Let’s talk about eating smart. One of the things that most patients with neuropathy—and many patients with chronic pain—eating smart by keeping well-fueled and well-hydrated goes a long way towards possibly reducing symptoms and improving the quality of life! Now, the reasons for this are many, and paying better attention to basic body needs dramatically improves the function of our brain and nervous system and thus how we feel.
Paying better attention to basic body needs dramatically improves the function of our brain and nervous system
There are a couple of basic rules that serve most neuropathy and chronic pain patients very well.
First, let’s talk a little about water consumption. An easy rule of thumb is to consume one half your body weight in ounces during a 24-hour period. So if we weigh a hundred and eighty pounds, we should drink ninety ounces of water (or non-alcohol liquids) in a 24-hour period. Remember, coffee, tea, and alcohol can cause us to lose fluid more rapidly, so go easy here. Under no circumstances should diet or other soft drinks be consumed.
Next, the mainstay or proper fueling is eating every 2 to 3 hours maximum. Getting used to smaller meals, and adding low-carbohydrate snacks such as several nuts or one half of an apple or other low-carb fruit can help us feel much better. The reason for this is it helps us maintain normal blood sugar levels and helps us burn fat more efficiently. If you are NOT insulin dependent or on diabetes medication, intermittent fasting may actually be beneficial. Learn way more about diet with the ND Diet Plan.
Eating more frequently as long as it is low in carbs (except within an hour HEAVY exercise) makes us feel better—and helps fuel us much more efficiently.
Carb control is also what helps us fight things like diabetes and metabolic syndrome—that, as you already know, complicate many health problems and make neuropathy and pain worse.
Like everything, there are exceptions to these rules. For example, if you’re insulin-dependent, you need to match your insulin dosage against your carbohydrate consumption very carefully.
Likewise, if you suffer from kidney or heart disease, you may need to be more careful with fluid consumption. Always follow your doctor’s orders. Try these simple suggestions starting today, and see how much better you may feel within just a few days!
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Eating Smart to Improve Neuropathy and Chronic Pain is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
One main factor in many cases of peripheral neuropathy is diet. You probably know that neuropathy is linked to diabetes and other conditions where daily intake of sugars and nutrients is important, but your diet can also influence the condition of nerves in more direct ways, such as in cases where a nutritional deficiency is causing neuropathic damage. We call this Neuropathy Nutrition.
Perhaps the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12. Fight neuropathy by eating foods that are all high in B vitamins. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry! There are plant foods that contain substantial amounts of B-12 (GREAT Reference HERE).
Vegetables are high in nutrients that have been shown to be effective treating neuropathy. Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, fresh produce can mellow your blood sugar levels. If numbness or pain in your extremities is severe, keep pre-cut vegetables and limited fruits at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about the stress involved with preparing them! Just be careful of too much fruit sugars. This means a serving is 1/2 apple, banana, etc. Most non-starchy vegetables like greens and asparagus especially are great for most of us.
Foods that are high in Vitamin E are also good for neuropathy nutrition, according to neurology.com. A deficiency of Vitamin E can happen in cases where malabsorption or malnutrition are taking place, such as the case with alcoholic neuropathy. Whole grains and nuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E.
Lean proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet for people with neuropathy. Saturated fats and fried foods increase risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to aggravating nerve decay from lack of nutrients. If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels.
For some types of neuropathy, research shows that specific antioxidants may help slow or even reverse nerve damage that has not existed for too long a time. For HIV sensory neuropathy, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has demonstrated good results, and Alpha lipoic acid is being studied for its effects on diabetic nerve damage. But PLEASE, do not self treat! Get an accurate diagnosis and work with a professional armed with the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants. Let our team help.
Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day…
So what are the best ways to monitor what you are neuropathy nutrition? The easiest way is to make lasting changes it to keep a food journal. Record everything you eat at meals, for snacks, and any vitamin supplements you might be taking. Your journal will help you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determine if your diet could be a factor in your neuropathy symptoms! As a bonus, food journaling is a great way to be accountable for your overall nutrition, as well as to help avoid dietary-related conditions other than neuropathy. If you have a goal for weight loss, weight gain, or better overall energy, those are other areas in which keeping a food journal can help! Other ways to monitor what you eat include cooking at home as opposed to going out to restaurants, keeping a shopping list instead of deciding what groceries to buy at the store, and consulting a qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.
Dietary supplements (when properly prescribed and monitored by blood testing) may also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration. Supplementing with only the highest quality, liquid distilled fish oil can help supply Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain and neurologic help. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult us directly for specific recommendations.
Patients and Doctors are invited to call us at 781-659-7989 at 12:30 EST Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to talk with the next available senior clinician.
Copper, Another Key Neuropathy Nutrient
Most people don’t think about copper as a key nutrient. Or in any way related to peripheral neuropathy or chronic pain.
But as you’ll see, a small daily amount is necessary and essential to normal health and well-being.
Only the tiniest amounts are necessary for normal health.
But like so many nutrients lack this tiny amounts, and we cannot survive.
In the human body, copper serves several roles. Perhaps the most important are our body’s ability to process oxygen, and absorb iron.
Both of these functions are of course essential to life.
We only need approximately 3 mg or so per day to remain healthy. Unfortunately, excess copper more than our bodies can normally dispose of can cause a whole host of health problems, and must be avoided.
The most common source of excess copper in humans is likely from copper plumbing.
Copper levels can be measured in the blood and in the hair.
As we spoke about last week, excess zinc supplementation will deplete copper, creating a mineral imbalance and the health problems that go with it. So, excess zinc supplementation will cause a copper deficiency.
This can lead to a whole host of health problems. There is a syndrome called myeloneuropathy in which copper deficiency causes a B12 deficiency like illness, with damage to the nerves and spinal cord.
Likewise, copper deficiency due to excess zinc either due to supplements or poisonings like denture cream can lead to the development of neuropathy too.
One of the key functions of copper is maintenance of normal joint and soft tissue proteins. There is no scientific evidence that copper bracelets and copper socks and the like work for arthritis, even though this was once suggested as a possible cure.
The NeuropathyDR diet is adequate for normal intake of copper because it is high in nuts and seeds. Additional good sources include olives and avocados. Paleo sources include shellfish, beef and lamb.
Because copper is essential for normal cellular energy and respiration, a deficiency could aggravate many underlying conditions yes including chronic pain and neuropathy.
Now you know more about this pretty metal!
Copper Another Key Neuropathy Nutrient is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
B12 deficiency may cause, or contribute to, the development of peripheral neuropathy.
Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient which, when missing, contributes to, and may actually create a number of different diseases.
Not the least of which is causing, or contributing to, the development of peripheral neuropathy.
The reason for this is that vitamin B12 is absolutely essential for the normal function of every cell in the brain and nervous system.
Damage to the nervous system caused by B12 deficiency can actually be permanent and irreversible.
Like so many of the other nutrients we’ve spoken about already, vitamin B12 is also essential for energy production and cellular repair.
B12 is manufactured by bacteria and then ingested by animals. In animals, as well as humans, it undergoes conversion to one or more active forms.
In the autoimmune disease pernicious anemia, a lack of intrinsic factor needed for normal absorption of B12 in the small bowel leads the development of vitamin B12 deficiency—and, possibly, also the diseases that that can cause.
Deficiency of vitamin B12 is also one of the more common deficiencies we see in private practice. When we check with laboratory studies, many adults have inadequate levels.
Signs and symptoms of low B12 levels are very common, and are often passed on as simple fatigue or aging. These symptoms include low energy, fatigue, depression, and memory changes. B12 deficiency in the outpatient setting is probably second only to vitamin D.
Low B12 levels can be due to a combination of diet and a number of different factors. Normal aging is one of these factors; B12 deficiency is much more common in adults over 50.
Some other factors include chronic use of medications that affect the lining of the GI tract, bowel diseases, and, actually, many prescription medications.
One of the most common reasons for vitamin B12 deficiency in diabetics is the prescription drug metformin.
Like all the key nutrients, it is most important to clearly identify, then attempt to correct a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Eliminating correctable underlying causes such as poor dietary habits and unnecessary drug use are two of the most common ones that I see in my practice—and are two of the easiest fixes.
High dosages of oral supplementation under supervision and/or injection of vitamin B12 may be necessary to correct low levels and frank deficiencies.
Since the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency can be permanent, is very important that you and your doctors take this nutrient and its deficiency very seriously.
This is especially true if you suffer from neuropathy or any neurologic disorder.
So don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I still recommend all adults should routinely have vitamin B12, vitamin D, and folic acid levels checked at every annual physical examination, and more often once supplementation has begun.|
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Vitamin B12, Health, and Your Neuropathy is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful in Vitamin K. So if you follow the NeuropathyDR Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.
Vitamin K is another nutrient we don’t frequently hear much about.
That is unless, of course, you suffer from Afib or a clotting disorder. But more on that story later!
Like all vitamins, a deficiency here can kill us! You see vitamin K gets is name from a German word for coagulation (Koagulationsvitamin). The reason is, without proper levels of Vitamin K, we could bleed to death!
Like all nutrients, there is so much more. Vitamin K1 occurs naturally in green plants. Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful. So if you follow the NeuropathyDR Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.
Good dietary intakes of green leafy vegetables and the Vitamin K they contain are associated with less risk of diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.
Exceptions or those at risk for deficiency are those patients with bowel disease, alcoholism, or long-term antibiotic usage which can kill normal bacteria in our bellies.
In humans, K1 is converted to, and then stored as, K2. There are also several other forms—some are even used used in medicine for treating bone loss.
The three major areas Vitamin K has a role in are blood clotting (coagulation), helping the maintenance of normal healthy bone, and in normal blood vessel health. Bone health is of particular concern as we age. We do know that patients with osteoporosis or thinning of the bones have low levels of Vitamin K2.
The one area that concerns patients more than others with vitamin K is that its intake in your diet needs to be limited if you take Coumadin. Coumadin (Warfarin) is the drug given as a blood thinner when patients suffer from conditions like the heart disorder atrial fibrilation. Afib, as it is called, is common in diabetics, so of course we see this in the neuropathy clinic frequently.
As a side note, lots of the preventive diet and nutrition strategies we discuss can benefit—and possibly prevent—Afib in the first place.
There are newer blood thinning drugs without Vitamin K interactions, but some of them are far riskier than the time-tested drug Warfarin.
So, now you know the essentials. But we have not heard the last on Vitamin K and good health, I am sure!
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Vitamin K and Your Healthy Lifestyle is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists