If 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.
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.
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.