Question: My wife has just completed chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer, but she has been left with neuropathy. What would be an adequate amount of vitamin B12 to relieve the condition?
Dr. Brownstein’s Answer:
Neuropathy, or nerve pain, is damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system, and
can manifest as pain or tingling in the body’s extremities. The most common areas affected are the hands, lower legs, and feet, where pain can become so severe as to be debilitating.
Unfortunately, neuropathy is a very common adverse effect of chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can also cause neuropathy if it damages the nerves.
To prevent chemotherapy or radiation therapy-induced neuropathy, it is important to take B
vitamins as well as vitamin C before undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. If neuropathy has already developed, taking B vitamins and vitamin C can also help the situation.
I recommend 1 mg of injectable hydroxyl- or methyl-B12 daily for 30 days. Also, it is important to take a B-complex 100 pill and 50 to 100 mg per day of vitamin B6. Be careful because vitamin B6 can be toxic at high levels. I have not found any problems in using these doses for 30 days. After 30 days, continue to inject 1 mg of B12 two to three times per week.
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