Last Modified on Jul 04, 2014
Many health conditions can be illusive or even deceiving, and Charcot Marie Tooth disease is no different. Upon first hearing the name, you likely thought this condition had something to do with your mouth; however, it actually has nothing to do with your teeth or gums but is rather a condition that affects the nerves in your arms and legs (named for the three doctors who discovered it in 1886). In any case, while there are no cures for the disease, a number of different therapies and supplements are effective for managing the condition including vitamin C, physical therapy, and yoga.
What Is Charcot Marie Tooth Disease?
Also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT) is actually a name used to categorize a group of hereditary disorders. These issues damage the nerves in your arms or legs or your “peripheral nerves.”
The symptoms of the condition are sometimes hard to identify initially as the disease typically develops asymptomatically. As the condition progresses, you will likely experience weakness in your legs and feet, muscle loss in your legs and feet, high foot arches, curled toes, decreased ability to run, difficulty lifting your feet, awkward or higher than normal gait, frequent tripping or falling, and decreased sensation or feeling in your legs and feet. These symptoms may also develop in your hands and arms.
Are There Any Natural Cures for Charcot Marie Tooth Disease?
While there are not any known cures for the condition, there are a number of treatment options that can help you manage Charcot Marie Tooth disease. Most individuals experience little to no pain in conjunction with the disease, so the focus of treatment generally lies within maintaining muscle mass and use. Effective remedies for the condition include physical therapy, stretching or yoga, and exercise. Vitamin C has also been recently identified as an effective supplement for treating the condition.
1. Physical Therapy
As CMT often involves the weakening of muscles, physical therapy and strength training are important treatment options. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the most effective physical therapy regimens involve muscle strength training, ligament stretching, stamina training and aerobic exercise. Therapists typically create a treatment program paired with a home exercise program to help affected individuals maintain and even improve muscle strength and flexibility.
As muscle rigidity is another issue associated with Charcot Marie Tooth, stretching is an important component of treatment. Yoga is one of the most effective training practices for improving flexibility and balance. Yoga also helps realign the body and correct any issues in muscle development.
3. Vitamin C
Dr. Davide Pareyson of the National Neurological Institute presents vitamin C as an effective treatment for CMT. Research suggests that vitamin C effectively limits and even reverses neuropathy. The nutrient does so as it is an antioxidant that decreases the expression of the hereditary material that causes CMT. For the best results, begin taking 75mg of vitamin C by mouth every day.
As research continues, more treatment options are uncovered for Charcot Marie Tooth. Read below for more reader-contributed suggestions for how to cope with and treat CMT.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Fact Sheet - http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/ charcot_marie_tooth/detail_charcot_marie_tooth.htm
Diseases and Conditions: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/charcot-marie-tooth-disease/basics/definition/con-20029920
Vitamin C for the Treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease - http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ ss06/charcotmarietooth.html
01/13/2010: Abby from Cincinnati, Ohio: "Charcot Marie-Tooth Disease
My husband's family has a history of Charcot's. He is now 60 and in the last few years I have noticed a change in his gait (walks slower with possible footdrop). He has no pain as yet but has some tingling and weakness in his legs. Charcot's is described as a degeneration of the mylin of the nerves. He has not seen a doctor for this as yet but we are looking for supplements or other therapies that might slow or stop the degeneration of the mylin. I would appreciate Ted's advice on this but any information from anyone would also be appreciated."Replies
03/11/2010: Lutie from Louisville, Ky replies: "Ted, Ted, Ted!!!!
My sibling and first cousins from the same grandmother all have Charcot Marie Tooth, my aunt died from complications of Trigeminal Neuralgia and my mother has terrible pain from TA...another cousin has died from ALS...my children have Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis...HELP, Ted! Could you please tell me how to help them naturally? I have found that these diseases are found on the chromosome gene P22...how can we naturally get rid of the MS, RA, Charcot Marie Tooth, and TN? This is not for one person, but for a whole family! What, in your professional opinion, can we do?
I have some of the symptoms, but believe these can be controlled with natural products (all of them are on either Neurotin, Beta Seron Shots, RA drugs, etc.)...and now they want to get off of the drugs (after thinking I was a little "weird" believing there were alternatives out there).
So...what do you suggest to help save my children, mother, and sister...plus, the rest of my family?"
03/12/2010: Lutie from Louisville, Kentucky replies: "A correction on my typing late at night...that is the Chromosome PMP22...not P22..."
01/21/2012: Ruth from Glendora, California, Usa replies: "For Charcot Marie Tooth's disease, since the problem is degeneration of the myelin sheath which is mostly made of lecithin, you should eat lecithin rich foods the richest of which is soybeans. I don't know which is the most help, foods or supplements, but I would do both."
02/21/2012: Kay from Destin, Fl replies: "Turmeric has proven to prevent destruction of the myelin sheath and treats the gene mutations found in CMT... Here are the findings, abstract, and related/other references of note:
05/04/2012: Eastet from Batonrouge, La, Usa replies: "I've a parent with similar disorder called HSP (Hereditary spastic paraplegia). Here's a paste from a 2002 study which may interest you; and you can google the text to pull up the entire article:
Paste from Google:
"Tumeric Herb extract "Curcumin" used to treat demyelination.
Annual Experimental Biology 2002 Conference New Orleans, LA April 23, 2002
Potential neuroprotective properties of curcumin (found in
turmeric spice) - Curcumin, confirmed as potent inflammatory agent, and believed to interrupt immune system attack on myelin sheath
Nashville researchers believe curcumin may interrupt the production of IL-12, a protein that plays a key role in signaling immune cells to launch their assault on the myelin sheath. - Mice with EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis an immune condition used as a model for MS, since it results in myelin erosion) recover movement after curcumin injections in a 30-day study injecting mice with curcumin doses 3 times/week at doses roughly equivalent to the amount eaten in a typical Indian diet (E. G. In curry); In Asian
countries, where spicy foods, including yellow compounds like curcumin are eaten quite regularly, reports of M. S. Are rare;
NOTE: Dr. Mercola recommends adding black pepper capsules for better absorption (digestion).""
05/04/2012: Eastet from Batonrouge, La, Usa replies: "Here are three more related articles:
In 2010, a study published in the Journal Science indicated that scientists had identified those proteins that control the thickness of myelin sheath. This discovery is expected to open the avenue to new treatments in the coming years.
Something else interesting that I found on google, is that Vitamin B3 Niacin flush creates histamines which open up or dilate and oxygenate and clean the blood vessels and capillaries; which reduce inflammation (solvent, detox), improves nerve tissue and cell environment health. Also increases metabolism because it frees fatty deposits, and turns
them into energy. Might be worth a 1 year test trial ?
Mayo Clinic Vitamin B6 Necessary for Myelin Formation
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is required for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine and for myelin formation. Pyridoxine deficiency in adults principally affects the peripheral nerves, skin, mucous membranes, and the circulatory (blood cell) system. In children, the central nervous system (CNS) is also affected. Deficiency can occur in people with uremia, alcoholism, cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption syndromes, and congestive heart failure (CHF), and in those taking certain medications. Mild deficiency of vitamin B6 is common.