Bell’s palsy and vitamins, is there any actual real connections? Although it has taken the medical community several years to acknowledge that vitamins can help with this condition, there is a lot of consensus that they can help, especially the B class of vitamins. Although this condition can be absolutely frightening when it does attack, in the vast majority of cases, it is not life threatening but it can still be very dangerous.
What is it?
In understanding Bell’s palsy and vitamins and how they can actually help, it is very helpful to know some of the facts about this very frightening condition. Bell’s palsy is a situation where the major nerve that controls your facial muscles becomes either swollen or inflamed, and in the vast majority of cases, it only affects one side of your face. However, there is a misconception with this condition in that it exclusively only affects one side, and although it is not very common, it can affect both sides of your face if the virus that is causing the inflammation is severe enough.
Although this condition is not life threatening, it can be a horrifying experience both to you as well as anyone that witnesses it. At first it will just feel like your face has become very stiff, but the reality of this condition is that one side of your face has drooped, and as a result, your eyes cannot close. In the vast majority of cases, these symptoms will improve in a couple of weeks, but full recovery may take as long as six months.
It is estimated that about 10 percent of anyone affected by this condition will have a reoccurrence, which is most all cases will occur on the other side of the face. There are also a very small percentage of people that will never fully recover from the symptoms and damages that it causes.
Symptoms and Causes:
There are several symptoms as well as signs that you can watch for and they will all have one thing in common; they will attack you very suddenly. For this reason, if you have any of the viruses that can cause it, understanding Bell’s palsy and vitamins that can help may prevent it from ever attacking you.
The first sign or symptom will be a very rapid weakness in your face that can range from mild to so severe that it will literally paralyze one side of your face. This may occur over a period of a couple of days, or it may occur in just a couple of hours. But once it does occur, it will make it very difficult for you to smile or close your eye on the affected side. The sensation will be very similar to the deadening in your face or mouth from a tooth extraction with one exception; it will not wear off in a couple of hours. The next symptom is the drooping of your face, and you will no longer be able to make any type of facial expression on the affected side.
This will then be followed by a pain in or around your jaw area, as well as a pain in your ear or behind your ear on the affected side. Because of this effect on your ear, you may also experience as sudden increased sensitivity to any type of sound. The final potential symptom will be a very sudden headache that will hit you so strong it feels like your head is exploding. All of this when combined is a very frightening experience, but nothing will prepare you for the shock when you see yourself in the mirror for the first time.
There are several potential causes of this condition, and most all of them will involve viruses of some type. The most common is the herpes simplex virus, which is also the main cause of genital herpes as well as cold sores. However, there are also several other potential viral infections that may be the cause including herpes zoster, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus. Herpes zoster virus is the major cause of both chicken pox as well as shingles, and Epstein-Barr is the major cause of mono, also referred to as mononucleosis.
Whatever the virus is, this attack will all affect the nerves in your facial muscles and can also affect your taste, sense of smell, as well as your tears and saliva. It can also affect anyone at any time; however, it does seem to have some favorite targets. It does occur much more common in people between the ages of 15 and 60, pregnant women, as well as anyone that has had the cold or flu recently. It also, for some reason, seems to attack you more commonly if you have diabetes.
Bell’s palsy and vitamins:
Next is the question of Bell’s palsy and vitamins and which ones can help the symptoms as well as help prevent them from intensifying. The medical community for years has acknowledged that vitamin B12 can help with this condition, but there is also mounting evidence that vitamins B6 and B1 may also help in controlling them.
Bell’s palsy and vitamins start with B12, which is a water soluble vitamin and it plays several important roles in your body’s biological functions. The first role is with your metabolism, but it also plays very large roles in your nervous system as well as with the formation of your red blood cells. However, it is the role of the normal growth of your nervous system that comes into play with this condition. B12 helps with the production of what is referred to as the myelin sheath, which is a layer of protection that covers your nerves and it is made up of 70 percent fat and 30 percent protein.
This sheath helps the signals between all of your nerve cells not only travel quicker, it also helps to prevent them from losing any of their strength. If any of these viruses do try to attack this system and your body does not have enough of this nutrient, the damages can occur very rapidly. However, B12 also preforms one other very important role in your nervous system; it helps with the production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that basically control neural communications in your body and they affect how you feel pain, as well as your mood and sleep.
If they are not fully nourished with this critical vitamin and if your sheath covering is also weak, you are wide open for an attack from any of the viral infections. Bell’s palsy and vitamins next player in protection is with B1, also referred to a thiamine. This is also a water soluble vitamin and one of its major roles in your body is to protect your nervous system from any type of attack and it focuses on viral attacks that can affect both your nervous system as well as your brain. It helps convert starches into energy in your body and is now believed to not only help reduce the symptoms of Bells palsy, it is also believed to help them from spreading.
Vitamin B6 helps your body convert food into glucose which is the major source of energy in your body, and without this vitamin your nervous system cannot function properly. It is also gaining support as being able to restore facial nerve damages caused by this condition.
Bell’s palsy and vitamins do share a common role; this condition attacks the nerves in your facial muscles and these vitamins help to protect them from this attack. Although this condition can be absolutely horrifying for any one that experiences it, there are natural ways to protect you from it.
Bell’s palsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/bells/detail_bells.htm.
Bell’s palsy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec16/ch219/ch219i.html.