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Can Diet Affect Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms?

Whether we like it or not, our diets play a major role in how we look, feel and behave. Eat a diet heavy in carbohydrates and sugar? You can expect to feel lethargic and weak. Eat a diet high in greasy junk food and you can expect to gain weight and experience everything from heartburn to difficulty breathing. Down the road, both diets can lead to heart disease or diabetes, both of which can be fatal. Thankfully those are links most people know about and can work to correct - but what about conditions like peripheral neuropathy that aren't widely known about? Are there any dietary changes you can make to ease some of your peripheral neuropathy symptoms?

Here's what you need to know about the connection between your diet and your peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

If you have been diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, chances are you are already adhering to a modified diet and medication regimen to treat your diabetes. But if for any reason you aren't following your diet, getting exercise or if you're drinking or smoking, you probably aren't helping your diabetes or your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
If you have been prescribed a special diet for your diabetes, be sure to do as you are instructed on that diet. Before long you should see improvement in both how you look and how you feel, including a possible reduction in peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Gluten Neuropathy

Gluten neuropathy is a little-known condition that affects a small portion of the Celiac and gluten-sensitive community. Just like peripheral neuropathy, gluten neuropathy worsens when the patient consumes gluten. The good news is, several recent studies have shown that adhering to a strict gluten-free diet can greatly reduce peripheral neuropathy symptoms in people with gluten neuropathy.

Non-Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

If you have peripheral neuropathy due to a traumatic injury or from chemotherapy or other causes, you may not need to follow a strict diet, but there are some foods you should still avoid. One category of foods you should remove from your diet are any foods that contain refined grains - think cakes, cookies, white bread and anything that uses bleached white flour. Refined grains have a high glycemic index, meaning they will affect your blood sugar.

Even in peripheral neuropathy patients who aren't diabetic, high blood sugar isn't a good thing. That's because high blood sugar can worsen PN symptoms by blocking nitric oxide production. This narrows the blood vessels, decreasing blood circulation and increasing numbness.

You should also reduce consumption of saturated fats, such as those found in dairy and fatty meats, and limit alcohol consumption.

So, what should you eat?

Well, provided you aren't on a special diet from your endocrinologist, there are some foods that can actually improve the symptoms of your peripheral neuropathy.
• Omega-3-rich foods like fatty fish, nuts and seeds, which reduce inflammation
• Whole grains
• Five servings of fruit and vegetables a day

If you have any further questions or concerns about your diet's effects on your peripheral neuropathy, please call Dr. Nathan Weller at Restore Wellness Center at 480-751-1629.

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Monday, 20 May 2019

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