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6 Most Effective Diet Changes for Easing Nerve Pain

Healthy Diet Tips for NeuropathyIf you’re looking to attack the underlying causes of your neuropathy more aggressively, one of the best ways to do it is through diet and supplementation. Unlike prescription medications, which merely mask the pain, proper diet and supplementation help get your nerves the nutrients they need to recover and stay healthy.

For those suffering from diabetic neuropathy, diet is especially important since controlling blood sugar is the most effect way to treat the symptoms. If you’ve neglected your diet or simply just don’t know where to start – here are 6 changes you can make to your diet today to start improving the health of your nerves.

Limit Sugars

One of the biggest causes of neuropathy is diabetes. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is the most effective way to slow down or even reverse the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Since sugars are highly glycemic, they wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Additionally, sugars offer little to no nutritional value.

Avoid Refined Grains

Like added sugars, refined grains are high glycemic. Foods that rank high on the glycemic index raise blood sugar levels more than low or medium glycemic foods, making them a riskier food for those suffer from diabetic neuropathy. A few common refined grains to avoid include white or wheat bread, instant rice, enriched pasta and more.

Load up on B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most beneficial vitamins for nerve health. Besides maintaining the health of the nerves, one of its primary functions is to build up and maintain the myelin sheath – a protective layer of fat surround the nerves. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to a breaking down of this protective layer – resulting in the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Good food sources of vitamin B12 include sardines, salmon, low-fat yogurt and fortified cereals. Since vitamin B12 has such a complex structure, it can have a difficult time absorbing into our systems. In addition to eating a diet rich in B12, we recommend taking a daily supplement of Methyl-B12, which has a higher absorption rate.

Get Omega-3 & 6 Fatty Acids

Studies show that Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can have beneficial effects on peripheral nerve function. Additionally, these fatty acids can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with nerve damage. Good food sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids include flax seeds, walnuts, salmon and soybeans.

Supplement with Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is used to help treat peripheral neuropathy. It has been used to relieve pain sensations associated with neuropathy, as well as alleviate the burning feelings sometimes felt by sufferers. Additionally, this powerful antioxidant improves the flow of blood and oxygen to the nerves – helping ensure they get the vital nutrients they need to stay healthy.

For best results, look for a Stabilized Alpha Lipoic Acid (Stabilized R-ALA) supplement.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol contains toxins that can wreak havoc on your nerves and aggravate the symptoms of your neuropathy. It can also block the absorption of key nutrients required for healthy nerves – including vitamin B12. In cases of heavy consumption over extended periods of time, alcohol can cause peripheral neuropathy. If drinking, limit your consumption and be sure to eat food or snacks while drinking.

Following these six tips will put you on the right path to a diet and supplementation plan to help ease your symptoms. As you begin to make changes to your diet, consult your doctor to see which changes are most important for your situation. As with anything, the effects may not show up overnight – but with a little time and patience you will begin to notice an improvement.

2 Ways Oxidative Stress Hurts Your Nerves & How to Stop It

Neuropathy foot painWhen it comes to the health of your nerves there are a number of potential threats to their health. Among them is the threat of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between harmful toxins called free radicals and the antioxidants the body needs to fight them. If left unneutralized, these destructive free radicals can wreak havoc on the body and the nerves.

Here are two ways oxidative stress is hurting your nerves:

1. Kills Nerve Cells

Researchers have identified various ways in which oxidative stress damages and destroys nerve cells within the body. As a result of this damage, proper nerve function is compromised and can result in numbness, tingling, pain or a number of other unpleasant sensations – typically in the arms, hands, legs and feet.

2. Demyelination

The myelin sheath is a layer of protective tissue around the nerves that helps maintain the integrity of nerve signals as well as protect the nerves from damage. Oxidative stress can weaken – and in some cases destroy – the myelin sheath. Demyelination – or damage to the myelin sheath – is directly related to chronic diseases such as peripheral neuropathy.

What Can I Do?

To neutralize harmful free radicals and combat the negative effects of oxidative stress on your nerves – getting sufficient antioxidants is the key. Antioxidants scour the body in search of free radicals and neutralize them before they can damage or destroy cells.

One powerful antioxidant for nerve health is alpha lipoic acid – which is available in supplement form. This powerful antioxidant has the unique ability to regenerate itself as well as other antioxidants. It also improves blood and oxygen flow to the nerves and has been shown to help relieve the pain and burning sensations associated with neuropathy. When shopping for an alpha lipoic acid supplement, look for stabilized R-Alpha Lipoic Acid as it is up to 12 times more effect that non-stabilized forms.

Besides supplementation, diet can be a great source of antioxidants. Some of the foods with the richest antioxidant content are blueberries, beans, nuts, dark green veggies and fish. Many of these foods are also rich in other nerve boosting nutrients such as b vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium.

Getting a sufficient amount of antioxidants is key to fighting oxidative stress and preventing a number of chronic conditions – including neuropathy. Regardless of the cause of your neuropathy, antioxidants will help boos the health of your nerves by protecting your nerve cells and surrounding tissue, maintaining the health of your myelin sheath and improving the flow of blood and oxygen to the nerves.

4 Tips To Jumpstart Your Fight Against Nerve Pain

Doctor in front of a bright backgroundFor those trying to cope with a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, the road ahead can seem littered with uncertainties. Although there is no “one-size fits all” approach to coping with the disease, there are certain steps you can and should take that can improve your quality of life and give you your best shot at ultimately reversing the effects of your nerve damage.

Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or have suffered for years, here are four tips you should consider when formulating a plan to combat your peripheral neuropathy:

 

1. Be Your Own Best Advocate

First and foremost, find a doctor that is interested in helping you determine the underlying cause of your nerve pain and then be your own best advocate by providing the doctor with the information he or she needs to make a difference. As much as we wish that doctors could make a 100% accurate diagnosis after only a few short conversations and tests, the reality is that they are human and can make mistakes.

Do your homework beforehand. Keep a daily health journal to help identify possible causes of aggravation (there are plenty of health journal apps that make doing this a breeze). Know your medical history and any prescriptions, over the counter medicines or supplements you’ve been taking. Being prepared with this information can give your doctor valuable insight into your life and potential causes of your pain.

 

2. Embrace Nutrition

Your battle with nerve pain can and should involve more than just medications. Nutrition can play a key role in slowing and even reversing the effects of your neuropathy. For those suffering from diabetic neuropathy, diet and nutrition become even more important as managing blood sugar levels is the most effective way to reverse the effects of the disease.

Regardless of the cause of your neuropathy, your nerves rely on various vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Ensuring your diet is rich in these nutrients or getting them through supplements will give your nerves the boost they need to stay healthy.

Learn more about 4 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Killing Your Nerves

 

3. Explore Alternative Treatments

There are a number of alternative treatments that have helped others to improve their quality of life and ease some of the symptoms of their neuropathy. A few popular alternative treatments include acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, massage, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, biofeedback and more.

These treatments offer a chance at relief without the negative side effects associated with prescriptions. Like any treatment, alternative treatments can produce different results in different people – so don’t be afraid to explore multiple methods until you find the right one for you.

 

4. Stay As Active As Possible

Exercise promotes the release of pain blocking endorphins as well as improves the flow of blood in the vessels. By improving the flow of blood to the nerves in the legs and feet, exercise can help rebuild damaged nerves and maintain the health of undamaged nerves.

For many, especially those suffering from neuropathy in the feet, the pain associated with their nerve damage can make exercise difficult – if not impossible. If your situation allows, make physical activity part of your daily routine. Low impact exercises are a great alternative for those whose ability to exercise is limited by their pain.

Though the road can be long and full of uncertainties, one should not give up hope. Many neuropathies can be slowed and even reversed over time, but it often takes consistent effort and patience. What tips or advice would you add to the list above? We’d love to hear from you! Post your tips on our Facebook Page.

How this Mushroom Can Repair Damaged Nerves

mushroom-lions-mane

By Lebrac (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0],via Wikimedia Commons

For anyone suffering from damage to the peripheral nerves, vitamin B12 supplementation is critical to promoting nerve regeneration. Methyl-B12 has been shown to help regenerate nerves and promote the rebuilding of the myelin sheath – a protective coating around the nerves. While B-12 still reins king, researchers have recently linked yet another substance to the regeneration of nerves and the myelin sheath. This link may prove beneficial to those suffering from peripheral neuropathy

Hericium erinaceus, also known as Lion’s Mane mushroom, was the subject of a recent study by researchers from the Department of Anatomy at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. The purpose was to study the ability of aqueous extract of the mushroom in the treatment of nerve injury following peroneal nerve crush in Sprague-Dawley rats. The results showed that hericium erinaceus was capable of promoting peripheral nerve regeneration after injury.

The regeneration capabilities of Lion’s Mane seem to be a result of two different types of Nerve Growth Factors (NFGs) found in the mushroom. Nerve growth factors are small proteins that are essential for the growth, maintenance and survival of certain nerve cells. The two classes of NFG’s contained within Lion’s Mane are hericenones and erinacines.

In addition to rebuilding nerves and regenerating the myelin sheath, the mushroom has the potential to improve mood and cognition. In a 2010 study, researchers in Japan discovered that after 4-weeks of hericium erinaceus intake, depression and anxiety levels in a control group of patients were significantly lower than the placebo group.

Two additional studies by researchers in Japan have shown Lion’s Mane to have similar effects on improving memory and concentration. A 2009 study showed that patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment who were treated with Lion’s Mane for 16 weeks showed significantly increases scores on a cognitive function scale when compared with the placebo group. A 2011 study on mice showed the mushroom to improve short-term memory and visual recognition.

Though more research is forthcoming, the existing studies show real promise for the mushroom’s healing and regenerative capabilities. For those plagued by the symptoms of damaged peripheral nerves, it could be yet another natural approach to rebuilding healthy nerves and easing the pain and discomfort of peripheral neuropathy.

5 Natural Treatments for Neuropathy

2011-09-07-1402-22(54).jpgFor those dealing with the painful effects of nerve damage, finding alternative treatments can open new doors in the search for relief. While prescription medications simply mask the pain, natural treatments often treat the underlying causes. In many cases, this can result in more lasting relief for the sufferer.

Many people have experienced beneficial results by following complementary or alternative medicine. When done as a part of a multi-pronged treatment approach, natural methods have shown great promise. We’ve pulled together a list of 5 natural approaches to treating nerve pain that we’ve seen provide relief for others. Lets take a look:

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves insertion of thin needles into the various points in the body. Though it can seem a bit unsettling to have someone stick needles into you, the procedure is safe and pain-free. It has proved effective with many patients suffering from nerve damage. You should expect to attend more than one sitting before experiencing any noticeable improvement.

2. Herbal Supplements

Herbs like evening oat straw, passionflower, and feverfew can be effective in reducing the pain due to neuropathy. Certain herbs may interact with drugs that you may be taking, so make sure to discuss them with your doctor prior to use.

3. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid has been in use for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy in Europe for many years. It is an antioxidant that has the special ability to regenerate itself and other antioxidants – including nerve-boosting B vitamins. Alpha-lipoic acid helps improve blood flow to the nerves and has been shown to help relieve pain, burning and numbness associated with Neuropathy. When shopping for Alpha-Lipoic Acid, be sure to look for Stabilized R-ALA as it has been shown to be up to 12 times more effective than other varieties.

4. Amino Acids

Amino acids like acetyl-L-carnitine can improve peripheral neuropathy symptoms for people with diabetes and those who have been through chemotherapy. In an article reviewing the various studies done on the effects of this amino acid on Neuropathy patients, authors from the Washington University Pain Center noted that “L-acetylcarnitine is a promising compound for the treatment of painful neuropathies for its dual mechanisms, which include a significant analgesic effect after chronic administration and the ability to promote peripheral nerve regeneration and to improve vibration perception.”

5. Vitamin B12

B vitamins are important for maintaining healthy nerves. Vitamin B12, in particular, is important as it helps build up and maintain the myelin sheath – a layer of tissue that provides a protective coating for the nerves. In the event that the sheath is damaged, Vitamin B12 plays a key role in repairing the damage. In addition to maintaining the myelin sheath – vitamin B12 can help in the regeneration of nerve cells when taken in high doses. We use 2000 mcg of methyl-B12 in our support formula.

These are just a few of the various natural treatments and medicines available to those suffering from nerve pain. Whether your diagnosis is recent or you’ve suffered for years, exploring these and other natural options may provide a pathway to new relief and new hope.

Have you tried these or other natural options? What natural approaches have worked for you? We’d love to hear from you. Share your tips with us on our Facebook Page.

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The statements made on our websites have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Our products are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Neuropathy Treatment Group is not affiliated with any of the studies mentioned on the website. The testimonials on this website are individual cases and do not guarantee that you will get the same results.