The use of vitamins in injuries that affect the nerves of the body is widespread. Sciatica and nerve entrapments at the neck are situations where group B vitamins are used frequently. Are they useful? Is its use justified?
You have to understand where this usage comes from. Simply put, for all of us to understand, these B vitamins are involved in nerve metabolism. For example a patient who has vitamin B12 deficiency can suffer neurological injuries due to the lack of sufficient vitamin B12 in the body. These vitamins are used as a supplement for people who are deficient for various medical reasons. Understanding that these vitamins are important to the nerve began to extend the use of these supplements when there were neurological injuries.
Is it appropriate to take B vitamins in sciatica and root lesions of the neck?
The first thing that needs to be made clear is that most people have normal levels of these vitamins in their body. In addition our body has deposits of vitamins for the moments where we have eaten less quantity. Taking a more or less balanced diet we do not need to take supplements. This is the situation of the majority.
In the case of a sciatica for a herniated disc for example, the cause of the nerve injury is in the compression of the nerve root in the lumbar area. Since most people do not have vitamin B deficiency, supplementation would not be necessary. Yet they are prescribed very often.
It does seem sensible to prescribe them in people who are at risk of being low in these vitamins. This is the case of alcoholics, very strict vegetarians (vegans) or stomach operated, who may have a tendency to deficit because of problems in intestinal absorption.
If the cause of the nerve injury we do not know, the cause may be a deficit of these vitamins so it is a good idea to take them to cover this possibility.
In short, most people do not have deficiencies of these vitamins and therefore, it is not necessary to take them routinely. A study published in “The Cochrane Library” reviews all the papers that have analyzed the effectiveness of these vitamins in the lesions of the nervous system. The conclusions are that there is no evidence that they serve anything, removing some particular cases as in alcoholics.
Are there problems with taking these vitamins?
When the doctors give us a drug that we know is not at all clear enough for something, we have to be sure it does not hurt. We should not give medicines that do not have a good risk / benefit balance.
Group B vitamins have not been shown to produce any serious problems in the studies performed. That does not mean they are safe. Vitamin B12, for example, can precipitate a gout attack. Vitamin B6 can cause photosensitivity, ie if the sun gives us we can erupt or blister on the skin. Although very rare, allergies to these vitamins are also possible.
In summary, group B vitamins in neurological lesions will not be necessary in most cases. Yet they are prescribed very often, with no evidence that they serve anything. Keep in mind that, although they do not usually give problems, they are not harmless either.
There are other substances that are added to these compounds such as alpha lipoic acid that have shown certain beneficial effects. Cytidine triphosphate also has some evidence that it may be more useful than the B vitamins.
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