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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What To Do When Sleep Problems Make Your Neuropathy Symptoms Even Worse

Sleep Disturbances Are Common, But They Are Especially Disruptive to Your Health When You’re Struggling With Neuropathy Symptoms.

Most people experience sleep problems at some point in their lives. While there are those with chronic insomnia or other disturbances, sleep issues are brief and mild for many of us.

However, when neuropathy symptoms come into the picture, sleep problems become more than an annoyance. Insufficient sleep is a global health concern for those with peripheral neuropathy.

You already know that sleep is a required period of rest for your body’s systems. Without sufficient and regular sleep, we just can’t function on a normal, healthy level.

When your sleep is disturbed, your body simply isn’t getting a chance to recharge its key systems. Neuropathy symptoms can contribute to that lost sleep, and lost sleep means that your neuropathy symptoms will be intensified—both right now and over time. It’s a vicious cycle leading to fatigue, weight gain, pains or muscle aches, and possibly depression, in addition to the neuropathy symptoms you’re already experiencing.

So what can you do if your sleep problems are making your peripheral neuropathy symptoms even worse?

My first suggestion is a visit to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician or another trained physician who is well versed in dealing with neuropathy symptoms. You need to address any global health issues aside from neuropathy and accurately diagnose what is interrupting your sleep cycle. If medication or other neuropathy treatments are appropriate for you, those will aid you in better sleep, as well.

Next, make adjustments in your day-to-day lifestyle that will help encourage a healthy pattern of sleep. Daily exercise, as approved by your doctor based on your body’s needs, is very important. When you can exercise outdoors in the sun, that’s even better. Avoid dehydration, follow an effective neuropathy diet, and reduce stress wherever you can.

Some patients also respond well to supplementing with magnesium throughout the day, but this should only be done under your doctor’s supervision and is not appropriate for anyone with kidney disease.

Finally, consider the use of our home care kits, featuring an easy-to-use electrotherapy neurostimulator approved by the FDA. This simple but effective device can improve your sleep significantly by reducing neuropathy symptoms like pain and tingling. Best of all, you can use it while falling asleep, thanks to the built-in timer and automatic shut-off. Read more about the NDGen Home Care Kit.

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Neuropathy Self Care is Vital During the Holidays

Don’t Take a Vacation from Neuropathy Self Care During the Holidays!

The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, whether it’s the positive stress of gathering with loved ones or a more negative experience due to personal hardships. Of course, most of us have a mixed experience of both positive and negative stressors during the holidays.

When you are suffering from the discomfort of neuropathic pain, holiday stress can take an even bigger toll—not just emotional but physical. You’re likely to be feeling more fatigue or a chronic pain flare-up during this time.

It may seem that neuropathy self care is just another stressor during the holidays. Sticking to your at-home treatment protocol of a healthy diet, nutritional supplements, light exercise, and mindfulness practice may seem like an imposition or even just another thing on your rapidly growing to-do list!

But the truth is, the most positive step you can take to reduce neuropathy symptoms during the holidays is to prioritize your neuropathy self care above all else.

If you’ve already fallen off the wagon in terms of your neuropathy self care plan, then it’s important to realize that you don’t have to wait for a New Year’s resolution to get back on. You can start right now.

And if that feels too overwhelming, then remember that you can add in healthy habits just one at a time. Every small improvement will have a cumulative effect on your well-being and help reduce neuropathy symptoms.

Need a refresher about the basics of good neuropathy self care? Here are a few key elements of your at-home care to reduce neuropathy symptoms and holiday stress:

  • A diet focused on protein and vegetables, with fewer carbs and unhealthy fats
  • Good hydration with plenty of water
  • Light exercise as prescribed by your medical team or NeuropathyDR® clinician, possibly including stretching, yoga, or other low-impact activities
  • Relaxation exercises or meditation

Above all, try to maintain focus on the joys and pleasures of the holiday season and let go of any preconceptions about how things should go.

To read more about at-home neuropathy self care, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy and Dairy: Your Body Will Thank You For This New Year’s Resolution

If You’re Thinking of Making a Fresh Start This New Year, You Should Know that Neuropathy and Dairy Don’t Go Well Together.

For years, you’ve been getting the message that milk and other dairy products are good for your body.

But for people struggling with neuropathy symptoms (as well as for most other people), dairy could be doing significant harm to your health.

Cow’s milk was never intended for human consumption. It was meant to nourish baby cows as a way to transmit bovine hormones they need to grow. It certainly is not an appropriate food for people. Even human breastmilk is only useful to infants for about two years.

Then why do we all think of milk as being so good for us? It’s only because the dairy industry is powerful in this country. Everything you hear on TV or see in magazines about dairy consumption is truly just propaganda.

So here’s what you do need to know about beating neuropathy and dairy in your diet.

It’s true that you need vitamin D and calcium for bone health to avoid osteoporosis. The thing is, you don’t need to consume milk or dairy products in order to get these nutrients.

And if you are wrestling with the question of neuropathy and dairy, the most important thing you need to know is that dairy can actually cause inflammation in your body or make existing inflammation worse. That can include neuropathy symptoms, too.

In other words, neuropathy and dairy make a terrible pair. If you consume dairy on a regular basis, chances are, you are making your neuropathic pain and discomfort worse than it has to be.

If you can’t imagine a life without milk, cheese, or other dairy products, take some time to explore the alternatives. There are many options out there made from rice, almonds, coconut, and other sources.
When it comes to neuropathy and dairy, less is more. See what you can do to reduce or eliminate dairy. Your body will thank you.

Looking for more insight into a healthy neuropathy diet? I encourage you to make nutrition your ally in treating neuropathy by reading I Beat Neuropathy: Getting Your Life Back on Track.

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Why Self Care is a Vital Piece of Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan

You Are the Missing Link In Your Neuropathy Treatment If You Are Not Implementing This Self Care Component!

The best neuropathy treatment plan is a simple one. In part, that’s because the simplest plan is the one you are likely to follow… and you are the person most responsible for your health, even (or especially) when it comes to chronic pain and neuropathy.

When you become accountable for your own successful neuropathy treatment, you will empower yourself to make significant and beneficial lifestyle changes that are the foundation of good nerve health.

One example is the NeuropathyDR Diet, which is so straightforward that you’ll not only feel much better as you follow it, you’ll even save money on groceries! This diet supports other self care protocols that you can do at home, from neurostim to stretching and other gentle exercises.

The key is to make improvements every week that lead to a gradual but significant change in how you feel so that chronic pain and neuropathy symptoms are reduced over time.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get off the self care track, especially this time of year. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll go back to the neuropathy treatment plan (diet, hydration, exercises) right after that party, or on New Year’s Day. It’s tempting to think that just a little cheat here and there won’t make a difference. You might even decide that taking a break from your self care protocol is being “kind” to yourself and that you “deserve” it.

The truth is, you deserve a life free from chronic pain and neuropathy symptoms.

What would you do to be rid of the numbness, tingling, and pain forever? What wouldn’t you do?

Ultimately, the state of your health is up to you. It probably took you years to enter a gradual health decline, and it takes time to significantly improve your health through an effective neuropathy treatment plan. Every act of self care, every single day, is what will get you there.

For more information about what you can do at home to supplement professional neuropathy treatment, take a look at our Self-Guided Care page.

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The First Steps You Should Take After You Learn That You Have Neuropathy

Unsure What To Do Next After a Neuropathy Diagnosis? The First Steps Are Simple But Effective in Managing This Condition.

Finally, after a lot of confusion and misdiagnosis, your doctor has said that your symptoms are caused by neuropathy. It may be a relief to have a diagnosis and a name for the pain, tingling, or numbness you’ve been experiencing. Then again, you may simply feel discouraged and have no idea what to do next.

By far, the number one question I get from patients is, “Now what?” After a neuropathy diagnosis, what should a patient do next?

In particular, the doctor who diagnosed you may not have been able to offer much guidance. Most doctors just don’t have the training or knowledge in this area.

But there are specialists out there who can collaborate with you on a customized neuropathy treatment plan, one that is tailored to your specific needs—because neuropathy is not a cookie-cutter condition.

My advice to you as a newly diagnosed neuropathy patient is to follow these steps:

  1. Immediately put in place an effective management plan for any urgent or underlying medical conditions that you may have, including cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
  2. Locate a neuropathy treatment specialist who can aid you in forming a treatment plan specific to your needs. If there is not a trained neuropathy doctor local to you—one who is willing to advise real corrective action rather than simply masking symptoms with medication—then there may be a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can consult from a distance with your medical team.
  3. Look closely at the everyday habits that are impacting your health. Do you smoke? Are you physically inactive? These are things that you can, and should, change so that your overall health will improve both short-term and long-term. Willingness to shift your eating habits toward a supportive neuropathy diet will also have a huge impact on your symptoms and well-being.

There is much that you can do on your own to benefit your health and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Working hand in hand with your NeuropathyDR® clinician, your health WILL improve.

Take a look at our patient’s guide to neuropathy and how to navigate your neuropathy treatment: I Beat Neuropathy! Getting Your Life Back on Track.

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Peripheral Neuropathy Can Be Managed with More Frequent Meals

Contrary to Popular Thinking About Metabolism and Weight Management, Eating More Often Can Benefit Those with Peripheral Neuropathy.

We all like to blame obesity and excessive/unhealthy eating habits for the development of metabolic problems. In a way, it really is that simple: when you consume more calories at one meal than your body needs, and when what you’re eating is also laden with fats and carbohydrates, then you probably will gain too much weight—which can affect your body systems negatively.

On the other hand, changing HOW OFTEN you eat can have a positive impact and can even assist you in managing your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

By eating more frequent meals, you will be training your metabolism to operate differently, teaching your body to burn fat rather than store it. Your blood sugar with also even out, and you’ll stay warmer overall—two bonuses for those dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

However, there’s a catch. You’ll need to eat smaller and more frequent meals and/or snacks that contain fewer carbohydrates and some type of protein. Ideally, you’ll be eating something every three hours.

An example of the kinds of meals I’m talking about would be a breakfast of steel-cut oats with berries, or perhaps a protein shake. For a substantial snack, you could have a small handful of almonds (which contain healthy fats).

Of course, if you suffer from diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy, you’ll need to be very careful about sugar intake. This just underscores the importance of working with a neuropathy treatment clinician such as one of our NeuropathyDR® professionals, who can create a customized dietary and treatment plan based on your peripheral neuropathy symptoms and individual health needs.

Looking for a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area? To work with one of our specially trained peripheral neuropathy professionals, click here.

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Neuropathy Diet Supplements: Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

A Supportive Neuropathy Diet Must Include Calcium. Here is the Truth About the Best Way to Get the Calcium You Need for Nerve Health.

Whether you are following a neuropathy diet to treat symptoms of pain and tingling, or simply choosing to eat more healthfully for overall functioning, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium.

We all need proper calcium levels in the bloodstream to maintain nerve function and regular heartbeat. If your calcium levels are off, it can even cause heart arrhythmia that can be fatal. Calcium is so important for your body’s everyday functioning that your body will self-adjust if calcium levels in the blood are too low. Unfortunately, the body’s way of doing this is by leaching calcium directly from your bones!

Often, we’ve heard the message that it’s important to get enough calcium through dairy products to avoid osteoporosis. We might have also been told that supplements of calcium and other key nutrients are necessary for a successful neuropathy diet. However, many cultures that prioritize physical activity along with a plant-based diet (and NO dairy) have almost no incidence of osteoporosis. Instead of dairy, people in these cultures eat nuts, vegetables, and fish or other lean proteins, with sparing use of animal products and little to no fat or sugar. This is the Neuropathy DR diet in a nutshell!

There are cases in which supplementing calcium and other nutrients can be a good thing, but it’s best done under the close supervision of a Neuropathy DR clinician or other knowledgeable medical professional. That’s because inappropriate supplementation can be dangerous. Your calcium level is too important to be addressed simply on guesswork, and sometimes overdosing on calcium supplements can contribute to the formation of other diseases or disorders.

If you do take a calcium supplement under the guidance of your doctor, keep in mind that calcium is best delivered alongside magnesium, as these elements work together for your health.

For a balanced formulation of nutrients to support a neuropathy diet, take a look at our NDGen Metabolic Support Formula.

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Nerve Health and Vitamin E: A Key Supplement for Neuropathic Pain

Did You Know That It’s Nearly Impossible to Get Enough Vitamin E from Food Sources? Read More About This Essential Supplement for Nerve Health.

Vitamin E plays such an important role in nerve health that a variety of serious health problems can be caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. What’s more, vitamin E is known to be very beneficial for people who are dealing with peripheral neuropathy and certain other types of neuropathic pain or dysfunction.

It’s true that you can get certain types of vitamin E, or tocopherols, from a small number of whole foods. For example, avocados and asparagus both contain reasonably significant levels of vitamin E. Corn and soybean oil also have some tocopherols in them. But you’d be hard-pressed to eat just the right combinations of tocopherol-containing foods in the right amounts—and on a nearly day by day basis, too!

For most people, and particularly those with neuropathic issues, it’s a good idea to supplement your vitamin E levels. Somewhere between 100 and 400 international units, or IUs, is a typical recommended dose of alpha tocopherol for bolstering nerve health. (We recommend doing this under the close care of a NeuropathyDR® clinician, however, as too much vitamin E—like certain other vitamins and minerals—can actually be dangerous.)

Here’s why vitamin E is so important. For optimum nerve health, your nerves need to create a certain amount of myelin—the insulation around nerves that acts as a conductor to pass their signals along. The tocopherols are a big help in supporting the manufacture of myelin. If you’re not getting enough vitamin E, your nerve health may be at risk. And for those experiencing neuropathy, vitamin E is an absolute must in rebuilding healthy nerve function.

The NDGen Metabolic Support Formula contains vitamin E in addition to other key vitamins and trace minerals that your body needs for nerve health and self-healing. Click here to learn more about Metabolic Support Formula.

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2 Essential Components in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy

Does Your Treatment Plan Include Manual Therapy and Nutrition Therapy? Read More About This Non-Invasive and Cost-Effective Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy.

It’s our experience that the best results in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy are able to happen when we include two specific non-invasive components along with neurostim treatments and general lifestyle changes. These components appear simple, but they can be very powerful and have nearly immediate results, with improvements compounding over time as the therapies are continued long-term.

The first component is manual therapy. This modality can include many specific approaches, such as stretching, massage, mobilization, and spinal manipulation. These are time-tested methods that have been extremely well researched for many medical conditions, from diabetes to cancer-related neuropathy. Best of all, manual therapy utilizes cost-effective techniques that are minimally invasive, meaning that they are gentle and not intrusive to your body’s own internal healing processes. I believe, like any good doctor will tell you, that you should always try a simpler and less invasive treatment of peripheral neuropathy before resorting to more strenuous methods, such as medication and surgery, that can have serious long-term side effects and impact your quality of life.

The second component in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy is nutrition therapy, which ideally will be customized to address the needs of a specific patient. Our approach includes an extensive patient evaluation done in our office, taking into account your medical history and up-to-date lab work, so that you can be confident you are taking the supplements that are optimum in supporting the medical challenges you are facing. With clinical monitoring, we’ll work together on achieving and maintaining the nutrient levels you need to feel and perform your best in your day-to-day functioning.

Did you know that a nutritional supplement doesn’t even have to come in pill form? Sometimes we recommend that patients use a topical creme to administer certain nutrients through the skin as part of a comprehensive plan for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. Take a look at our ND ReGen Soothing Topical Supplement Creme.

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