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Three Supplements That Stimulate Neurological Recovery

The brain can recover, at least partially, from a stroke.  Evidence shows that the neurons in your brain continue to grow after a stroke and can help restore function to partially paralyzed limbs. There are three supplements currently being explored that may stimulate and direct the formation of functioning neurons after a stroke.


Vitamin B3 as nicotinamide has been used in the US since 1938 to stop neurodegeneration and save the lives of people suffering from pellagra.  Nicotinamide has been tested in many animal models of stroke and neurodegeneration and has been shown to improve survival and recovery.  Nicotinamide has demonstrated nuerorecuperative properties in animal models. 

The typical human daily dose of nicotinamide used to stop neurodegeneration is 500 mg.  However, nicotinamide can be tolerated by patients in doses up to 6 g per day.  It is not known if nicotinamide helps patients recover from strokes.  There have been no reports of the use of nicotinamide in stroke patients. Nicotinamide should be used for up to six months and in combination with exercise therapy.

Dan Shen

The Chinese have known for many years that the brain can recover from a stroke. They use a plant medicine made from Salvia miltiorrhiza, dan shen, to help patients recover from paralysis after a stroke.  Dan shen is available in Chinese Hospitals in an injectable form that is given to patients immediately after a stroke and for up to six months of recovery.  There are oral preparations of dan shen that can also be used after a stroke.


California Indians also have a traditional medicine for stroke patients. An oral preparation of Salvia columbariae, chia, is given to the patient for up to six months after a stroke. Chia, like dan shen, helps the brain recover from a stroke. 

It is critical to remember that physical therapy is required in addition to any plant medicines and supplements.

By: Professor James David Adams, Jr., University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, CA

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"There are three supplements currently being explored that may stimulate and direct the formation of functioning neurons after a stroke."

Ask Your Dietician

Before deciding to take an unfamiliar supplement, talk to your doctor or dietitian. They will be able to advise you on when and how much of each supplement you should incorporate into your diet. They might also be able to recommend complementary supplements or diets that will further your recovery.

Find a Dietician

If you need to find a dietitian in your area, consult Stroke-Network.com's resource directory. Your new dietitian can recommend foods and diet plans that will help your body recover from a stroke and regain strength and energy.

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