By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 2, 2022
People don’t comprehend the absolute unremitting pain of peripheral neuropathy. It begins with tingling in the feet, then moves on to a feeling of “pins and needles” or burning sensations like your feet are on fire. It can even feel as if you’re walking on clouds – like your feet aren’t touching the floor – because you can’t feel the floor.
But it’s not until the real pain starts that people begin to get upset. That’s when it starts interfering with daily activities, because it’s difficult to walk or remain standing for any length of time.
Left untreated, it could lead to numbness and a loss of feeling in the feet, which can severely affect your balance.
The thing is that neuropathy – in and of itself – is not a disease. Rather, it’s a condition that’s caused by something else. It could be from an old injury, some of the medications you take, alcohol intake, or an autoimmune disorder.
The most common reason for it is diabetes. Between 60% and 70% of people with diabetes have nerve damage that causes symptoms of neuropathy. In this case, it’s all about poorly controlled sugar metabolism.
In a nutshell, high blood sugar is toxic to your nerves. And when your nerves get damaged or destroyed, they start misfiring. They might send pain signals to your brain, even when there is nothing causing the pain. Or something could actually be causing pain, but no signal gets sent.
So controlling your blood sugar is critical to preventing further nerve damage – or sidestepping neuropathy altogether. And the foods you eat are going to play a major role in that.
In particular, sugars, grains and processed foods are all “bad guys” when it comes to controlling blood sugar. These high glycemic foods will shoot your sugar levels through the roof. And if you’re also experiencing symptoms of neuropathy, it’s a sure bet these foods are the culprit.
That’s why I always recommend eating mostly organic, plant-based foods that carry a low glycemic index. You can learn all about low glycemic carbs and how they improve your blood sugar by checking this out.
Besides the foods you’re eating, there is something else I need to warn you about.
B12 Insufficiency Adds to Neuropathy Woes
Peripheral neuropathy is really growing. And it’s not just our poor diet. It’s also a lack of B12. This is a huge problem because the diabetes drug, Metformin, robs the body of vitamin B12.
In other words, high blood sugar associated with diabetes contributes to the development of peripheral neuropathy. And the drug they give patients to lower blood sugar reduces vitamin B12 levels – which also contributes to neuropathy. So it’s another one of those catch-22s. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
Not only that, but diabetic patients often experience acid reflux and heartburn issues. To combat the symptoms, they are often given a proton pump inhibitor like Prilosec, Prevacid or Nexium.
And guess what?
Those acid reducers also reduce your stores of vitamin B12.
At the same time, our bodies naturally lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 as we age. So even if you get plenty of it in your diet, you can still become deficient.
This makes it very important to talk with your doctor If you have any early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. If you’re lucky, he or she is familiar with B12 deficiency and symptoms – and will test serum or urine methylmalonic acid to diagnose deficiency and not just a blood B12 level which isn’t reflective of functioning B12 levels.
If your levels are low, you might need intramuscular injections of vitamin B12. This way the vitamin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Later you can transition to a sublingual B12 spray which is also more absorbable.
On top of B12 supplementation, there are a few other supplements that can help control blood sugar and improve nerve health.
Three More Ways to Beat Peripheral Neuropathy
Green coffee bean contains chlorogenic acid, a compound that helps control how your body processes sugar. And I’m really impressed with the way this nutrient works. It not only helps to prevent diabetes. It can also protect against diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
All it takes is 200 mg. twice a day before your heaviest meals. Just keep in mind that if you are on any medications for blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol, be sure to work with your physician. You may have to back off the pharmaceuticals once you start taking green coffee bean extract.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is found in every cell in your body where it helps turn glucose into energy. And it’s a real winner when it comes to controlling sugar metabolism and relieving symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
ALA works to improve insulin sensitivity and help keep your blood sugar in check. But it doesn’t stop there. As little as 600 mg. a day can help reduce stabbing, burning, numbness and pain associated with neuropathy. I recommend taking 200-300 mg. three times a day.
Acetyl-l-carnitine is another must-have when it comes to blood glucose problems and peripheral neuropathy. Like ALA it helps improve insulin sensitivity which, in turn, keeps your blood sugar under control.
And when it comes to peripheral neuropathy, ALC has shown some amazing results. It not only alleviates pain and other symptoms. It also improves regeneration of nerve fibers. I suggest adding 500 to 1000 mg. of acetyl-L-carnitine three times daily for maximum results.
Remember, earlier I mentioned that neuropathy always has an underlying condition. If it’s diabetes or prediabetes, changing your diet and getting more physical activity can do the trick. If it’s a vitamin B12 deficiency it can usually be corrected with supplementation.
Collaborate with your doctors to discover the root cause. Then get to work on treating that, first.
Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Last updated: Nov 2021.
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