Zinc and Your Health

As you know, zinc is a metal. It is used in a process applied to preserve metals from corrosion, especially in salt water. This of course is called galvanization. But what you may not know is that zinc also plays a large role in your health, especially neurologic and immune system-related issues.

Zinc and Your Health

Like so many nutrients, balance is everything. Too much zinc will suppress the immune system and cause difficulties with copper levels. Too little zinc can create problems ranging from memory impairment to prostate disease.

Yes, neurologic dysfunction can result when zinc is deficient. According to Hambridge et al in 2007 in “Zinc deficiency a special challenge”, it is stated that zinc is an element with “profound biologic significance”. In fact, zinc deficiencies worldwide are responsible for many disease states.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that zinc imbalances are relatively common. This is due both to low levels in foods of modern agriculture as well as elevated levels of copper due to plumbing and environmental sources.

In the clinic, we will measure hair and blood levels of these crucial elements when assessing nutrition status.

In our bodies, zinc can actually act as an antioxidant. This protects us against damage from environmental assaults, as well as natural aging. The presence of zinc is essential for normal nerve function.

It is well-known that zinc can speed the healing process and, in essential amounts, will help stimulate the immune system and possibly prevent prostate disease.

When zinc is used in shampoos and skin lotions, it can act as a sunscreen, a soothing dressing, and also help prevent dandruff.

The reason that zinc is so important is that it participates in many chemical reactions, especially in enzymes.

The recommended dietary allowance for zinc is around 15 mg per day. However modern diets alone sometimes fall short of this.

The good news is, the neuropathy diet that we recommend is high in nuts and seeds which provide relatively good zinc levels. Seafood, shellfish in particular, can be great sources of dietary zinc.

For most patients, safe zinc supplementation level is probably not more than 25 mg per day. More than 50 mg a day could be detrimental. Like so many nutrients, this is one area where working with your neuropathy healthcare professionals is essential if there are any questions at all about appropriate zinc dosages.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

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Quick Guide to the Best Neuropathy Diet

This Guide Describes What to Eat Throughout the Day for a Healthy Diet!

You have no doubt heard that changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on your health as far as neuropathy and chronic pain is concerned.

But what is a neuropathy diet? Exactly what you should be eating, and what should you avoid?

Here is a breakdown of a typical day’s worth of snacks and meals on the neuropathy diet to give you an idea of what kind of adjustments you should be making on your own.

Of course, you may need to modify this general outline for your own symptoms or pain level under the supervision of your NeuropathyDR Clinician.

First, be sure to have breakfast every morning. Ideally, eat a small amount of protein within a few minutes of waking up, which helps to jump-start your mental state as well as your metabolism.

You could have a protein shake made with vegetable protein powder (dairy-free) and coconut milk or almond milk. Or if you prefer not to drink your breakfast, try granola (gluten-free) or steel cut oats.

Next, you’ll want to have a small low-carb snack about three hours after breakfast. Half an apple or banana would do the trick or a small amount of nuts, such as almonds. Be careful when consuming packaged snacks, such as protein bars, as many of them contain a great deal of sugar.

For lunch, you’ll want more protein and veggies. The easiest way to do this is make a salad featuring your favorite kinds of greens—spinach is great. Add a small amount of chicken, tuna, turkey, or salmon for a lean protein, or use tofu if you’re vegan. Throw in a few walnuts or almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Have another snack in mid-afternoon, something small and low-carb like your morning snack.

For dinner, emphasize vegetables like asparagus, beets, squash, sweet potatoes, or cooked spinach. Avoid starchy veggies like white potatoes or rice. For a protein, try locally sourced hormone-free beef or fresh fish.

In the evening, have one more small snack. This time it can be a treat, such as one square of dark chocolate or a SMALL serving of gluten-free low-carb cookies.

You’ll also want to have lots of water throughout the day, and limited amounts of tea or coffee are okay.

You’ll notice that this diet is dairy-free, very low in sugar, and contains no bread products or junk food.

Try making a gradual shift into the NeuropathyDR diet over a period of a few days. You won’t believe how much better it makes you feel!

For more information on the neuropathy diet and other neuropathy basics, see our guide I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Symptoms and Vitamin D

With Neuropathy Symptoms, Vitamin D can Make a Big Difference in Quality of Life.

We’re still learning about the powers of vitamin D, but we do know for sure based on research that this vitamin has a significant effect on building a strong immune system. Vitamin D is also important for helping to maintain bone mass.

These are two aspects of vitamin D’s role in the body that makes it an important nutrient for people struggling with neuropathy symptoms.

But even more important is vitamin D’s role is manufacturing substances called neutropins that help repair damaged nerves and grow new ones.

If you have neuropathy symptoms, you can help to support your own body’s production of neutropins, first by following a diet that includes vitamin D along with other essential neuropathy nutrients, and secondly by using appropriate neuropathy therapies such as neurostimulation.

The research strongly supports that neurostimulator therapies are appropriate and effective for many, if not most, patients suffering from neuropathy symptoms.

When paired with the right diet including vitamin D, these therapies can be incredibly effective in reducing neuropathy symptoms and neuropathic pain.

You may be wondering about the right daily amount of vitamin D that neuropathy patients should take.

It definitely depends on who you ask!

The official United States stance on vitamin D dosage is that you should have up to 600 IU (international units) every day. But other countries recommend higher levels, up to even 10,000 IU a day. This is based on the idea that most people just do not get much vitamin D from diet or sun exposure and so will need supplementation.

It’s not really possible to get enough vitamin D from plant sources. Fish oil is the best available form of supplement containing vitamin D.

I highly recommend to all new patients in our clinics to get their vitamin D levels checked. Then they can work together with their NeuropathyDR® clinicians to decide on the best daily dosage for supplementation.

Looking for more advice on dietary supplements to reduce neuropathy symptoms? Take a look at our Neuropathy Owners Manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Diabetic Neuropathy: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed

If You Have Just Been Diagnosed with Diabetic Neuropathy, It’s Important to Seek Expert Treatment Right Away. Here’s Why.

In short, the term “diabetic neuropathy” refers to peripheral neuropathy symptoms in people who have the chronic illness known as diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy happens when your blood sugar becomes elevated and there is not enough blood flowing to your body’s nerve centers.

This leads to neuropathic pain symptoms, such as numbness, insensitivity to hot or cold, weakness or cramping of muscles, or burning/tingling in extremities. You may also experience problems with bladder control, nausea, or diarrhea.

Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy has severe long-term health consequences. The longer you postpone treatment, the higher the chance of irreversible nerve damage and lifelong symptoms that hinder your quality of life.

On the other hand, seeking immediate help from a trained neuropathy specialist is likely to allow you to reduce your neuropathy symptoms right away and prevent serious health problems.

Your neuropathy treatment specialist will collaborate with you to create a treatment plan. The immediate focus will be getting your diabetes in control to avoid additional nerve damage.

Along with any prescribed medications to maintain blood sugar levels, you will be asked to follow a neuropathy diet for controlling diabetes. Typically, this diet eliminates processed foods and refined sugars while focusing on lean proteins, fiber, and lots of fresh vegetables.

Your diabetic neuropathy treatment plan may also include therapies to reduce your neuropathic pain symptoms and aid your nervous system in self-repair. Your neuropathy treatment specialist may recommend specific types of manual therapies, such as chiropractic or physical therapy, or certain technologies like laser light therapy or nerve stimulation devices.

A neuropathy treatment plan could include the addition of oral or topical nutrients to aid in healing. Many neuropathy treatment specialists will recommend a custom blend of nutrients for your specific health challenges.

To find a diabetic neuropathy treatment specialist in your area, click here.

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Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition: How to Get Started

You Know That A Healthy Neuropathy Diet Can Make All the Difference in Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy. But Do You Know How to Implement This Change in the Best Way?

If you’re been reading for a while, you know that we discuss a healthy neuropathy diet as one of the primary ways to improve your health immediately and over time.

Unfortunately, many neuropathy patients struggle with this lifestyle change. When you are accustomed to processed foods, which typically contain lots of salt and sugar, learning to enjoy leafy green vegetables and other staples of the neuropathy diet can be a challenge.

But it’s well worth it. You’ll begin feeling better overall within a matter of days, and a neuropathy diet offers control over your symptoms which can have both physical and emotional impacts.

So many of the neuropathy patients we see in our clinics are suffering from chronic GI problems—irritable bowel, ulcers, and so on. Those things complicate neuropathic pain and certainly detract from quality of life. They can be precipitated by stress, but often a very poor diet is also to blame.

Here’s why we advocate whole foods for a neuropathy diet. Whole foods simply contain more things that your body needs to heal from neuropathy: vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water.

Ideally, your neuropathy diet will contain local fresh farmer’s market produce whenever possible. You’ll also want to learn how to flavor and season your food primarily with spices rather than salt.

As with any significant change in your health regimen, talk with your neuropathy specialist about how to begin incorporating a healthy neuropathy diet into your lifestyle in a gradual way.

Looking for a neuropathy specialist who is highly trained in all aspects of treating and managing neuropathy, including a healthy neuropathy diet? Click here to find a neuropathy expert near you.

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Neuropathy Supplements: What You Need to Know About Biotin

Many People Don’t Know About Vitamin B7, One of the Important Neuropathy Supplements.

If you’ve heard about the B vitamin known as biotin, you might have only seen references to it in terms of cosmetics. Recently there’s been a surge of beauty products that include biotin as an ingredient, supposedly to strengthen or enhance nails, skin, and hair.

The truth is, using personal products with added biotin probably will not have any impact on your hair or make your nails stronger. There’s very little hard evidence of this.

And in the general population, most people don’t have a biotin deficiency, because it’s generated by our normal gut bacteria. (The exception is when someone is taking long-term antibiotics, which can harm those intestinal bacteria and lead to low biotin levels.)

But in terms of neuropathy supplements, biotin or vitamin B7 can be a powerhouse. Here’s what neuropathy patients and especially those struggling with diabetes need to know about supplementing with biotin.
If you have a genuine deficiency in biotin, similar to the other B vitamins, you might be experiencing symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, depression, and peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetics may have a higher than average need for supplementing with biotin. Neuropathy supplements like biotin can aid in regulating blood sugar and lipids for diabetics.

Biotin is naturally present in a broad range of foods, although the amount of biotin in a single serving tends to be very small. The key to getting enough biotin in your diet without supplementation is to stick with a regimen of plenty of leafy green veggies, eggs, and other healthy whole food sources.

For most people with neuropathic pain, biotin can help. Consult with your neuropathy specialist about whether neuropathy supplements like biotin are needed to bolster your symptom-busting neuropathy diet.

For more information about what to eat for a neuropathy diet, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Peripheral Neuropathy is Best Managed Through Frequent Meals

Did You Know That Eating More Often Can Actually Help Heal Your Peripheral Neuropathy?

We know that obesity can contribute to medical conditions like diabetes that cause peripheral neuropathy. So it may not seem logical that eating more often, not less often, could be a primary way to address peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Why would frequent meals be a GOOD idea for peripheral neuropathy sufferers? Here’s an explanation.

When you eat few meals per day, you are essentially training your body to store fat. That’s a primal survival mechanism to keep calories available to you as needed for fuel. It works against you when you are eating more calories in one meal than you really need—and especially if your meals are loaded with “bad” fats and simple carbohydrates.

On the other hand, when you eat more frequent meals, you’ll be training your body to burn fat more efficiently through stimulating metabolism. Frequent meals can also help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Of course, there’s a catch. It isn’t enough to just eat more often. You’ve got to make sure that WHAT you are eating is nutritious and supportive so that you’re slowly healing your peripheral neuropathy, not making it worse.

The diet we recommend for those with peripheral neuropathy is based on fewer (and complex) carbs and plenty of good protein and healthy fats. It’s best to avoid going more than three hours without eating a meal or snack.

Obviously, for diabetics who need insulin to regulate blood sugar, follow the advice of your doctor.

Everything we know about healing peripheral neuropathy is based on a close working relationship with a specially trained neuropathy treatment specialist who can customize YOUR treatment to address YOUR neuropathy symptoms and overall medical condition.

Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist in your area.

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Daily Self Care is a Vital Part of Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

In Treating Diabetic Neuropathy, Daily Self Care is an Essential Component of Getting Back on the Road to Wellness.

Diabetic neuropathy refers to a specific kind of peripheral neuropathy that is unique to diabetes patients. It happens when poor circulation prevents nerves from getting enough blood flow, and it’s exacerbated by lack of control over elevated blood sugar.

Long-term, diabetic neuropathy can cause severe nerve damage that can be debilitating and have a huge negative impact on quality of life.

If you have any of the following symptoms and have diabetes, it’s very important to get a thorough assessment from a trained diabetic neuropathy clinician:

  • Pain in feet or legs
  • Tingling or burning in legs, feet, hands or arms
  • Numbness or lack of sensation
  • Cramping or weakness in muscles
  • Inability to distinguish warm and cold

If a trained neuropathy specialist finds that you have diabetic neuropathy, the first step to better health will involve getting your diabetes under good management to avoid any additional nerve damage. This may involve medications and/or a diabetic neuropathy diet. Along with reducing sugar sources in your diet, you will want to make sure you’re getting lots of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and enough fiber.

This diet will provide a basis for healing so that you can begin to chip away at diabetic neuropathy symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your diabetic neuropathy specialist may also recommend nutrient supplements, high-tech innovations such as laser therapy, or complementary medicine such as massage or acupuncture.

It’s important to understand that there is much you can do at home, aside from a healthy neuropathy diet, to provide self care to aid and hasten your healing. You will need to visually monitor your feet and hands every day for any inflammation, blisters, sores, or broken skin to avoid infection. You can also undertake a gentle exercise routine based on input from your diabetic neuropathy specialist.

For more information on the diabetic neuropathy diet and other self care you can do at home to improve quality of life, take a look at I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Treatment 101: Scheduling Time for Self Care

You Might Be Surprised at How Vital Self Care and At Home Changes Can Be for Successful Neuropathy Treatment.

With all the complexities of the typical neuropathy treatment plan, it is shocking how often a critical element of success is left off—and that’s self care.

Like many others, you might think of self care as indulgent or silly. Things like bubble baths or spa days might come to mind.

But when we talk about self care as a component of neuropathy treatment, what we mean is the very basic and vital aspects of taking control of your own health on a day to day basis.

The fact is, you’re not doing all you can do for your own neuropathy treatment success if you’re not scheduling time EVERY day for self care.

Some key aspects of self care for neuropathy treatment include:

  • Appropriate exercise that meets your health goals
  • Following a beneficial neuropathy diet that eliminates common neuropathy aggravators, such as caffeine and wheat
  • Meditation, prayer, or another meaningful spiritual practice
  • Relaxation, including guided visualization, yoga, massage, etc.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as acupuncture
  • Neurostimulation using home care tools recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician

Naturally, these types of self care neuropathy treatments are not a cure for your neuropathy symptoms. In fact, there is no known cure for neuropathy. But what these self care remedies do is to reduce your symptoms as much as possible and enhance your quality of life overall.

While there is a place for medication and surgery in some cases, there are so many less intrusive ways to treat neuropathy, including basic home care and self care neuropathy treatment.

Your most effective neuropathy treatment plan begins with a thorough assessment and diagnosis by a qualified neuropathy treatment specialist, followed by regular in-office treatments with the high-tech options appropriate for your specific medical condition, as well as daily self care.

Click here to locate a highly trained neuropathy treatment clinician near you!

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Why You Need Folic Acid to Combat Peripheral Neuropathy

Vitamin B9, AKA Folic Acid, is a Key Supplement for Maintaining and Improving Nerve Health When Dealing with Peripheral Neuropathy.

You may know that folic acid helps to prevent birth defects, which is why it’s one of the key ingredients in prenatal vitamins.

What you may not know, however, is that folic acid is a vital nutrient for people with neuropathy and chronic pain. That’s because a folic acid deficiency can directly influence the development of peripheral neuropathy.

Why is folic acid so important for those with neuropathy?

It has to do with the role of folic acid in the body. This supplement, which is also known as vitamin B9, is essential for repairing damaged cells in the body. It feeds DNA synthesis, and it’s needed for preventing anemia (a condition involving a lower than normal quantity of red blood cells).

An abnormally low level of folic acid in the body can also cause fatigue, depression, and mouth sores.

For all of these reasons, folic acid is one of the essential nutrients that should be checked by your neuropathy specialist in a routine evaluation, along with vitamins D and B12, especially if you’re over 50 years old.

Also, don’t rely on self-diagnosis for folic acid deficiency. This is important to understand because if you took a folic acid supplement without first testing for B12 deficiency, you could be masking one problem while trying to provide self treatment for another. The other reason to avoid self-diagnosing is that some vitamin deficiencies can have serious consequences for your nervous system, and it’s best to begin your neuropathy treatment with a thorough examination by a trained neuropathy specialist.

Be aware that you’re unlikely to experience a folic acid deficiency if you are following our recommended neuropathy diet. That’s because the diet includes an abundance of foods that are natural sources of the B vitamins, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits. However, it’s vital to store and prepare your food appropriately in order to avoid breakdown of key vitamins before the food is even ingested.

You can find neuropathy nutritional supplements such as our Neuropathy DR Metabolic Support Formula at the Self-Guided Care Store.

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