Neuropathic Nutrition!

One main factor in many cases of peripheral neuropathy is diet.  You probably know that neuropathy is linked to diabetes and other conditions where daily intake of sugars and nutrients is important, but your diet can also influence the condition of nerves in more direct ways, such as in cases where a nutritional deficiency is causing neuropathic damage.

One of the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12.  Fight neuropathy by eating foods like meat, fish, and eggs that are all high in B vitamins.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry!  There are many kinds of fortified cereals that contain substantial amounts of B vitamins as well (in addition to supplements, which we’ll talk about in a moment).

The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet high in fruits and vegetables for people who suffer from neuropathy.  Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients that have been shown to be effective treating neuropathy.  Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, fresh produce can mellow your blood sugar levels.  If numbness or pain in your extremities is severe, keep pre-cut fruit and vegetables at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about the stress involved with preparing them! Just be careful of too much fruit sugars. This means a serving is 1/2 apple, banana, etc. Most non-starchy vegetables like greens and asparagus especially are great for most of us.

Foods that are high in Vitamin E are also good for neuropathy, according to neurology.com.  A deficiency of Vitamin E can happen in cases where malabsorption or malnutrition are taking place, such as the case with alcoholic neuropathy.  Breakfast cereals, whole grains, vegetables and nuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E.

Lean proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet for people with neuropathy.  Saturated fats and fried foods increase risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to aggravating nerve decay from lack of nutrients.  A variety of foods—skinless white-meat poultry, legumes, tofu, fish, and low-fat yogurt—are good sources of lean protein.  If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels.  Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are good for maintaining levels of Omega-3 acids, healthy fats the body needs but cannot produce on its own.

For specific types of neuropathy, research shows that specific antioxidants may help slow or even reverse nerve damage that has not existed for too long a time.  For HIV sensory neuropathy, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has demonstrated good results, and Alpha lipoic acid is being studied for its effects on diabetic nerve damage.  Consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants.

Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day...

So what are the best ways to monitor what you are eating?  The easiest way is to keep a food journal.  Record everything you eat at meals, for snacks, and any vitamin supplements you might be taking.  Your journal will help you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determine if your diet could be a factor in your neuropathy symptoms!  As a bonus, food journaling is a great way to be accountable for your overall nutrition, as well as to help avoid dietary-related conditions other than neuropathy.  If you have a goal for weight loss, weight gain, or better overall energy, those are other areas in which keeping a food journal can help!  Other ways to monitor what you eat include cooking at home as opposed to going out to restaurants, keeping a shopping list instead of deciding what groceries to buy at the store, and consulting a nutritionist or qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.

Dietary supplements can also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration.  Supplementing B Vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12, can help regulate your nutrient levels and prevent neuropathy symptoms.  Supplementing with fish oil can help replenish Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important if you suffer from type-II diabetes. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for specific recommendations.

Contact us if you have any questions about proper eating when it comes to your neuropathy.  We can help you find the information you need and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you with this and other neuropathy-related questions!

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies

http://www.foundationforpn.org/livingwithperipheralneuropathy/neuropathynutrition/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/82184-foods-fight-neuropathy/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/121841-nutrients-neuropathy/

 

Neuropathy and Sleep

It’s four in the morning and you’re still awake.  You’ve been in bed, and you should have been asleep ages ago.  Your alarm will go off in only a few hours, and you’re dreading the long day ahead that you’ll have to spend completely exhausted.

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, this scenario is probably all too familiar.  Insomnia (lack of sleep) affects almost half of the overall population, but among neuropathy sufferers, that ratio jumps to over seventy percent.  Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep for most adults, regardless of their age or gender, an intimidating goal if you’re someone whose chronic pain keeps them up at night.

Neuropathic pain can intensify in the evening hours, both in reality and in perception (fewer distractions of the day can cause a sufferer to focus more on their pain the closer they get to bedtime).

There Is No Substitute For Caring NeuropathyDR Professional To Guide You...

Research suggests that sleep apnea, a common cause of insomnia, can actually cause peripheral neuropathy, as well.  Beyond a mere relationship, studies have shown that apnea is a high-risk condition among the insulin-resistant, which could likely be affecting incidents of neuropathy among diabetics in very direct ways.

Insomnia from neuropathy can perpetuate its own problem, too.  Not only is neuropathic pain prodigious when it comes to nighttime restlessness, but the resulting lack of sleep can make the pain even worse!  Rest is essential to recovery and treatment, and lack of sleep can lower your pain threshold drastically.  You need that sleep, so what can you do?

There are several steps you can take if your neuropathy is keeping you awake at night.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can work with you to best help your specific situation, but here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Do your best to keep a regular sleeping schedule.  Be persistent! Getting to bed and getting up at the same times each day is one of the best ways to train your body to sleep correctly.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine and any medication that incorporates a stimulant (non-drowsy), especially in the evening hours.
  • Avoid heavy foods in the evening. Our bodies metabolize food for hours after we eat, giving us a boost of energy!  Energy is great when we need it, but can be a pain when we don’t.  Many cultures eat their biggest meal of the day in the morning and only a small snack at dinnertime for this reason.  Try it out!
  • Try turning off the TV and computer a few hours before bed.  Mileage varies from person to person, but electronics tend to stimulate the senses.   Try a book or quiet conversation, instead.
  • Adjust your environment to be ideal for sleeping.  Layer your covers to ensure you stay warm but not hot, and minimize light and noise.

There are a number of herbal and natural sleep aids as well, which may help you fall asleep quickly.  Sleep expert Elizabeth Shannon recommends entertaining a number of stress-relief methods, psychological conditioning, and homeopathic solutions for insomnia before resorting to pharmaceutical sleep aids, which can often form dependencies and, over time, exacerbate the problems associated with restlessness.  Always be cautious with medications, and consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other doctor before medicating.

Always remember, altering your sleep pattern won’t happen overnight (so to speak)!  It could be three to four weeks before any changes you make to your routine begin to have meaningful impact on your success getting to and staying asleep, and don’t be surprised if your restlessness gets worse before it gets better.  Contact us, and we can help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area and give you even more information about how to get the rest you need while suffering from neuropathy.

http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/159/1/213.full

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

http://www.sleeplessnomore.com/

http://www.neuropathy.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8145&news_iv_ctrl=1221

 

Neuropathy and Sleep

It’s four in the morning and you’re still awake.  You’ve been in bed, and you should have been asleep ages ago.  Your alarm will go off in only a few hours, and you’re dreading the long day ahead that you’ll have to spend completely exhausted.

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, this scenario is probably all too familiar.  Insomnia (lack of sleep) affects almost half of the overall population, but among neuropathy sufferers, that ratio jumps to over seventy percent.  Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep for most adults, regardless of their age or gender, an intimidating goal if you’re someone whose chronic pain keeps them up at night.

Neuropathic pain can intensify in the evening hours, both in reality and in perception (fewer distractions of the day can cause a sufferer to focus more on their pain the closer they get to bedtime).

There Is No Substitute For Caring NeuropathyDR Professional To Guide You...

Research suggests that sleep apnea, a common cause of insomnia, can actually cause peripheral neuropathy, as well.  Beyond a mere relationship, studies have shown that apnea is a high-risk condition among the insulin-resistant, which could likely be affecting incidents of neuropathy among diabetics in very direct ways.

Insomnia from neuropathy can perpetuate its own problem, too.  Not only is neuropathic pain prodigious when it comes to nighttime restlessness, but the resulting lack of sleep can make the pain even worse!  Rest is essential to recovery and treatment, and lack of sleep can lower your pain threshold drastically.  You need that sleep, so what can you do?

There are several steps you can take if your neuropathy is keeping you awake at night.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can work with you to best help your specific situation, but here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Do your best to keep a regular sleeping schedule.  Be persistent! Getting to bed and getting up at the same times each day is one of the best ways to train your body to sleep correctly.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine and any medication that incorporates a stimulant (non-drowsy), especially in the evening hours.
  • Avoid heavy foods in the evening. Our bodies metabolize food for hours after we eat, giving us a boost of energy!  Energy is great when we need it, but can be a pain when we don’t.  Many cultures eat their biggest meal of the day in the morning and only a small snack at dinnertime for this reason.  Try it out!
  • Try turning off the TV and computer a few hours before bed.  Mileage varies from person to person, but electronics tend to stimulate the senses.   Try a book or quiet conversation, instead.
  • Adjust your environment to be ideal for sleeping.  Layer your covers to ensure you stay warm but not hot, and minimize light and noise.

There are a number of herbal and natural sleep aids as well, which may help you fall asleep quickly.  Sleep expert Elizabeth Shannon recommends entertaining a number of stress-relief methods, psychological conditioning, and homeopathic solutions for insomnia before resorting to pharmaceutical sleep aids, which can often form dependencies and, over time, exacerbate the problems associated with restlessness.  Always be cautious with medications, and consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other doctor before medicating.

Always remember, altering your sleep pattern won’t happen overnight (so to speak)!  It could be three to four weeks before any changes you make to your routine begin to have meaningful impact on your success getting to and staying asleep, and don’t be surprised if your restlessness gets worse before it gets better.  Contact us, and we can help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area and give you even more information about how to get the rest you need while suffering from neuropathy.

http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/159/1/213.full

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

http://www.sleeplessnomore.com/

http://www.neuropathy.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8145&news_iv_ctrl=1221