the sheathing that protects nerve cells and has shown in studies to promote the growth of healthy nerve cells.
In the past, it has been difficult to remedy the B12 deficiency. The reason for this is that while vitamin B12 is readily stored by the body, it is not readily absorbed by the body. For this reason much larger amounts have been used in supplementation, but even large oral dosages have not been an adequate solution.
You might have heard of the new type of vitamin B1 being produced, called Benfotiamine. It is a fat-soluble version of vitamin B1. What does this mean? It means this new form of vitamin B1 can be taken orally in large dosages and it will not flush out of the body the way ordinary Thiamine (vitamin B1) does.This is due to the fact that this type of B1 will be delivered into the blood stream where it can travel to the cells and be used.
Also available is Methylcobalamine (called Methyl B12). This is the form of vitamin B12 that can be directly utilized by the body.When regular B12 is taken, the body has to convert it into the Methyl B12 in the gut. Methyl B12 already comes in this useable form.
Where can I find these supplements?
RECOMMENDED: (This is where we have researched products and found one that we found will work for you.)
We have been recommending this formula for 13 year. We have looked at other products that had similar ingredients, but haven't found one that has all the necessary ingredients.
This company has had this formula since 2004 and has over 15 years worth of success. The vitamins talked about above to build healthy nerves are available together. The name of the product is RHP® Nerve Support Formula
It contains both the Benfotiamine and Methyl B12. The result is that the blood stream levels of vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 can be greatly increased, providing the nutritional support needed by the body to rapidly and far more effectively to decrease or eliminate the symptoms of unhealthy nerves.
Both Benfotiamine and Methyl B12 have been shown to be non-toxic and without any side effects even in very high dosages.
Additionally, the formula has three other B vitamins and vitamin D3 in the exact proportion that work together to produce the best results. The formula has been found to be exactly what the body needs.
Why the other B vitamins in the formula?
B1 (thiamine) is dependent on the other B-complex vitamins. Absorption of B1 into the body requires adequate supplies of vitamin B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid). A deficiency in Vitamins B12 can increase loss of B1in the urine, and vitamin B6 also appears to help regulate distribution of thiamine throughout the body. B9 (folic acid) is also necessary to activate the absorption of the B12. The body utilizes vitamin B2 to keep tissue healthy and to help accelerate healing of injuries. B2 protects the nervous system.
In addition the formula has Vitamin D. One of the functions of Vitamin D is the regulation of nervous system development and function.
We don't just want you to buy a vitamin and hope it works. We want to make sure that you know how to take it and anything that might cause a slowdown in building nerve health.
The vitamins we recommend have a 90 Day money back guarantee. This money back guarantee means that you can buy 1, 2 or 3 bottles (up to three months worth) and return them if you feel it doesn't work for you.
Sounds too good to be true? This formula has been around since 2004 and has a very high success rate with lots of testimonials. See below.
RHP™ Nerve Support Formula can support the body’s ability to build healthy nerves by addressing the root of the problem at a cellular level.
The cost of this product is $44.20 a bottle
The RHP® Nerve Support Formula has no known side effects or interactions with any medications.
The Nerve Support Formula is made at an "FDA Inspected Facility" and cGMP labs (Good Manufacturing Practice Facility). This means it adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices for supplement manufacturers. This process guarantees the potency, purity and quality of this product. You can read more about the Quality of Manufacturing here.
We have used our best judgment in compiling this information. The Food and Drug Administration may not have evaluated the information presented. Any reference to a specific product is for your information only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease