Vitamin K and Your Healthy Lifestyle

Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful in Vitamin K. So if you follow the NeuropathyDR Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.

Vitamin K is another nutrient we don’t frequently hear much about.

That is unless, of course, you suffer from Afib or a clotting disorder. But more on that story later!

Like all vitamins, a deficiency here can kill us! You see vitamin K gets is name from a German word for coagulation (Koagulationsvitamin). The reason is, without proper levels of Vitamin K, we could bleed to death!

Like all nutrients, there is so much more. Vitamin K1 occurs naturally in green plants. Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful. So if you follow the NeuropathyDR Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.

Good dietary intakes of green leafy vegetables and the Vitamin K they contain are associated with less risk of diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.

Exceptions or those at risk for deficiency are those patients with bowel disease, alcoholism, or long-term antibiotic usage which can kill normal bacteria in our bellies.

In humans, K1 is converted to, and then stored as, K2. There are also several other forms—some are even used used in medicine for treating bone loss.

The three major areas Vitamin K has a role in are blood clotting (coagulation), helping the maintenance of normal healthy bone, and in normal blood vessel health. Bone health is of particular concern as we age. We do know that patients with osteoporosis or thinning of the bones have low levels of Vitamin K2.

The one area that concerns patients more than others with vitamin K is that its intake in your diet needs to be limited if you take Coumadin. Coumadin (Warfarin) is the drug given as a blood thinner when patients suffer from conditions like the heart disorder atrial fibrilation. Afib, as it is called, is common in diabetics, so of course we see this in the neuropathy clinic frequently.

As a side note, lots of the preventive diet and nutrition strategies we discuss can benefit—and possibly prevent—Afib in the first place.

There are newer blood thinning drugs without Vitamin K interactions, but some of them are far riskier than the time-tested drug Warfarin.

So, now you know the essentials. But we have not heard the last on Vitamin K and good health, I am sure!

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Calcium and Your Health: A Balancing Act by Your Body

Eat like the NeuropathyDR Diet says to—lots of vegetables, nuts, and lean protein like fish, using animal products sparingly.

!Calcium is an element which is essential to life and health. Like potassium and chloride, too much or too little of this key element can literally kill us! Your body has some aging mechanisms built in to keep calcium levels in our blood nearly constant. So much so that, if we consume too little, our parathyroid glands send hormone messengers that break down bone to release more usable calcium.

Calcium is necessary for proper heartbeat and normal nerve function. A disturbance in blood calcium can cause fatal arrhythmia of our heart, and “tetany”, which is a severe disabling contraction of our muscles!

Now, if you live in the USA, you probably have been lead to believe that dairy consumption is the only way to get adequate calcium. You might even have been told that calcium consumption alone can prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Neither of these assumptions, by themselves, are true.

For example, John Robbins was one of the first to point out in the ’90s that in cultures where daily physical activity and plant-based diets are the norm, osteoporosis was virtually non-existent. These cultures do NOT consume any dairy at all.

Instead, they eat like the NeuropathyDR Diet says to—lots of vegetables, nuts, and lean protein like fish, using animal products sparingly. This diet is far healthier than the typical sugar, fat, and soda consumption of the average modern diet!

These cultures also have higher levels of active Vitamin D, secondary to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium in our gut, and among many other things, helps us build stronger bones, ward off infections, and a whole host of diseases.

Calcium is a key player in your health! Unless you have a disease which requires careful monitoring, eating healthy and getting enough vitamin D and exercise are probably all we need.

Most of the time, large amounts of calcium supplementation may actually be dangerous, and could actually contribute to other disease risks.

In nature, calcium often occurs with magnesium. Effective supplementation delivers calcium and magnesium in near-equal concentrations.

Magnesium is another crucial nutrient—in fact, the most commonly deficient in the so-called modern diet.

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What’s Vitamin B9? The Story of Folic Acid

Deficiency of folic acid can actually cause serious problems…

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you probably know all about folic acid.

For some time now, it’s been added to pre-natal dietary supplements because it is helpful to prevent certain birth defects. The story of folic acid is much more than this.

Folic acid is a nutrient that is taken in by our diets and converted into active forms. The active forms interact in a variety of functions in the human body, and animals.

For neuropathy and chronic pain patients, it is critically important because deficiency of folic acid can actually cause many health problems.

Folic acid is critical for normal repair of our body’s cells. It is a key nutrient in DNA synthesis and repair. It’s also necessary to prevent anemia or low red blood cells.

Some of the other signs that can occur in deficiency or low levels include mental health changes like depression, fatigue, and like many of the other B vitamin deficiencies, sores around the mouth and tongue.

Folic acid is so important that is one of the key nutrients that we check as part of our routine neuropathy patient evaluations. You may also remember, vitamin D and B12 are usually checked on a regular basis too in patients over the age of 50. This is something that should be repeated at least annually.

Although folic acid has low toxicity, we never recommend self-diagnosis or supplementation without a blood test. The reason for this is that taking folic acid supplements can actually mask vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause serious illnesss, including neuropathy and damage to the nervous system.

If you are following the NeuropathyDR Diet, deficiency of folic acid is unlikely. Folic acid is really available in leafy greens and other vegetables including asparagus, lettuce, and legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils.

Fruits, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, as well as bananas and pineapple juice are also good sources of folic acid.

Because folic acid can break down in excess heat and sunlight, good food storage and preparation is critical.

So, now you know much more about this very essential nutrient. Be sure to include some of the key sources of folic acid in your diet daily! Your body will thank you!

To learn so much more about essential nutrients visit NeuropathyDR

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Metabolic Syndrome: Pre-Diabetes?

Carrying around excess body fat creates a number of health issues, not the least of which is higher amounts of circulating blood fats and sugar, which can displace oxygen, leading to the development of neuropathy and other disorders.

One of the things I write about, and we see quite often in the neuropathy and chronic pain clinic, is patients with metabolic syndrome. Now, metabolic syndrome is something I’ve written about and speak about all the time. Once upon a time, this was called pre-diabetes. Now it’s called Syndrome X.

So why can metabolic syndrome be potentially more dangerous and more devastating than a diagnosis of diabetes?

The real reason, as we find, is that most patients once diagnosed with diabetes tend to take better care of themselves. But metabolic syndrome is like a smoldering fire that, too often, does not get serious attention until damage has been occurring for years.

Unfortunately, metabolic syndrome is probably the most dangerous affliction of modern man. Being just 20 pounds overweight is a major risk factor not only for things like heart disease, but other conditions too, not the least of which is peripheral neuropathy.

Metabolic syndrome can present in a number of ways, commonly years before the diagnosis of diabetes. It is marked by borderline changes in blood sugar and blood fats, possibly increasing blood pressure, and always an increase in waist size.

Carrying around excess body fat creates a number of health issues, not the least of which is higher amounts of circulating blood fats and sugar, which can displace oxygen, leading to the development of neuropathy and other disorders.

So how does metabolic syndrome develop? Usually very slowly and over many years. We’ve seen patients present with neuropathy for sometimes 10 years or more, before being diagnosed as frankly diabetic.

It is a sad fact, but even modern medicine accepts an ever-expanding waistline as simply normal.

In our next series of articles, what we will do is highlight the simple (but also very effective) things you can do to not only minimize your risk of metabolic syndrome, but to better manage it, as well as diabetes.

For more on metabolic syndrome visit us at NeuropathyDR.com

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Vitamin E and Nerve Health

With neuropathy, if you lack vitamin E, it will be impossible for your nerves to heal and function properly.

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for all of us, especially those who suffer from many forms of peripheral neuropathy.

As a member of the fat-soluble vitamin family that includes vitamins A, D, E and K, it is also lacking in many modern diets.

This is also one key nutrient that occurs in eight different forms; two are the most biologically active. The most common are gamma and alpha. In your diet this will be found primarily in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which basically means it helps prevent cells from damage due to “free radicals”, or cell destruction generated by some biochemical reactions.

Although Vitamin E is best known for its role as an antioxidant, it does have some profound roles in protecting the nervous system. Vitamin E is essential to helping healthy nerve function, as it helps us repair and protect myelin, the sheath that insulates our large nerves.

Healthy myelin is largely responsible for normal nerve conduction.

In fact, studies suggest that Vitamin E, when given to diabetics can improve nerve conduction significantly.

But there are some precautions: First, there are no overnight miracles. Supplementation for months may be necessary to see a significant effect. Too much Vitamin E can cause the blood to thin; this has an additive effect for anyone who takes Coumadin and other anticoagulant medications, including aspirin. Be especially careful here!

In addition to seeds and nuts (almonds and sunflower in particular), there are some other good dietary sources of Vitamin E, such as palm oil, the principal ingredient in “Earth Balance”, a butter substitute and line of products we recommend. To a lesser extent, leafy green vegetables and avocadoes will provide some active vitamin E.

Generally, safe supplementation is in the range of 2 to 400 international units of mixed tocopherols for most patients.

There maybe other occasions where your physician may want to prescribe larger amounts of the d-alpha tocopherol form. This is sometimes done in other neurologic conditions including multiple sclerosis.

As we say all the time, there is no one single magic nutrient. But if you lack vitamin E, it will be impossible for your nerves to heal and function properly.

This is another reason why multiple nutrient components are necessary for effective health maintenance and treatment of disease; this is not a short-term proposition.

As always, with neuropathy it is important to work very carefully with your physicians and therapists and make sure that your progress is monitored.

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Neuropathy and Chronic Pain Health Plan

Patients who do extremely well managing, and ultimately defeating chronic pain keep tight schedules.

One of the things we find in our practices with patients who do extremely well managing, and ultimately defeating chronic pain, is that they tend to keep tight schedules.

With patients that do the best we find there is scheduled physical activity every day, yes even patients recovering from neuropathy, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis and yes even more serious illnesses.

Now I’m not saying this is easy.

In fact, it may be one the most challenging things you do.

But it could also be one of the most rewarding.

The reason for this is our bodies work on set schedules.

Did you know that even such things like body temperature, alertness, etc. all run on internal schedules and cycles?

This also helps explain why those who schedule things such as meals, physical activity, self treatment with your self care and clinic care do far better!

Otherwise, especially in this modern world the tendency is to drift aimlessly.
And yes, even things such as our computers, social groups, and social media can wind up being distractions using a vast majority of our time.

Unfortunately, this tends to happen more not less as we get older, retire, become disabled or move away from daily structure.

The bottom line is it is not healthy.

So here’s where I recommend begin today. Start by outlining what an ideal date looks like for you.

What time do you get up? What do you have for breakfast that makes you feel the best?

Most of our neuropathy and chronic pain patients find that adhering to the NeuropathyDR diet and eating schedule goes along way towards keeping them productive.

This is because the NeuropathyDR diet will allow you to maintain more even blood sugars and thus your energy level and mental alertness.

Next, regardless of your fitness or illness level some type of scheduled physical activity is critical.

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Neuropathy and Your Diet!

”Why do I just feel so lousy all the time?”

This is something that unfortunately is becoming more rather than less common in our NeuropathyDR clinics.

You see, there is a tendency now for people not to prepare or consume fresh foods, especially vegetables. Too often, fast food works its way into our diets.

As for people with peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain, this is like pouring gasoline on fire!

The reason for this is that poor food choices raise blood fats and blood sugars. When blood sugar is increased, some of the sugar molecules tend to attach to proteins; proteins like those that help make up our muscles and skin.

This then leads to achiness, stiffness, and quite possibly inflammation. For the peripheral neuropathy sufferer, regardless of the cause this typically poor diet seems to make it worse.

Increased sugar consumption in addition to aggravating your underlying neuropathy, will cause you to gain weight, lose energy and sleep more poorly.

The good news is however when you make deliberate changes to when and how you are eating, you often times will find yourself feeling better than ever!

So, how do we do this without becoming overwhelmed?

The simplest way to do this is to keep a food diary or record for a week. Keep track of everything you consume. You may be shocked at how much sugar is in things like soda, ice cream, and other things that may have become a staple for your diet.

You, like most neuropathy patients probably know you should be eating better.

When neuropathy patients write all this down, changes are much easier for us to help you with.

Always remember, neuropathy is often times a manifestation, or made worse by poor metabolism, secondary to poor diet and lack of enough activity.

Improving both of these can often improve most forms of peripheral neuropathy!

Learn more at NeuropathyDR.com

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Peripheral Neuropathy Caused by Immune Malfunction or CIDP

A Chronic Immune Disorder Like CIDP Can Cause a Range of Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms.

Immune disorders, in which your body’s own systems begin to attack good cells as if they were invaders, can cause weak nerve responses and peripheral neuropathy issues.

These nerve problems can range from:

  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Pain in extremities
  • Lost reflexes and weak muscle response
  • Unrelenting sense of tiredness
  • Fainting
  • Trouble with mobility

These peripheral neuropathy symptoms are a clue that you may be experiencing a specific type of immune disease known as CIDP, short for “chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.” It’s an acquired disorder that shares many features with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

In short, the immune system malfunctions, attacking the nervous system, which causes damage to the myelin sheath—a protective covering that is supposed to shield nerves from harm.

With CIDP, peripheral neuropathy symptoms can progress very rapidly, and yet you may also have good days. If you happen to see your doctor on a good day, you may not get an accurate diagnosis. Over time, the bad days can include issues with bladder and bowel control, walking, and other major functions. Be sure to track your symptoms and share this detailed list with your doctor to add in a correct diagnosis. He or she will want to see evidence of at least 8 weeks’ worth of symptoms for a CIDP diagnosis.

Your doctor should also do several tests to help narrow the diagnosis, possibly including a nerve conductor series, blood tests to rule out different autoimmune disorders, and in some cases a nerve biopsy.

CIDP isn’t currently curable, but your peripheral neuropathy symptoms can be treated and managed well. New medical treatments though are getting better every year!

There are also many steps you can take at home to help repair your immune system and support healing. Through dietary choices, exercise, and home treatment protocols like our NDGen Neurostimulator, you can take charge of your wellness.

A great place to start is 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.

Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition: How to Get Started is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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