Could Gluten and Neuropathy be Connected?

All of us can remember at some point in time, walking into a bakery or kitchen where fresh breads and pastries were being made.

The aroma can be overwhelming and draws us in like magnets.

Now once upon a time most especially when human beings were extremely physically active, bread was in fact the staff of life. There was no problem consuming massive amounts of carbohydrates as long as it was consumed during physical activity.

Well Flash Forward 300 years and the situation is now, entirely different. Not only are we less active but grains are often heavily processed, grown on nutrient deficient soils, or perhaps even GMO.

Breads and pastries are also sources of extremely high carbohydrate levels. In fact a sandwich can have 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates!

And this has had an effect on neuropathy and our health in general.

With neuropathy, however, the stakes are higher. Gluten can and does cause celiac disease.

Sometimes in celiac disease, the only presentation is a gluten neuropathy.

Most of the time, however, it’s a simple fact that gluten can aggravate our bellies at the least and yes even our aches and pains, including neuropathy.

You see gluten is a gooey protein. That’s what gives bread that wonderful texture.

But most of us who stop eating gluten on regular basis find out quickly how much better we feel.

It appears that this is because even those of us who don’t have celiac disease and even test negative for allergy to gluten, may still be “sensitive”.

In patients suffering from gluten neuropathy, as well as in other patients, it appears that gluten may actually trigger inflammatory reactions. This adds to pain, stiffness, and possibly neuropathy symptoms.

However the evidence is not conclusive, and there are many that would argue this point.

What I can tell you, as a clinician, is that many patients feel so much better we feel it’s worth a try.

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Neuropathy and Chronic Pain: Developing a Schedule

Scheduled physical activity every day can improve neuropathy and other chronic pain.

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

More specifically when we work with these patients even recovering from neuropathy, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, and yes even more serious illnesses, we find there is scheduled physical activity every day.

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 and 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 home-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 you begin today. Start by outlining what an ideal day 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 a long 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.

We are here If you need help developing a more productive schedule.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscribe to our newsletters at http://neuropathydr.com.

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Help Your Body Detoxify Naturally

One of the things that is very popular after the first of the year in many people are weight loss and exercise programs.

healthymeal 300x200 Help Your Body Detoxify Naturally

 

New Year’s resolutions and intentions are made shortly after the holidays, and usually fizzle out by the middle of February.

This is just reality, it is human behavior. But there is part of this strategy you need to know that can be dangerous, especially if you have neuropathy, fibromyalgia or chronic pain.

In particular, don’t put yourself at risk by consuming dietary shakes, or pills of the compounds which contain multiple combinations of herbs.

The reality is the interaction of all these together your bodies is not well known at all.

In fact, some are downright toxic.

I actually have seen a 20 something year old patient develop peripheral neuropathy after consuming a “diet shake” just for a week.

Impossible? No in fact, more and more younger patients are showing up in emergency rooms after consuming energy and diet drinks, more than ever.

This is also one of the reasons that you will not find any herbal preparation in either the supplements or topical preparations we suggest and use in our clinic’s every day.

For most patients, following the NeuropathyDR diet, carbohydrate control, physical activity and exercise wherever possible can make an anonymous difference in weight control and yes even weight loss after the holidays.

One other thing, be honest with yourself! If you have diligently tried the suggestions we talked about above but still have difficulty with your weight then it’s possible there’s some hormonal factors at work. These need to be identified and worked out with your physicians.

Stay away from fasts, and other rapid weight-loss programs. Sometimes, these can really aggravate underlying neuropathy and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

The reason is some of the the so-called “detox programs” may actually “pull” potential toxins in from your body faster, resulting in higher concentrations and ultimately aggravating your condition.

Finally, it is a really good idea to one of our children of the dangers of some “diet and energy” drinks.

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Neuropathy Pain Is Complex Phenomenon

Peripheral neuropathy and many forms of chronic pain are now easier than ever to manage at home and in the clinic.

Practical day-to-day solutions can be difficult for neuropathy and chronic pain patients to deal with.

Fotolia 46629715 S 200x300 Neuropathy Pain Is Complex PhenomenonThis is largely because every single medication has potential side effects. Sometimes they’re not obvious for many years. With many over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs, the side effects may not be apparent until liver or kidney failure appears.

This is not an exaggeration. If you follow us on social media, you know how often we talk about this; right now it is the number one cause of liver and kidney failure in this country. This is a huge public health epidemic.

Unfortunately, medical education generally does not do a good job of educating physicians on drug-free alternatives to pain management. For generations now, even children have been fed medications at an early age and taught this is the only solution.

There are even links to early dosages of acetaminophen and the development of asthma, and perhaps other health issues as well.

Let’s talk about the most practical solutions. First and foremost, rather than reaching for medications first, use all the drug-free alternatives you have at your disposal. Simple measures early on are far better. Applications of ice packs, warm packs, and Epsom salt baths still go a long way to solving many of life’s aches and pains.

Maintaining proper body weight and make sure you are eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

But neuropathy pain is a different animal. Severe pain—debilitating pain—from any source requires extraordinary measures. Still, the simple things we spoke about earlier can have a powerful impact.

This is especially true when simple measures are combined with appropriate dietary changes.

The good news is, peripheral neuropathy and many forms of chronic pain are now easier than ever to manage at home and in the clinic.

With the introduction of our new NDGen®, and ever improving in clinic protocols, more patients are finding better and longer lasting results than ever before.

Always remember though, the key to best managing neuropathy, arthritis, fibromyalgia, spinal pain, et cetera, is stopping pain at its source wherever possible—and rapidly! This means improving the overall function of your entire body early on, not simply masking pain with medication, and, most importantly, boosting and improving the efficiency and energy of your key body systems.

That’s what we help you do!

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Neuropathy Myths Busted!

Having neuropathy and chronic pain requires incredible attention to your lifestyle.

One of the things that frustrates patients and doctors alike in our clinic is the idea that once neuropathy or chronic pain has set in, all the patient needs to do is take this pill or that.

olderladyPT 300x200 Neuropathy Myths Busted!

Treating at Home

This treatment or that, this miracle supplement or creme or that.

Nothing—and I mean nothing—could be further from the truth.

Worse yet is thinking that just because chemotherapy has stopped, or diabetes is better controlled, that neuropathy, along with the burning pain, numbness, and sleepless nights will somehow miraculously disappear.

Of course, sometimes this does happen. But that is actually relatively rare.

The reality is, whatever has caused your neuropathy, recovery is often complex and requires multiple steps and components!

The reason for this is that once nerve damage has set in, some might be permanent—or reversible, but very slowly.

This means your body needs a healing push in the right direction.

This “push” includes all the good things you can do for yourself, including specific homecare tools, like neurostim.

This is also where complementing your nutrition support, including very complete and unfragmented oral and topical programs, can go a long way.

These actually target cell energy, efficiency, and recovery potential—not simply masking neuropathy symptoms.

You see, the more you can do to stimulate a healing response in particular, the better your results will be. And the better your chances of having a more complete recovery.

Delay, or simply mask your symptoms and you will not be as fortunate.

This also requires incredible attention to your lifestyle, in detail. Is this difficult? You bet, but think of it this way: What are the alternatives to really having a lasting and best result?

Just as if you had major surgery, even something such as a heart transplant—you need to give your body every chance you can!

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Zinc and Your Health

Too much zinc will suppress the immune system and cause difficulties, too little can create problems. Neuropathy can result when zinc is deficient.

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.

What you may not know is that zinc also has a large role in your health, especially neurologic and immune system related issues.

healthymeal1 300x200 Zinc and Your HealthBut like so many nutrients, balance is everything. Too much zinc will suppress the immune system and cause difficulties with copper levels. Too little 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 is around 15 mg per day.

However modern diets alone sometimes fall short of this.

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

For most patients, safe 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.

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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.

1314902 99313658 267x300 Vitamin E and Nerve HealthThis 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 significantly1.

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.

1. 10.2337/diacare.21.11.1915 Diabetes Care November 1998 vol. 21 no. 11 1915-1918

Dietary antioxidant interventions in type 2 diabetes patients: a meta-analysis The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease March 1, 2011 11:62-68

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Holiday Stress? Just Say No.

One key to avoiding stress is knowing that it’s okay just to say, “No, I’m not participating.”

It is long been known that on the scale of psychological stresses, the holidays rank near number one.

Why is that?

Fotolia 36770769 S 300x199 Holiday Stress? Just Say No.

As you probably guessed, there are many reasons—who can’t name a few? Finances, our and our spouses’ expectations, and—often the biggest—family.

It could be this has been a physically or financially difficult year for you. If so, the holidays might bring dread rather than joy.

One of the most important things to understand is that it’s okay just to say, “No, I’m not participating.” Seriously, I read this many years ago in one of my favorite life simplification books.

Yes, this could be the right solution for you. Sometimes one of the healthiest things we can do is just choose not to participate in chosen—or all—holiday activities.

Psychologists will be the first to tell us that, as adults, the most stressful things the holidays bring are our own expectations that they will miraculously do something for us that they can’t.

So, some people will choose travel, go away for the day, or simply be by themselves. What keeps you happy and healthy is exactly what you should do!

Others seemingly will suffer through anything, and complain about it all the while. This is how you stress yourself out!

Yet others embrace the season with joy.

Whatever it is for you, start by making a healthy choice.

Like everything, keep in mind it is a choice.

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Vitamin B12, Health, and Your Neuropathy

B12 deficiency may cause, or contribute to, the development of peripheral neuropathy.

Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient which, when missing, contributes to, and may actually create a number of different diseases.

Fotolia 23644588 XS 200x300 Vitamin B12, Health, and Your NeuropathyNot the least of which is causing, or contributing to, the development of peripheral neuropathy.

The reason for this is that vitamin B12 is absolutely essential for the normal function of every cell in the brain and nervous system.

Damage to the nervous system caused by B12 deficiency can actually be permanent and irreversible.

Like so many of the other nutrients we’ve spoken about already, vitamin B12 is also essential for energy production and cellular repair.

B12 is manufactured by bacteria and then ingested by animals. In animals, as well as humans, it undergoes conversion to one or more active forms.

In the autoimmune disease pernicious anemia, a lack of intrinsic factor needed for normal absorption of B12 in the small bowel leads the development of vitamin B12 deficiency—and, possibly, also the diseases that that can cause.

Deficiency of vitamin B12 is also one of the more common deficiencies we see in private practice. When we check with laboratory studies, many adults have inadequate levels.

Signs and symptoms of low B12 levels are very common, and are often passed on as simple fatigue or aging. These symptoms include low energy, fatigue, depression, and memory changes. B12 deficiency in the outpatient setting is probably second only to vitamin D.

Low B12 levels can be due to a combination of diet and a number of different factors. Normal aging is one of these factors; B12 deficiency is much more common in adults over 50.

Some other factors include chronic use of medications that affect the lining of the GI tract, bowel diseases, and, actually, many prescription medications.

One of the most common reasons for vitamin B12 deficiency in diabetics is the prescription drug metformin.

Like all the key nutrients, it is most important to clearly identify, then attempt to correct a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Eliminating correctable underlying causes such as poor dietary habits and unnecessary drug use are two of the most common ones that I see in my practice—and are two of the easiest fixes.

High dosages of oral supplementation under supervision and/or injection of vitamin B12 may be necessary to correct low levels and frank deficiencies.

Since the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency can be permanent, is very important that you and your doctors take this nutrient and its deficiency very seriously.

This is especially true if you suffer from neuropathy or any neurologic disorder.

So don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I still recommend all adults should routinely have vitamin B12, vitamin D, and folic acid levels checked at every annual physical examination, and more often once supplementation has begun.|

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Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon”

Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, especially if you have neuropathy or chronic pain!

Even for the healthy, the holidays can be incredibly stressful.

Fotolia 46629715 S 200x300 Handling The Holiday “Stress a Thon”Some surveys have even found that people are more stressed by the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas than by asking the boss for a raise!

But when you have:

  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Post-Chemotherapy neuropathy

Since you now have the stress of the holidays to deal with too, your health could take a serious beating—that will take you months to recover from.

Here are some steps you can take to make the holidays (and the months following them) a little easier to deal with:

1. Understand How Stress Affects Your Body

Stress (both mental and physical) causes the body to release hormones that prompt the liver to secrete glucose. That can wreak havoc on your blood glucose levels if you suffer from diabetes. In Type 2 diabetics, stress can also block the release of insulin from the pancreas and leave that extra insulin floating around in the bloodstream. In Type 1 diabetes, the effects are a little different. Some Type 1 diabetics say that stress drives their glucose up, while others maintain that stress drives their glucose down. Either way, your energy levels are wrecked. On a good day, that can be difficult to deal with. At the holidays, it can be pure misery.

If you are feeling stressed and your energy is especially low, you are less likely to pay attention to your glucose levels, or eat as you know you should. Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, and Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon”

2. Do What You Can To Reduce Mental Stress

Many of the things that stress us at the holidays are easy to manage or control. Make your life as easy as possible during this trying time.

If traffic really works your nerves, leave home a little earlier or try getting to work by a different route and avoid the areas that are particularly congested.

If your boss is a nightmare, plan to take vacation around the holidays if at all possible, and give yourself a mental break.

Volunteer to help with the holiday activities of a local charity. Doing something good for someone else is a wonderful way to make someone else’s life better and make you feel good at the same time.

Resolve to start a new exercise program, learn a new skill, or start a hobby as soon as the holidays are over. Enlist a friend to do it with you so you can encourage each other. Giving yourself a goal and something to look forward to after the grind of the holidays is over will do wonders for your state of mind.

3. How Do You Cope?

Everyone has a coping style. Some people are the take-charge type and take steps immediately to solve their problems. Other people just accept the problem, recognize that they can’t fix it, acknowledge that it’s probably not as bad as it could be, and go their merry way. Still, others are hand wringers and feel perpetually out of control.

The take-chargers and accepters have less problems with stress, both at the holidays and on a daily basis—as a result, their blood glucose levels don’t become elevated.

4. Relax…

One of the most useful things you will ever learn (diabetic or not) is to relax. For many, the ability to relax is not natural, but it can be learned. Some ways to help you relax are:

Breathing Exercises
Sit down or lie down without your arms or legs crossed. Inhale deeply. Push as much air as possible out of your lungs. Repeat the process but , this time, relax your muscles while you exhale. Start with this exercise for 5 minutes at a time and increase your time until you’re practicing breathing at least 20 minutes at a time, once a day.

Progressive Relaxation Therapy
Tense your muscles then relax them. Lie still and repeat the process for 5 minutes at a time, at least once a day.

Exercise
We can’t say enough about the benefits of exercise. As we’ve said before, you don’t have to run a marathon to get the stress-reducing benefits of exercise. You can walk or stretch, too.

Watch Your Mindset
When it comes to reducing stress, a lot can be said for the power of positive thinking. It’s really easy to let your mind overwhelm you this time of year…

“I’ll never get it all done…”

“What if they don’t like what I give them?”

“Oh man, I have to spend time with my brother again this year…”

Just watch your mindset and you can eliminate much of the stress of the holiday season. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Say a prayer or recite a poem or a quote that makes you feel good. Think of something that makes you happy. It may sound trite, but go to your happy place.

Choose one or more of these methods to relax and do it daily. Relaxing doesn’t come naturally to us, but we can definitely learn to do it with practice, and the health benefits are beyond measure.

Face the fact that many holiday stressors are not going away. The relative you don’t get along with, the traffic, the never-ending list of things to do will always be there.

But you can learn to manage the holiday stress. And if you can learn to manage holiday stress, just think of what you can do the rest of the year.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ doctor or physical therapist to explore ways to handle the holiday stress-a-thon and make it a healthier and more enjoyable experience this—and every—year, even with neuropathy or chronic pain!

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