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jimmi24 has been a member since March 8th 2011, and has created 131 posts from scratch.

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7 Potential Causes of Your Neuropathy

Pain in the handThe peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) to different parts of your body, including your arms, legs, face and internal organs. These nerves carry messages from the brain to the rest of your body – and are essential for controlling different functions such as walking, moving the arms, etc.

For those suffering from peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage causes the peripheral nerves to malfunction and disrupts their ability to properly send and receive signals. The effects of this damage can range from tingling and numbness to sharp, stabbing pains – usually in the hands or feet.

Determining the cause of your neuropathy is an important step in building a treatment plan to slow or even reverse the damage. There are several potential culprits that can cause damage to the peripheral nerves. Lets take a look at 7 of the common culprits that cause Peripheral Neuropathy:

 1. Diabetes

One of the most common causes of Peripheral Neuropathy is diabetes. More than half of those that suffer from diabetes will develop some kind of neuropathy. If your neuropathy is caused by diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels is the most important thing you can do to stop and reverse the damage.

2. Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases, which occur when the immune system attacks and damages different parts of the body, can damage your nerves. Some autoimmune diseases that have been linked to neuropathy are Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Guilliain Barre syndrome.

3. Vitamin Deficiency

Certain vitamin deficiencies can lead to nerve damage. Among the various vitamins that support nerve health, B vitamins are perhaps the most essential. Deficiencies of vitamins B1, B6, B12, D, E and niacin can all contribute to the symptoms peripheral neuropathy.

4. Alcoholism

Excessive alcohol consumption can hurt the nerves on two fronts. For one, alcohol contains toxins that – when consumed often and in greater amounts – can damage the nerves. Secondly, alcohol blocks essential vitamins and nutrients from absorbing into our systems. As a result, some of the vitamin deficiencies mentioned above can develop – causing further damage to the nerves.

5. Physical Trauma

Accidents or physical traumas can also cause peripheral neuropathy. As the peripheral nerves extend to the furthest reaches of our bodies – they are especially vulnerable to physical damage. Trauma such as car accidents, sports injuries, or falls can put damage the nerves. Consistent pressure on the nerves can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.

6. Chemotherapy

It is estimated that around 30-40% of chemotherapy patients become afflicted with neuropathy. While the drugs used in chemotherapy are designed to attack and kill cancer cells, they can sometimes damage nerve cells as well. In many cases, the symptoms will subside within 3-6 months of the chemotherapy treatment. For more information on cancer-related neuropathy, check out this infographic.

7. Tumors & Infections

Tumors can grow on or around the nerves, putting pressure on them. In some cases this can lead to nerve damage and neuropathy related symptoms. Infections can also wreak havoc on the peripheral nerves. A few common infections linked to neuropathies are Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, diphtheria, hepatitis C, shingles and HIV.

A few other potential causes include bone marrow disorders, genetic disorders, kidney diseases, liver diseases, hypothyroidism and exposure to toxic metals or chemicals. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy – such as numbness, tingling, burning or sharp pains in the hands and feet – meeting with your doctor to determine the underlying cause is an important first step in treating the symptoms and addressing the problem.

4 Nutrient Deficiencies That are Killing Your Nerves

Hungry man waiting for his meal over empty bowlIf someone had walked up to me ten years ago and asked me what I was doing to maintain the health of my nerves – I would have given them a blank stare. Sadly, for most people – my old self included – nerve health is an afterthought (if even a thought at all). Few understand the threats to their nerve health or the steps that can (and should) be taken to protect them.

Among the various threats to the health of our nerves are nutritional deficiencies. Though we tend to associate vitamin or nutrient deficiencies with underdeveloped countries – the reality is that they affect developed countries and populations as well. The advent of processed foods and ready made meals with low nutritional values (empty calories) has led to quite staggering numbers of nutritional deficiencies, even in countries like the United States.

A few common deficiencies that can have an adverse affect on your nerves include magnesium deficiency as well as a deficiency of vitamins B2, B12 and D – among other. Lets take a closer look at these four deficiencies and how they affect your nerves:

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can cause the nerves in both your peripheral and central nervous systems to act erratically. As these systems become overactive, the nerves become easily excited and more sensitive to pain. Getting enough magnesium (recommended daily dosage is between 310-420 mg/day for adults) helps reduce transmission of unnecessary pain sensations – thereby giving our nervous systems some much needed calm and promoting the health of our nerves.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin, is important for nerve health primarily because of what it does to help facilitate our bodies’ use of other important B vitamins. Riboflavin helps change the chemical makeup of other B vitamins so that they can be used by the body. According to researchers at Oregon State University, “Riboflavin deficiency can affect multiple pathways in the metabolism of vitamin B6, folate, niacin, and iron.” Without riboflavin, these other vitamins are rendered useless.

Recommended daily allowance of riboflavin is at least 1.3 mg/day.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is perhaps the most important vitamin for nerve health. It supports the health and function of nerves in various ways, one of which is by maintaining the health of the myelin sheath – the protective covering around our nerves. It also helps make DNA – the genetic makeup of our cells!

Deficiencies in vitamin B12 have been linked to neuropathy. If our bodies do not get enough of it, the coating that protects our nerves can begin to deteriorate – exposing the nerves and increasing the chance of pain. Besides weakness, numbness and tingling – another serious symptom of b12 deficiency is the impairment of brain function. Proper supplementation of b12 is critical to reversing this and other effects of deficiency.

For adults, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg/day.

Vitamin D

If you suffer from diabetes there’s a good chance you’ll experience the symptoms of neuropathy. According to the National Institutes of Health about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Recent research has shown that a deficiency of vitamin D can lead to a greater risk of diabetes or complications associated with diabetes, including neuropathy. If your neuropathy was caused by diabetes, getting enough vitamin D can be an important step in lowering your risk of complications.

Besides lowering the risk of diabetes and the complications associated with it, vitamin D helps promote the health of your nervous system by maintaining proper calcium levels in the body and by promoting the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin – which can help boost mood!

For adults, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 IU/day.

Whether you suffer from Neuropathy or not, looking out for the health of your nerves through proper nutrition and supplementation should not be ignored. For those currently suffering from the crippling effects of nerve pain, working with a doctor to test for nutritional deficiencies that may lead to more effective treatments and a possible reversing of the damage.

Did a nutritional deficiency contribute to your Neuropathy? Share you story on our Facebook Page.

3 Secrets To Restoring Nerve Health Naturally

Womans hand in painLiving with nerve pain can make even the strongest of souls feel helpless. In extreme cases it can result in a drastic change in quality of life and leave its victims feeling as if there is no hope for relief. However, according to Mayo Specialist Dr. David Martin, “Many neuropathies do get better over time. It takes time and doesn’t always happen, but you should never give up hope.”

So what can you do to help your nerves heal and promote relief? Besides masking the pain with prescriptions, there are number of natural approaches that you can take to encourage healing and renew the health of your nerves. Here are a just a few:

Protect the Myelin Sheath

The myelin sheath is a protective coating of fat around your nerves. When this coating around the nerves becomes damaged or weakened you may experiences symptoms such as chronic pain and muscle weakness.

In order to help maintain or rebuild the myelin sheath your diet should include sufficient amounts of vitamin b12, vitamin d and Omega 3 fatty acids. These vitamins and nutrients can help maintain healthy nerves and rebuild damaged ones. When looking for a vitamin b12 supplement, we recommend b12 as methylcobalamine as opposed to the cheaper form known as cyanocobalamine. Methyl-B12, when taken in higher doses, has been shown to be more bioavailable and promote the regeneration of nerves.

Exercise the Nervous System

Another way to keep your nerves in top shape is by exercising them. We’re not talking gym exercises, but rather simple “activities” that require fine motor skills. For example, drawing or writing on a piece of paper for 10-15 minutes a day exercises various nerves and receptors as well as concentration on your part – all of which can keep your nervous system in good shape.

Another “exercise” worth doing is regular stretching. Nerve pain often causes us to limit the use of the affected areas – usually our hands or feet. As we limit the use of those appendages, the surrounding muscles begin to weaken and degenerate. Simple stretches done on a regular basis can help maintain muscle strength – which reduces muscle weakness and can also improve the health of nerves.

Don’t Neglect Sleep

In today’s busy world, sleep often takes a back seat to more pressing issues. Unfortunately, neglecting sleep has numerous adverse effects on our health – including the health of your nervous system. Researchers recently discovered that restful sleep helps promote the formation of dendritic spines, which are formed on the end of nerve cells and help pass electrical signals from one neuron to another. The passing of these signals is especially important in terms of cognitive health as they help maintain memory, concentration, mood and more.

As you cope with your nerve pain and look for new approaches or treatments, remember that time and patience are two key elements to dealing with nerve damage. Meeting with a doctor and determining the underlying cause is the most important step you can take. Following your doctor’s advice as well as focusing on the suggestions above can help make a difference – but it will take time.

What additional approaches have helped you cope with or reduce your pain? Share your success stories with us on our Facebook Page.

Why Vitamin D Is Critical for Nerve Pain

3d Illustration of a nerve cell on a colored background with ligAs the days get shorter and the colder temperatures keep us inside – we face a higher risk of not getting enough of vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, the best way to get vitamin D is through direct exposure of the skin to the sun. Unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with mild winters, the winter months aren’t very conducive to stepping outside for a bit of sun. This is where vitamin D supplementation can fill the gap.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vitamin D deficiency affects roughly 32% of the population. Some experts suspect that the number may be closer to 50%. Symptoms of deficiency include depression, aching bones & joints, muscle weakness, excessive sweating and more.

The most common cause of neuropathy today is diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increase risk of diabetes as well as diabetic complications, such as neuropathy. For patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy, getting adequate amounts of vitamin D can help in the prevention and treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In addition to helping in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, vitamin D offers other important benefits to our nerves. In order for the nervous system to function properly, it requires calcium levels be maintained within a very narrow range. Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining these levels and allowing the body to utilize the calcium effectively.

Sunlight exposure and vitamin D intake have also been linked to the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Levels of serotonin fall with less exposure to sunlight – which for many can lead to seasonal depression. Studies show that those with low levels of vitamin D have an increased risk of depression.

As autumn gives way to winter and your exposure to sun becomes more limited, getting enough vitamin D is critical. If the winter weather doesn’t allow for exposure to the sun – find a daily vitamin D supplement to help fill the void. A combination of vitamin D supplementation and limited exposure to the sun will help your body get the vitamin D it needs to support your bones, muscles and nervous system.

Did you know that our Neuropathy Support Formula contains 125% of your daily value of Vitamin D – as well as a host of other ingredients to help relieve your nerve pain? Learn more about our Neuropathy Support Formula Supplement.

3 Tactics For Easing Stress-Induced Nerve Pain

stressed woman screamingEvery year, around October, I start seeing Christmas décor on store shelves and am reminded that the holiday season is slowly creeping up. To be clear, I love the holidays. I love the food, the time spent with family, the gifts, etc. – all good things. I am painfully aware, however, that with the holidays comes an increased level of stress and I suspect I am not alone in feeling increased levels of anxiety during the season.

There are a number of stress factors that are magnified during the holidays. Whether it’s finances, finding the perfect gift for a loved one (or many loved ones), or having to spend time with that uncle you just can’t stand – stress can build up quickly. For those already dealing with the pain from Neuropathy, this stress can unfortunately aggravate the pain and make our symptoms worse.

Knowing how stress affects your body and how to manage it effectively can help minimize its impact. Within our peripheral nervous system is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When stress occurs, the SNS triggers our body’s fight or flight response. Through a release of stress hormones, the body experiences various changes including increased heart rate, dilation of blood vessels, digestive changes and a spike in blood glucose levels. The more stress we experience, the more wear and tear we put on our body through this stress response – weakening many functions and potentially resulting in illness, depression and pain.

To minimize the impact of stress on your neuropathy (and health, in general), create a plan for coping with and managing it in constructive ways. Here are three simple tactics you can use to relieve stress before it builds up to a tipping point:

Identify Positive Stress Relievers

Whether we recognize it or not, we all have methods for relieving stress that we’re already doing. Unfortunately, not all of our methods are positive. For example, stress eating might help us to feel better but ultimately can negatively impact our health. Identify stress relievers that can alleviate stress without negatively impacting you in other ways. It may be exercise, a hobby, reading a book, etc. Find something that allows your mind to relax and unwind and make it a daily habit, if possible.

Eliminate the Excess

In today’s world we’ve managed to make ourselves busier than ever before. For many, being “busy” is a badge of honor. Unfortunately, our packed schedules and daily doings often lead to unneeded stress. Simplify your daily schedule as much as possible. Pay attention to which things elevate your stress and if it’s within your ability to limit or eliminate them from your life, do it.

Breathe The Stress Away

Deep breathing can help restore calm to the nervous system and relieve anxiety. More often than not, when we’re under stress our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow – thereby reducing the amount of oxygen being pulled into the lungs. The body needs oxygen in the blood and if we ignore poor breathing it can have an adverse effect on our health.

Focus on taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and then exhaling slowly through the mouth. For optimal calming effect, exhale for a count or two longer than your inhale. For example, inhale to the count of three and then exhale to the count of four. If you want to take it one step further, try yoga, which combines both breathing and stretching and can have immensely positive results on both body and mind.

Whatever the source of your stress, managing it and turning it into a positive will not only minimize its impact on your Neuropathy but will also reduce your risk of developing many of the other health risks associated with stress. How do you manage stress in your life? Share your experience below or leave a comment on our Facebook Page.

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