If you have ever had an anaesthetic at the dentist then you have some idea of what it might be like to suffer from Bell’s Palsy – a form of paralysis that affects the facial nerve. Speaking is difficult and showing how you feel by smiling or frowning is well nigh impossible.
Add to that the fact that you are unable to stop yourself from drooling, and your eyes from watering and you have an idea of how distressing this condition can be.
The causes of Bell’s Palsy are as yet unknown – but it effects one in four thousand people. And, although it usually improves within three weeks to six months, for 10 per cent of sufferers it recurs, and a few suffer it indefinitely. Diabetics, those who have high blood pressure, and pregnant women are more likely to be affected compared to the general population.
By reducing your blood pressure and your blood sugar level you will go a long way to reducing your risk. However, if you or someone you know is suffering from this condition, it is vitally important that you act swiftly to ensure a full recovery. You can treat this form of paralysis effectively and quickly using natural remedies.
Bell’s Palsy: The warning headache you can’t afford to ignore
Affected patients may first notice an ache over their temple that may last for a day or two. Then the muscle weakness develops. This only affects one side of the face and, unlike a stroke, it does not affect the arms or the legs. The eye on the affected side of the face cannot close fully and the mouth droops to one side.
There could be problems with enunciating words and difficulty in chewing. The symptoms are generally mild, and in some cases Bell’s Palsy may not cause any appreciable changes in the facial appearance.
The dangers of conventional treatments for Bell’s Palsy
Traditionally, Bell’s Palsy has been treated with steroid drugs, such as prednisolone or methylprednisolone. These powerful agents reduce the inflammation of the nerve and help the muscles of the face regain their strength. Doctors may also suggest treatment with an anti-viral medication such as acyclovir, as it is believed that the nerve inflammation is actually caused by a viral infection (Acta Otorhinolaryngal 1988, 446: 114-118).
However, these drugs are not always effective. In fact, a recent major scientific review of all the information available on treatment of Bell’s Palsy concluded that treatment with steroids does not seem to offer any significant benefits (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(1):CD001942).
And as Nutrition and Healing has long been aware, steroids may cause side effects such as stomach upsets, thrush, irregular periods, weight gain and depression, whereas acyclovir may cause jaundice, skin rashes, dizziness, tiredness and kidney failure.
Bell’s Palsy: Vitamin B12 cuts recovery time from 10 weeks to just two!
In fact, the most potent cure for Bell’s Palsy is probably sitting in your medicine kit or supplement cupboard already: humble vitamin B12. This vitamin actively protects nerves, reduces nerve inflammation (Altern. Med. Rev. 1998,3(6):461-463) and reduces the amounts of nerve irritants such as the toxic chemical glutamate.
In an experiment studying 60 patients with Bell’s Palsy, vitamin B12 was found to be more effective that treatment with steroids, in terms of hastening recovery of the symptoms. Patients on the vitamin B12 treatment recovered on average after two weeks, whereas those on steroids recovered after about 10 weeks (Method. Find. Exp. Clin. Pharmacol. 1995,17(8):539-544).
The dose of vitamin B12 is 500 mcg three times a week by injection. It is also possible to get vitamin B12 in 5 mg lozenges that can be taken up to eight times a day.
In addition to vitamin B12, another nutrient, acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) was found to improve the symptoms of Bell’s palsy (Neurol. 1997,12(1):23-30).
This makes sense because ALC is an anti-inflammatory compound used in a variety of neurological diseases such as nerve injury, nerve weakness and memory problems. ALC reduces damage due to free radicals, preserves production of energy within the nerve cells, and stabilises the membrane of the nerve (Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 2001, 939:162-178).
Other Alternative Treatments To Beat Bell’s Palsy:
Anti-inflammatory nutrient, the sulphur-containing nutrient Methyl-Sulphonyl-Methane (MSM), 500 mg three times a day, and histamine. Although histamine in large amounts is toxic to the body, causing allergies, small amounts are effective in reducing inflammation in general, and Bell’s Palsy in particular (Ear Nose Throat J. 1999, 78(5):366-370). Histamine is not generally available in tablet form, but the nutrient carnosine that regulates the production of histamine is available in doses of 100 mg a day.
Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 (in addition to vitamin B12) (Minerva Pediatr. 1996, 48(6):245-250). All of these vitamins are particularly effective at boosting other factors that nourish the nerve. They are used in any form of nerve damage or brain failure. The dose for vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is 50 mg three times a day, that of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is 50mg three times a day, and that of B6 (Pyridoxine) is 50 mg – 100 mg three times a day, but it is best to take this only short-term, as long-term intake of high doses of vitamin B6 may potentially cause more harm than good.
The chemical Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is an essential agent involved in producing energy in the cells. Experiments using this nutrient together with the vitamins of the B group mentioned above, show that this combination can have a measurable impact on the recovery from Bell’s Palsy. The results showed that 100% of those patients who had a partial paralysis of the nerve, and up to 87% of those who had full paralysis recovered completely. In contrast, only 67% of patients treated with steroids recovered (Eur. Arch. Otorin. 1991,248(3):147- 149). Boost your body’s production of ATP by taking Mitochondrial Resuscitate.
Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.