Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, said it quite well when he stated “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He seems to have understood very clearly that the foods we put into our bodies can have a profound impact on our health. For those suffering from chronic illnesses such as peripheral neuropathy, diet and nutrition can play an important role in slowing the damage.
Our bodies have a long list of vitamins and nutrients they need in order to perform their various functions. Usually, we’re able to get all of these nutrients through our diet. Occasionally, however, our diet can leave us deficient of the nutrients our bodies need. It is important that we know which vitamins and nutrients are most beneficial to combating the symptoms of Neuropathy so that we can make a concerted effort to include them in our diets.
Here are 5 vitamins and nutrients everyone afflicted with nerve pain should be getting:
The B vitamins are an important class of vitamins. They convert carbohydrates into glucose, thus fueling our body with the energy it needs. They are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals and can slow the aging process. Most importantly for those with Peripheral Neuropathy, the B vitamins play a critical role in maintaining the health and normal functioning of the nervous system. Among the most important B vitamins for nerve health are B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12.
13% of Americans are vitamin D deficient and as many as 30% more are on the brink of deficiency. For those with this deficiency, symptoms can include pain, muscle weakness, depression and cognitive difficulties. These benefits include reducing the risk of insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, regulating the immune system, and improving or maintaining mental clarity.
Vitamin E is critical for nerve health. According to the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, “vitamin E is an essential nutrient for maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the developing human nervous system.” A deficiency of vitamin E may cause peripheral neuropathy. This powerful antioxidant protects cells from damage and destruction cause by free radicals in the body. It is also important for reducing cholesterol and lowering the risk of cancer.
Approximately two billion people across the world suffer from zinc deficiency, which has been linked to neuropathic pain. Low levels of Zinc can also affect our body’s ability to fight inflammation. Zinc helps regulate the inflammatory process by obstructing some of the proteins within the body that cause inflammation. One study by the University of Sydney showed that supplementation of at least 45 mg/day of zinc consistently reduced levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine.
Zinc is also well known for boosting the immune system. Zinc supports various cells that fight and destroy infection in the body. Maintaining sufficient levels of Zinc is essential to a healthy and strong immune system.
Magnesium deficiency is rampant across the United States, with some estimates as high as 80% of Americans being deficient. Magnesium is an important nutrient for calming the nervous system and relaxing the muscles. This calming & relaxing effect helps reduce sensations of pain by the nerves and eases muscle discomfort and pain. Magnesium is also effective for reducing anxiety and promoting better sleep.
Regardless of the degree or cause of your neuropathic pain, these five vitamins and nutrients are critical for restoring and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Combined with other treatment approaches, diet and nutrition can help improve your outlook and quality of life. How do you incorporate these vitamins and nutrients into your diet? Share you comments with us below or post them to our Facebook Page.