Nutrition Plays a Big Role in Healing Neuropathy—and Poor Nutrition Can Make Your Symptoms Worse.
Neuropathy symptoms resulting from conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, lupus, diabetes, or shingles can make life pretty miserable. Unfortunately, a medical treatment program focused on managing neuropathy only through injections or other medication may ultimately provide you with little relief.
That’s because so many symptoms of neuropathy are caused or made worse by nutritional deficiencies. Only by addressing those key elements missing in your diet can you see substantial and long-term improvement in neuropathy pain.
A beneficial neuropathy diet is especially important for you if you’re also dealing with gastritis, Crohn’s disease, or similar types of digestive issues. In that case, your body is simply not able to absorb the needed nutrients from the foods you eat, leading to chronic vitamin deficiency that over time can encourage neuropathy symptoms. As you can see, your body’s ability to process nutrients properly can have systemic effects that go beyond your digestive system to alter your quality of life.
Fortunately, what this means is that you can take charge of your neuropathy symptoms by making dietary changes. Following a neuropathy diet, along with other supportive treatments recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician, is likely to manifest noticeable differences in your symptoms.
Key Elements of a Neuropathy Diet
A nutritional plan for neuropathy should include the following:
Lots of veges, beans and peas otherwise known as legumes and with any grains always going gluten free; these can be a great source of B vitamins to support nerve health.
- Eggs and fish, which contain additional B vitamins including B1 and B12.
- Fruits and vegetables with a yellow or orange color, including yellow bell peppers, squash, oranges, and carrots, which contain vitamin C and vitamin A for an immune system boost.
- Kale, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables that offer magnesium and calcium for your immune system and nerve health.
- Foods rich in vitamin E (avocado, almonds, unsalted peanuts, tomatoes, unsalted sunflower seeds, fish).
If there are any nutrient gaps in your neuropathy diet due to an inability to eat some of the foods listed above, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to provide an appropriate supplement.
Remember, one key way that you can take charge of your health starting today is to implement beneficial dietary changes. Your neuropathy diet can make all the difference in the world.
For more information about neuropathy diet components and other ways to take control of your neuropathy symptoms, take a look at these resources for Self-Guided Care.
What Are the Key Elements of a Beneficial Neuropathy Diet? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment
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Did You Know That It’s Nearly Impossible to Get Enough Vitamin E from Food Sources? Read More About This Essential Supplement for Nerve Health.
Vitamin E plays such an important role in nerve health that a variety of serious health problems can be caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. What’s more, vitamin E is known to be very beneficial for people who are dealing with peripheral neuropathy and certain other types of neuropathic pain or dysfunction.
It’s true that you can get certain types of vitamin E, or tocopherols, from a small number of whole foods. For example, avocados and asparagus both contain reasonably significant levels of vitamin E. Corn and soybean oil also have some tocopherols in them. But you’d be hard-pressed to eat just the right combinations of tocopherol-containing foods in the right amounts—and on a nearly day by day basis, too!
For most people, and particularly those with neuropathic issues, it’s a good idea to supplement your vitamin E levels. Somewhere between 100 and 400 international units, or IUs, is a typical recommended dose of alpha tocopherol for bolstering nerve health. (We recommend doing this under the close care of a NeuropathyDR® clinician, however, as too much vitamin E—like certain other vitamins and minerals—can actually be dangerous.)
Here’s why vitamin E is so important. For optimum nerve health, your nerves need to create a certain amount of myelin—the insulation around nerves that acts as a conductor to pass their signals along. The tocopherols are a big help in supporting the manufacture of myelin. If you’re not getting enough vitamin E, your nerve health may be at risk. And for those experiencing neuropathy, vitamin E is an absolute must in rebuilding healthy nerve function.
The NDGen Metabolic Support Formula contains vitamin E in addition to other key vitamins and trace minerals that your body needs for nerve health and self-healing. Click here to learn more about Metabolic Support Formula.
Nerve Health and Vitamin E: A Key Supplement for Neuropathic Pain is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment
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A NeuropathyDR specialist is here to help you with your Postherpetic Neuropathy Including nutrition and diet plan.
When you were diagnosed with shingles, you thought that as soon as the rash disappeared you would be free and clear…
You didn’t count on the nerve damage and pain you’re still dealing with.
The pain of postherpetic neuropathy.
Yes, you know you can take pain medications to help ease some of the discomfort but you don’t want to do that forever.
The good news is that there are other things you can do to help your body heal. With a little patience, perseverance and the help of medical professionals well versed in dealing with postherpetic neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, you can live a normal life again.
It Starts With Good Nutrition
The human body is a very well designed machine. If you put junk into it, you get junk out of it. But if you give it what it needs to function properly and to repair itself, the results can be awe inspiring.
The very first thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving your body the right tools to fight back against postherpetic neuropathy. And that means a healthy diet.
Your diet should include:
– Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health. Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase your feeling of well-being.
– Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.
– Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost.
– Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost your immune system.
– Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes and fish for vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of postherpetic neuropathy.
– Ask your neuropathy specialist for recommendations on a good multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan.
Foods you should avoid:
– Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
– Fried foods and all other fatty foods. Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting postherpetic neuropathy.
– Cut back on animal protein. That’s not to say you should become a vegetarian. Just limit the amount of animal protein you take in. High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress.
– Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.
– Avoid sugar. You don’t have to eliminate sweets completely, just control them. Sugar contains no essential nutrients and “gunks up” your system. Keeping your blood sugar level constant will help control your irritability.
– Control your salt intake. Opt for a salt substitute with potassium instead of sodium and stay away from preserved foods like bacon, ham, pickles, etc. Reducing the amount of salt you eat will help ease inflammation and that alone will work wonders in the healing process.
Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist for a personalized diet plan to help you to help your body to heal with the right nutritional support for postherpetic neuropathy.
Give Your Body A Break by Managing Stress
We all know that stress is a killer. But few of us really take steps to manage the stress in our lives. By keeping your stress level under control, you give your body a chance to use the resources it was using to deal with stress to actually heal itself.
Some tips for managing your stress level:
– Exercise regularly. You don’t have to get out and run a marathon. Just walk briskly for about 15 minutes a day, every day, to start. You can build from there.
– Employ relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga or meditation. Any of these will calm the mind and, in turn, calm the body and nerves.
– Find a hobby that will take your mind off your pain.
Ask your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician for suggestions and make stress management a part of your treatment plan to overcome postherpetic neuropathy. But remember, healing is a process not an event. Be patient with yourself and start the healing process today.
We hope this gives you some tips to get started on the road to putting postherpetic neuropathy behind you. Working with your medical team, including your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, to design a nutrition and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.
For more information on recovering from shingles and postherpetic neuropathy, get our Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy”.
Postherpetic Neuropathy (Pain After Shingles) is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment
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Get Started on a proper neuropathic nutrition and diet plan today!
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.
One of the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12. Fight neuropathy by eating foods like meat, fish, and eggs that are all high in B vitamins. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry! There are many kinds of fortified cereals that contain substantial amounts of B vitamins as well (in addition to supplements, which we’ll talk about in a moment).
The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet high in fruits and vegetables for people who suffer from neuropathy. Fruits and 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 fruit and vegetables 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 a neuropathic diet, 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. Breakfast cereals, whole grains, vegetables 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. A variety of foods—skinless white-meat poultry, legumes, tofu, fish, and low-fat yogurt—are good sources of lean protein. If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are good for maintaining levels of Omega-3 acids, healthy fats the body needs but cannot produce on its own.
For specific 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. Consult your NeuropathyDR® specialist for the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants.
Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day…
So what are the best ways to monitor what you are eating? The easiest way is 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 nutritionist or qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.
Dietary supplements can also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration. Supplementing B Vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12, can help regulate your nutrient levels and prevent neuropathy symptoms. Supplementing with fish oil can help replenish Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important if you suffer from type-II diabetes. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for specific recommendations.
Contact us if you have any questions about a proper neuropathic nutrition and diet plan. We can help you find the information you need and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you with this and other neuropathy-related questions!
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As we wrap up our section on nutrition, I want to talk at some length about trace elements.
By definition, trace elements are those essential nutrients, which are necessary for life and health but only in the tiniest amounts.
As with most nutrients, too much is not better. Neither is consuming large amounts of a single nutrient unless there is a genetic or other bona fide medical reason to do so.
So today let’s talk about the nutrient chromium. If you’ve ever seen stainless steel or shiny car parts, you probably know what chromium is. Just like copper and manganese, it is a metal. What you may not know is that most human beings in modern cultures probably get the majority of their chromium diet intake through cooking with stainless steel!
Part of this of course is because most people do not consume a diet that is naturally high in chromium.
The safest forms for human nutrition (trivalent) come from whole foods and are found in things such as broccoli (one of the highest sources) as well as coffee, potato and apple skins and nuts.
As we talk about all the time, having a large component of your diet from whole foods, which contain things like peels and skins provide some significant insurance against trace mineral deficiencies including chromium deficiency.
What you may not know however is, chromium appears to be essential for our bodies handling of blood sugar. In one particular form, that is GTF, which is short for glucose tolerance factor, this trace element may help to improve insulin (the hormone which lowers blood sugar) efficiency and potentiate insulin.
Now there is conflicting scientific evidence here, however enough research indicates that GTF is probably the safest supplement form and best included in supplementation in relatively low amounts on the order of not more than 100 µg per day.
In other words trivalent chromium helps us to process energy, particular carbohydrates and sugars from our food efficiently.
If you’ve read my other books you also understand that poor blood sugar control in the form of either diabetes or metabolic syndrome can cause peripheral neuropathy and a whole host of health disorders.
So by now the impact of chromium nutrition should be rather obvious. Without adequate amounts in our diet we are at risk for developing health risks related to blood sugar management yes and perhaps ultimately even peripheral neuropathy!
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Chromium and Neuropathy-A Key Trace Element is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
With neuropathy, if you lack vitamin E, it will be impossible for your nerves to heal and function properly.
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for all of us, especially those who suffer from many forms of peripheral neuropathy.
As a member of the fat-soluble vitamin family that includes vitamins A, D, E and K, it is also lacking in many modern diets.
This is also one key nutrient that occurs in eight different forms; two are the most biologically active. The most common are gamma and alpha. In your diet this will be found primarily in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which basically means it helps prevent cells from damage due to “free radicals”, or cell destruction generated by some biochemical reactions.
Although Vitamin E is best known for its role as an antioxidant, it does have some profound roles in protecting the nervous system. Vitamin E is essential to helping healthy nerve function, as it helps us repair and protect myelin, the sheath that insulates our large nerves.
Healthy myelin is largely responsible for normal nerve conduction.
In fact, studies suggest that Vitamin E, when given to diabetics can improve nerve conduction significantly1.
But there are some precautions: First, there are no overnight miracles. Supplementation for months may be necessary to see a significant effect. Too much Vitamin E can cause the blood to thin; this has an additive effect for anyone who takes Coumadin and other anticoagulant medications, including aspirin. Be especially careful here!
In addition to seeds and nuts (almonds and sunflower in particular), there are some other good dietary sources of Vitamin E, such as palm oil, the principal ingredient in “Earth Balance”, a butter substitute and line of products we recommend. To a lesser extent, leafy green vegetables and avocadoes will provide some active vitamin E.
Generally, safe supplementation is in the range of 2 to 400 international units of mixed tocopherols for most patients.
There maybe other occasions where your physician may want to prescribe larger amounts of the d-alpha tocopherol form. This is sometimes done in other neurologic conditions including multiple sclerosis.
As we say all the time, there is no one single magic nutrient. But if you lack vitamin E, it will be impossible for your nerves to heal and function properly.
This is another reason why multiple nutrient components are necessary for effective health maintenance and treatment of disease; this is not a short-term proposition.
As always, with neuropathy it is important to work very carefully with your physicians and therapists and make sure that your progress is monitored.
1. 10.2337/diacare.21.11.1915 Diabetes Care November 1998 vol. 21 no. 11 1915-1918
Dietary antioxidant interventions in type 2 diabetes patients: a meta-analysis The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease March 1, 2011 11:62-68
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Vitamin E and Nerve Health is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists