Do Consider A Vegan Diet
I know the idea of cutting out cheese, meat and milk seems difficult or even strange, but dont knock it until you try it! Eating a low-fat, vegan diet can improve your blood sugar. Always a positive for patients with nerve pain. If youre struggling with the idea of a vegan diet, ask yourself one thing: Do I want to live pain-free? Yes!
Understand Your Relationship To Gluten If Celiac Disease Caused Your Nerve Damage
Celiac disease is a risk factor for neuropathy, so youll want to be screened for the autoimmune condition if you arent sure of the cause behind your symptoms. Thats because diet is the primary management and treatment tool for celiac. Namely, people with this condition must avoid the protein gluten, which is found in certain types of bread and even makeup products.
Celiac involves damage to the small intestine caused by extreme intolerance to gluten, and it can result in malabsorption of vital nutrients that then lead to nerve damage. Furthermore, gluten sensitivity, which is far less severe, is also linked to neuropathic symptoms, so youll want to make sure youre screened for this condition if you want to get to the bottom of what is causing neuropathy in your case.
How A Few Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Relieve Your Nerve Pain
Stated bluntly, nerve pain can debilitate you if you dont get treatment. Any number of factors can cause your pain, including:
- Diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cancer or other major illness
- Injury to the brain or spine
- Poor blood supply to the nerves
- Carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica
- Tumors that press on your nerves, causing pain
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Do Artificial Sweeteners Kill Brain Cells
Recent study showed that excessive intake of artificial sweetener triggered large number of free radical, specifically oxygen and nitrogen, which caused alteration in the antioxidant system. This alteration caused the induction of oxidative stress leading to the cellular level damage of brain cells .
Best Foods For Nerve Repair
Since nerve damage is most commonly caused by diabetes, choosing foods that are low in sugar and help to control blood sugar levels are best. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends getting control of your blood sugar levels and eliminating alcohol from your diet.
You may have low levels of B vitamins if you are experiencing peripheral neuropathy. Choosing foods high in B vitamins could help your symptoms improve. B12 is one such vitamin that is often low, especially if you eat a plant-based diet without animal products. Foods that are good for nerve repair and high in vitamin B12, according to the USDA, are:
- Fortified juice
- Unsweetened soy milk
Your health care provider may also recommend vitamin B12 shots if you are experiencing low levels and cannot get enough through diet alone.
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy recommends some nutrition fundamentals and foods suitable for nerve repair. Keeping your diet focused on whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as getting plenty of high-quality protein, will help.
The foundation also encourages consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and lowering saturated and trans fatty acids. Choosing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and oils in place of saturated or trans fats will help. It is also essential to consume foods and drinks that are low in sugar or other sweeteners.
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Foods That You Should Avoid If You Have Peripheral Neuropathy
Much like many other health conditions, peripheral neuropathy can be controlled using proper diet and nutrition as a tool. One of the best ways to manage peripheral neuropathy symptoms is to manage any medical conditions that put you at risk. This can include controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes or controlling alcohol intake if that is linked to a health problem. Effective neuropathy treatment is often paired with dietary guidelines that can protect your health. In addition to this monitoring, general nutrition advice is often good for the body and helps to prevent illness from becoming a problem. Read on for a list of foods that may be problematic if you already suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
Fish Mercury And Neuropathy
Fish supply essential fats that your body needs to function properly, and while its recommended that you eat at least two servings per week to reap health benefits, you must exercise caution if you have neuropathy. Certain fish are high in mercury, a toxin that at elevated levels can damage nerves and cause or worsen neuropathy.
Large fish live longer and accumulate more mercury than smaller fish. King mackerel, orange roughy, swordfish, tuna, and grouper are high in mercury. If you have neuropathy, choose low-mercury fish like:
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Foods That Are Great For Diabetic Neuropathy
One of the best and natural ways to help your diabetic neuropathy is through the foods you eat. Filling your diet with foods rich in phytonutrients, omega 3 fatty acids, whole grains, vitamin B-12 and lipoid acid will help with proper nerve functions. So the more conscious you are of what you put into your body, the more aware youll be of how it affects your body. Dont worry, were not advising you to reinvent your diet, nor are we going to list what offers the most benefits , we simply want to shed light on how helpful some common foods can be, and what you should be incorporating more of into your diet.
Here are 5 categories of foods to enrich your diet:
What Happens When Neuropathy Gets Worse
If neuropathy is left untreated and it gets worse, the numbness, tingling, and pain will get worse over time. Also, the damaged nerves will continue to send wrong and confusing signals to the brain more frequently. You may start to feel pain when there is nothing causing the pain. You may not also feel pain even when you have an injury or something that should cause pain, due to the wrong signals sent to the brain. You may be at risk of developing potentially serious complications, such as a foot ulcer that could get infected. If not adequately and timely treated, the foot ulcer could lead to tissue death. In severe cases, the affected foot could be amputated.
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Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency
Peripheral neuropathy can also be caused by vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Vitamin B12 is important for maintaining nerve health, and a study published in 2014 by Continuum shows that a lack of this vitamin can lead to peripheral neuropathy. This nutrient is readily available in animal meats, eggs and dairy, making severe deficiencies uncommon. People who consume a vegan diet or have an underlying medical condition, such as Crohn’s disease, are at the highest risk.
Deficiencies in vitamin E, vitamin B1 and the mineral copper can also lead to peripheral neuropathy. These deficiencies can occur from malnutrition or as a side effect of treatment for an underlying medical condition. Too much or too little vitamin B6 can also contribute to peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is searing neuropathic facial pain that originates in the trigeminal nerve, located just behind the mandible near the temporomandibular joint. This nerve has three branches that transmit sensations from the face and inside the mouth to the brain.
There are a few different potential causes of trigeminal neuralgia, including:
- Pressure on the trigeminal nerve, usually by a blood vessel exiting the brain stem, which wears away the protective coating around the nerve
- Multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes deterioration of the myelin sheath
- Trigeminal nerve compression from a tumor
- Arteriovenous malformation
- Injury to the trigeminal nerve
This neuropathic facial pain can take many forms. Some patients experience sharp, electric jolts that last only a few seconds. Others may have a constant ache or burning feeling. There may be days, weeks, or months without pain, followed by painful episodes of varying lengths of time.
Pain is usually confined to one side of the face, although some patients will have pain across the whole face. This disorder is most common is women and occurs most frequently in people over 50.
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What Types Of Peripheral Nerves Are There And What Do They Do
The peripheral nervous system is made up of three types of nerves, each with an important role in keeping your body healthy and functioning properly.
- Sensory nerves carry messages from your five senses through your spinal cord to your brain. For example, a sensory nerve would communicate to your brain information about objects you hold in your hand, like pain, temperature, and texture.
- Motor nerves travel in the opposite direction of sensory nerves. They carry messages from your brain to your muscles. They tell your muscles how and when to contract to produce movement. For example, to move your hand away from something hot.
- Autonomic nerves are responsible for body functions that occur outside of your direct control, such as breathing, digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, bladder control and sexual arousal. The autonomic nerves are constantly monitoring and responding to external stresses and bodily needs. For instance, when you exercise, your body temperatures increases. The autonomic nervous system triggers sweating to prevent your body’s temperature from rising too high.
The type of symptoms you feel depend on the type of nerve that is damaged.
Green And Leafy Vegetables
Green vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. It is not only rich in Vitamin A, but also vitamin B, another micronutrient which is alpha-lipoic acid. This nutrient is important for better functioning and helps relieve neuropathic pain. It improves the regeneration of nerves. Some excellent sources of green leafy vegetables are- broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, etc. Consuming it daily will aid in curing neuropathic pain.
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Pesticides & Preservatives On Produce
Fruits and veggies can, unfortunately, come to us loaded with toxins, as we North Americans have a tendency to drench our produce with dangerous chemicals. The frustrating thing is that even when done with pure intentions, the chemicals that are designed to protect our produce from pests may actually doing us the most harm.
You see, poisons we designed to kill pests like rodents and bugs are also pretty good at harming humans. And the skin on your favorite fruit or vegetable is actually a lot like your skin its porous, and so it absorbs chemicals and compounds to which its exposed. So while washing your fruits and veggies before eating them is always a good idea, there are a certain amount of residual toxins that quite simply cannot be scrubbed out. This is one of the reasons why its best to go organic, whenever possible.
Another problem with produce is that many of the fruits and veggies we love so much get treated with chemicals that are designed to keep them looking better for longer, essentially increasing their shelf life once they reach the store. Produce at large chain supermarkets are typically transported a good long way before they get to the shelf where you pick them up, so they have to be given every advantage possible when it comes to staying fresh for as long as they can.
Unfortunately, the chemicals that help them do this may be adding more toxic load on your body, and therefore more inflammation.
The good news? Theres an easy workaround.
Trans Fats And Saturated Fats
Many of the tasty snacks and foods that we enjoy rely on a pretty heavy amount of oils and fats in their cooking process. While this might not seem to be a huge issue at first, the reality is that these foods are really damaging to the nervous system, if enough of them are consumed over time.
Some foods use something known as hydrogenation, which refers to a process by which oils that start as a liquid are converted into more solid fats. We mostly see this in things like shortening and margarine, but the process is used in lots of snack foods and other fatty treats.
Your body responds to these foods by producing increased cholesterol, which, over time, essentially compromises the integrity of your blood vessels. They also inflame your arterial walls, which triggers more systemic instances of inflammation, as well.
All of these conditions are ripe for peripheral neuropathy, which means that these trans and saturated fats get added to the no-no list to avoid damage to your nerves.
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What Is The Difference Between Neuropathy And Peripheral Neuropathy
Neuropathy is the general term used to describe damage of nerves while peripheral neuropathy is a type of neuropathy that involves the damage of peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves send sensory information from the central nervous system to the other parts of the body. The peripheral nerves also send sensory information from the other parts of the body to the central nervous system.
Can Neuropathy Be Prevented
You can reduce your risk of neuropathy by treating existing medical problems and adopting healthy living habits. Here are some tips:
- Manage your diabetes: If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your doctor.
- Take care of your feet: If you have diabetes or poor blood flow, its important to check your feet every day. Look for sores, blisters, redness, calluses, or dry or cracking skin. Keep your toenails clipped apply lotion to clean, dry feet and wear closed-toe, well-fitting shoes. Protect your feet from heat and cold. Dont walk barefoot.
- Keep your floors free of items that could cause you to trip and fall. Make sure all electrical cords are tucked away along the baseboards of walls and rooms are well lit.
- Stop smoking: Smoking constricts blood vessels that supply nutrients to nerves. Without proper nutrition, neuropathy symptoms can worsen.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle:Eat a balanced diet, stay within your ideal weight range, exercise several times a week and keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum. These healthy living tips keep your muscles strong and supply your nerves with the oxygen and nutrients they need to remain healthy.
- Review your medications: Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications and over-the-counter products you take. Ask if any are known to cause or worsen neuropathy. If so, ask if a different medication can be tried.
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Is Peripheral Neuropathy Causing Your Pain
In addition to pain, those with peripheral neuropathy may experience:
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to touch
Aside from diabetes, a variety of risk factors figure into the development of peripheral neuropathy, including:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
- Physical trauma due to accidents and injuries
- Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, and other chronic infections
- Exposure to toxic substances, such as lead and mercury
Its especially important to resolve peripheral neuropathy sooner rather than later, when it will be far more difficult to cure. Bring any concerns and questions to Dr. Berkower, who can put you on a path to wellness.
What Foods Trigger Neuropathy
Neuropathy from diabetes will worsen with certain foods and drinks that cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Triggers include excessively salty food, too, not just sugary goods. When in doubt, fruit and vegetables will never let you down and can be an excellent way to fill your plate.
If youre suffering from neuropathy due to type 1 or type 2 diabetes, theres a chance you are already relatively mindful of your diet. Below is a list of the top six foods and drinks that you should avoid if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
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How A Balanced Diet Fights Pain
My wifes family comes from a strong Midwestern background. Family gatherings usually involve soft drinks, salty meat dishes, and starchy foods. These foods are familiar to my mother-in-law, and she will continue to eat them. She is unwilling to try another diet, and this presents an obstacle when trying to reduce her peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
As her caregivers, its tricky to monitor her intake of salty foods, soft drinks, and carbohydrates. These foods are quickly digested, increasing blood sugar levels and contributing to increased inflammation in the body. Extra sodium in the bloodstream can lead to elevated blood pressure, which can slow blood flow and lead to peripheral nerve damage.
Caregivers should focus on incorporating foods with anti-inflammatory properties into a balanced diet. These foods include whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, nuts, and fish. Lean meats such as poultry and fish are high in vitamin B12, which helps to keep blood cells and nerves healthy.
How Quickly Does Neuropathy Develop
Some peripheral neuropathies develop slowly over months to years while others develop more rapidly and continue to get worse. There are over 100 types of neuropathies and each type can develop differently. The way your condition progresses and how quickly your symptoms start can vary greatly depending on the type of nerve or nerves damaged, and the underlying cause of the condition.
There are many causes of neuropathy. Diabetes is the number one cause in the United States. Other common causes include trauma, chemotherapy, alcoholism and autoimmune diseases.
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Cutting Alcohol Out Of The Mix
Alcohol can be toxic to your nerves, and drinking too much of it can cause neuropathy or make it worse. In addition to being directly toxic to nerve tissue, alcohol reduces absorption of B vitamins and vitamin E, nutrients that play an important role in nerve function. To best manage your neuropathy, its wise to avoid alcohol altogether.